So, picking my brain is not something I relish.
That said, I will try to leave a picking now and then here.
I am not so interested in trying to teach anyone how to paint like I do, so it is hoped that that is not an expectation. My voice is my voice, and everyone needs to develop their own. Painting like everything else has an accumulated knowledge base and individual contributors have been adding to it for centuries. Like the Borg in Star Trek... If I have anything to offer, it would be my own take on shortcuts and epiphanies that have made my voice be whatever it is, in hopes that it might make anyone's do the same.
So an arbitrary picking would be one that is axiomatic to me... and it fits into the previous post about knowing what you want to do. And that is to keep it simple.
In my case, snippits of conversation about reality need no deep underpinnings. It can be something darting past the corner of the eye. I dont paint beautiful things. I paint things that speak with me, and I try to isolate that little voice and explore it as simply as possible. If the only thing we can control in life is our response to it, then emotion is the most essential part of that as it is the thing that defines us as different from simple solid mass. Working at the sink at a friend's house in Santa Fe, and becoming transfixed on the little solar fan in the window sill. Why do I remember that?
I like the author Annie Dillard because she paints in my head with words. Not too many, just enough. And the poet Sharon Olds for the same reason. Sharon's poems to me are like paintings.
So, have something to say. Then saying the most of what you need to say with the fewest words. Elegance.