I remember watching Jeff Foxworthy one day, and he was joking about how people ask him where he gets his funny stories. He replied that sometimes it's from his experiences, and other times, they are based on things he was told.
Inspiration can be found in so many different places.
My landscape paintings are a good example. Very seldom are the based on a real place - Loch Level Castle being an exception.
Paintings like Reflections are kinda based on a real place - while I have a real thing in mind, I am not trying to recreate it like a photo, but more of the feel of the place. Sometimes, it's just the colors of a place, such as in Oregon Sunset. (To see Reflections, go to http://revjeanene.blogspot.com/2008/06/out-of-town.html)
Most of the time, it's a subconscious combination of several places - a lake from one place, a mountain from another, the sky from a third - just pulled together.
While paintings are the most obvious form of this, all my arts and crafts are done that way. I attempt to capture the feel and emotional response of *something* else - another time, another place, another person.
How about you?