I believe writers, painters, artists must feed their emotions as well as their senses if they desire to do original, moving work. That's not as easy as some might think because when you keep yourself open emotionally, you feel everything. There are moments of love which we welcome, but there are also those of pain which are not nearly so pleasant. When you are alive to fantasy, you can find your reality becomes clouded. It is the price of doing soul stirring work versus craft. Despite the pain that sometimes results I keep myself open to my own feelings using them as one of my tools.

Stories want to be told, they are simply looking for someone to tell them.

There are many sources besides experiencing things for yourself. You can allow others to tell you their stories. Music can tug at the heart and bring back emotions long since forgotten. When I play a CD sometimes a certain composition will tug at my heart and bring tears to my eyes. I let it fill me with all the feelings possible. Then when I feel the feeling has developed, is ready, I get out the clay.

We each have to find what speaks to us and then let it speak through us.

Life experience is the strongest source for work. One example for me is vacations like this one-- Montana and Wyoming A trip can be just a nice experience or part of the creative process. You go -- learn the history, watch the people, feel the throb of the land beneath your feet, and the inspiration comes. A sculpture later might be of a Native American praying to God, a cowboy riding across the plains, buffalo being driven off a cliff, a woman leaning against a rock as she dreams of the man who left her. There could be a painting of wildflowers, a watercolor of a sunset over a lake, or a musical composition of the loneliness of the mountains. I couldn't do all that work but each of us can pick our own pieces from such a trip.

Artistic expression is one soul sharing with another.

Stories of people who you meet can be part of an artistic expression. I do sculptures with usually no clear idea of who they are but sometimes they turn out to be friends which can be a wonderful coincidence or embarrassing if the likeness is too close. It is not permissible to purposely sculpt another person's likeness without permission.

Work can flow out of life events. One such example is a painting I did the morning I heard Robert Kennedy had been murdered. The colors were reds and blacks, all dark with a glimmer of light in the distance. The brushstrokes were broad and passionate. That painting wasn't just about loss and violence, it was about the sorrow of a man who was crouched in the foreground clutching his arms around himself as behind him a city burned. The sense of tragedy I felt that day could only be expressed for me through my paints. In a sense the painting was about loss but in another survival of the human soul.

I use the camera a lot with my work. Sometimes it's photos of friends but often I use those I have taken of myself which can led to a later sculpture or painting.

A thousand simple moments can provide inspiration. A few examples are: holding a baby, exploring the replica of Stonehenge, at a wedding, and a perfect fall day along a riverbank. What I am saying is that most art doesn't come out of the big moments but rather from the small ones that make up most of our lives. It is being aware of living that gives you subjects for the art that comes from deep in your soul. It also makes for better living.

Everyone is an artist. Some have just forgotten it is so. Our ultimate creation is our own lives.