Inspiration comes from any source, anytime. A single thought ignites an idea that can occupy us for a little while or a lifetime. Following is an eclectic list of people who inspire me in various ways.

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is first on the list because I was just listening to him which inspired this post. I’ve been listening to Dylan off an on ever since I was seven years old and heard Blowing in the Wind. Like many poets, his lyrics have taken on different and deeper meanings for me throughout changes in my life. Some of his lines blow me away by their ability to express complex emotions in a few simple words. He conjures up great images that inspire me.

Robert Bateman
In 1992, I attended a Master Class by wildlife artist Robert Bateman. Since 1957, he has probably visited every ecosystem in the world, observing and painting nature. He has seen first hand how humans altered the environment, yet remains a positive voice for the future. His lifelong commitment to his work inspires me.

Clyde Aspevig
Western landscape painter Clyde Aspevig has continually raised the bar in representational landscape painting. His original paintings are intellectually and aesthetically stimulating. The images on his website do not show the depth of beauty evident when you see them in person. Clyde is a pro with thoughtful ideas about nature that he articulates well. He inspires me as an artist focused on his purpose.

Jay Shafer
Since 1997, Jay has been living in a 96 square foot house. Thinking outside the box, in this case a box that we call home, Jay pushes the idea of how much space we need to the extreme. He inspires me because he acted on his ideas and in the process created a movement that has helped many people who can’t afford traditional housing to live in dignity.

Rainer Rilke
In his Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke advises him to live the questions, love the questions in his life and maybe someday he will grow into understanding. My life has changed in irreversible ways. I am living the questions and finally learning to love them.

Robert Frost, The Road not Taken
I took the one less taken, and that has made all the difference.
These have been my guiding words most of my life. Frost wrote about rural life and people close to him. He wintered in Florida late in life but could never seem to write about it with the feeling he had for rural New England. I visited his grave one snowy winter day in Bennington, Vermont and have a little sketch of it somewhere.

Jenna, Cold Antler Farm
In the early 70’s I used to pore over Land and Farms catalogs with dreams of homesteading. To much work, now all I want to do is paint. This scrappy girl is a young graphic designer who wanted to live a self-sufficient farm life as a writer, growing and harvesting all of her own food. She writes about it on her blog Cold Antler Farm. It’s a hard life and not for the faint of heart. She’s an inspiration to anybody with a dream, little money, and willing to learn, work hard and overcome adversity. The American Dream is still alive.

Liz Clark, the Voyage of Swell
This California surfer girl is sailing around the world alone visiting remote areas of the world. Her recent letter to a high school class is enlightening and poignant.

Seth Godin
Seth Godin is an idea machine who just keeps cranking out insightful thoughts daily. He inspires creative and business people alike to think outside the box about changes occurring mostly in the business world. Brain food.

Hugh MacLeod
Cartoonist Hugh MacLeod draws pithy cartoons the size of business cards. He gets right to the core of things and says what many people are thinking but afraid to say. Hugh wrote a great book, Ignore Everybody.

I told you the list is eclectic.

This is a short version of a longer list, but I wanted to give you an idea of the kinds of things and variety of ways an artist can be inspired. Inspired not only in our art but also in ways to live a meaningful life.

People who make the world a better place are artists. Anyone can be an artist, go be one, the world needs you.

How about you? Who inspires you?

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