I have been lucky enough to find inspiration in all sorts of natural bits and pieces of the woods. I am often found painting with a brush in one hand and a branch in the other for reference. Or perhaps it is a rock, some bark, grasses or moss or whatever thing of natural beauty that I am painting into my artwork. Nothing is better for reference than the real thing.
Here is an example of a wonderful hollow stump I found down back of our property and it now stands in a place of honor in the corner of my studio. It has been featured in several different paintings. Here it is and here are a few of the paintings it is in.