I would like to quote a letter that Vincent Van Gogh wrote to Theo, but I am taking the quote, the sentences below, from "Every Painter Paints Himself," a very creative, thoughtful set of observations (posted August 26, 2011; please do go and visit http://www.everypainterpaintshimself.com/blog/ ). From that site, then, this idea:
"For a painter, it is probably twice as interesting if, while painting a nest, he dreams of a cottage, and, while painting a cottage, he dreams of a nest. It is as though one dreamed twice, in two registers, when one dreams of an image cluster such as this. For the simplest image is doubled; it is itself and something else than itself."
Now I know that Van Gogh didn't mean this literally. But I decided to give myself an ssignment and paint it, literally. I was thinking of a bird in a nest, and stencilled in the word "BIRD" on my canvas. Then I sketched and painted, over and under that word, the recollection of our visit some years ago to Jane Austen's cottage and her writing-room. The canvas is as tiny as the bird and the room, 10 x 10":