There are two problems here depending on whether you earn you living as an artist or you do it for enjoyment or other purposes. In the first instance hunger and finding shelter are great motivational tools. In the second you need to be obsessional, like knowing you hid a bottle of Jack Daniels around the house but can't remember exactly where ... and it's 3am ... if only you knew where to start to look? I suffer both so I find I must plan ahead;
1. Always carry a pair of scissors and be prepared to mutilate any newspaper, magazine or publication that comes within cutting range, and if none do, you must actively give yourself time to seek them out (10 min per day minimum). Be a serial cutter and cut out anything that startles, frightens, causes you to pause, gives you a tightness in the loins or a warm wet feeling, sinks or raises your spirits or any other strong response. It could well be a line or a drawing a pattern or merely a color scheme. Caution ... don't be selective in what you look at- and try not to be distracted by reading any of the articles. Many excellent artists have some difficulty with reading anyway so that is rarely a big professional problem.
3. When the folder holds 20 or 30 start a new one. Don't be distracted by trying to catalogue anything ... if you do, then you are probably a better accountant than an artist.
4. Try and forget about the pictures you have kept - but every now and then, as you relax at the bar, open a folder and look again. Not only will this make you incredibly popular it will enhance you artistic reputation.
Gradually certain pictures will begin to echo in your mind. They will haunt your existence like bad colesterol counts and you will know you must do something about them.
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