As an artist, I am inspired by my environment, as well as the works of other artists. It is great to see someone else's style and technique, and even learn from them. When I travel, I try to visit the museums in the cities and find local artists at work. I believe it helps me AND the artist to buy directly from him or her. It is also a great souvenir. I like to buy a piece I actually see them painting. If it is not a painting, then some other piece of craft that is unique to the area.
I often ask the artist to take a photo with me. I want to remember the moment. I attach the photo to the back of the painting; a way to look back........not to mention giving my family a chance to make fun of my hair style and color on the photos over the years!