We can encounter inspiration anywhere: during our day-to-day, in our dreams, on the sidewalks, in the woods, and in the works of others.  Artists influence one another across media, and can also drawn upon common sources of inspiration, such as shared events (past and present), familiar surroundings, even common dreams. 

Many artists discover specific sources of inspiration which they can return to repeatedly for new ideas, and renewable themes.  Robert Frost finds no end to inspiration among the trees and forests.  Jayadeva taps a wealth of inspiration in his devotion to the Lord Krisna, and his dear love Padmāvatī.  Frida Kahlo’s work reflects the inspiration drawn from her own life’s challenges, physical, emotional, and spiritual.  For most artists we can find common threads of inspiration amidst their myriads of themes and subjects.

For myself, one of these sources of persistent inspiration is water: rain, snow, oceans, waterfalls, rivers, puddles, clouds… my love of water being what it is, I might not write or draw something specific to water, but the mere sound of water, the look, smell, and feel of it, can often help to illuminate and otherwise initiate my creativity.

What are your favorite sources of inspiration?  Who are your favorite artists (any media)?  Where and when do you find yourself most often grasping for a pencil and a slip of paper to dash down a thought, an image, or a sequence of sounds?


5 Responses to Inspiration

  1. Eric says:

    Other than dreams…

    I’ve been listening to voices of the past that formed and influenced the fringe of yesterday’s society and creep into the mainstream of today:

    Readings by Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Patti Smith, Marshall McLuhan, etc.


  2. frankengirl says:

    Hey, JLB!

    As a playwright, I’m definitely inspired by listening. Sometimes, it’s just closing my eyes and listening to the voices of the past in scenes goneby – or sometimes, it’s sitting in a bookstore and listening to the chatter around me – or sometimes, listening to the couple down the street arguing outside on their porch…

    I also love listening to bubbling brooks or a whistling wind – which also seem to speak to and stir me.

    What a cool blog and a lovely post! – 🙂

  3. JLB says:

    Eric, thank you for visiting, and for the suggested readings. I also find connections with the voices of the past. Those names are all going on my list!

    FrankenGirl, I love your point about listening. Especially as a playwright, I’d bet that conversations and people watching are important skills… Probably for any writer, really, especially for any writing involving dialog. Thanks so much for throwing a pebble in my pond!

  4. cornpone says:

    this is such a challenging question for me.

    i’ve typed and erased too many times already, i’m just gonna go for it and hit enter.

    in short, people, childhoods, behaviour, feelings, things that we all do and say, emotions, etc…

    and horror movies, they’ve always scared me. i just started watching them weekly about a year ago.

    two of my favorite artists are ida applebroog and caravaggio.

  5. JLB says:

    Greetings Cornpone, I’m so glad you stopped by. I can see how your list of inspirations shows through in your work! Really, it is rather hard to just pick a few sources of inspiration, because I believe that most artists can draw inspiration from just about anywhere! As to your favorite artists, I’m not familiar with Applebroog, but I have a friend who is just crazy about Caravaggio!

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