What inspires you to make art?

Last year I joined the 100days project in 2018 with faces. I had really fun with it and I succeeded to make 100 faces. So this year I was a bit more ambitieus. I wanted to make 100 faces again but only of famous Dutch women. I wanted to paint them with watercolor. No digital faces. And I want to write a little biography of these women. You can find them on my instagram account

I was very excited and motivated when I started. Convinced that I could make a 100. Well by now I guess you know I failed… That make me think about my creating process. I love to start a new project, a new technique and I sometimes I make wild plans for series. But often I loss my interest halfway and find it hard to finish the project.

I know that of myself so I only start a project when I’m convinced that I want to finish it. And now I disappointed myself. I could make more of these faces. But my first rule of making art is that I really want to make it. Not for the result but for the joy of playing. And I know it shows when I don’t have fun while making it.

So that make me think what is the motivation to make art for me. One very important reason is being curious, what will happen if…. So the moment I know the technique or I know how my painting(s) will look, I have to motivate myself to finish it. When it is almost finished it is not too hard. But with these ladies, 79 to go…. you understand…

I guess that’s why I love to take lessons to discover new ways of making art. I want to surprise myself. I find that the greatest joy of making art. To start and not knowing what the end result will be. That is what happened with this painting/collage, I started making stains and now it is a kind of story.

Do you know what your motivation is for making art? I’m really curious about that. Please leave a comment. Thanks!

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The creating process of a painting

This painting had a formal live as a painting of a sailboat. I desperately need space on my attic so I paint over paintings I don’t like anymore. I was sure I wanted to paint Frida Kahlo. I don’t know what it is. I never succeed to make a painting of her I like. You can see that part in the little video I made of the painting process.

It was a very hard process to make this painting. I started in August 2018 with it and I finished it yesterday, April 2019. All that time it was in my studio looking ugly.  All that time I thought I couldn’t paint anymore. I’m still not sure I can make a new painting. I have the feeling I start as a complete beginner when I start a new painting and I have to learn everything all over again. Do you recognize that? 

I had several inspiring moments. The first when I found this photo of my grandmother. I immediately was inspired to paint her instead of Frida. But then the painting was still ugly. I was afraid to paint the face. And I stopped again…

The last collage lesson by Carla Sonheim inspired me to make the shirt and background collages.

And the final inspiration came when I saw an illustration by Terry Runyan on Instagram.
That was what made me finish the painting!

I gave it my own spin and finally I had fun painting which is so important when you create! I let go every plan I had and focused on making a good painting. And I made a mess on my side table which is always good.

Now that the painting is finished it is surprisingly an important painting for me with a personal message. I won’t tell because I like that you look at it in your own way. If you can after reading this…

I show you the whole process in this little video.

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How your art can show you your inner world

This week I made houses in an excellent lesson by Carla Sonheim. They ought to be open like dollhouses. The chambers are open and you can see all there is in the house. I made twelve mini houses.

I had fun searching, cutting and pasting. Adding lines was very satisfying. I fell in love with the farm with haystack (fourth upper left) and was happy. While scanning them and editing them in Photoshop I realize that all the houses have doors and they are not open at all.

So my art tells me that at this moment I have difficulties with being open. I want a door that I can close. Interesting…and I do recognize that. I feel a bit vulnerable these days. Without these houses I wouldn’t think about myself like that. I wouldn’t be aware that I have to take care of myself.

The next fun part was to make a big dollhouse. I printed familyphotos that I wanted to use. And I paid extra attention to make it an open house. Both houses where not easy but it was fun to make and I added some of the family photo’s who fitted the best. I was happy with them when they were finished. Until I realized with a shock that in both houses which contains pieces of my actual house and therefore are my houses my mother appeared.

I don’t want my mother in my house. You can see a house as metaphor of who you are. I didn’t think about that while making it. So it surprised me. I know I have to do some work literally and figuratively. That is what my art tells me. I will probably paste a photo of me over my mother. And may be give my mother her own house. It will take some time.

That is so strong about art! It tells you things about yourself that you don’t notice if you don’t take the time for it. And the most wonderful thing is that I believe that you are the greatest expert yourself to see what your art is telling you! When you are not sure or you don’t see it you can ask someone you really trust to look with you. You will learn to be the expert.

For #marchmeetthemaker2019 I made an Instagram post and it was very satisfying to collage a closed house where I have my own spot while being creative.

Have fun making art!

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Changing art

Carla Sonheim had a great lesson about moving art, inspired by Alexander Calder.

I used leftover papers painted on both sides to make these little changing landscapes. While I was making them I thought about inner landscapes. Several ideas came along.

  • You can use them for communicating your mood when words are not an option.
  • When they are closed nobody can see the inner beauty.  Same with a person. When you are closed and maybe protect your vulnerability you also hide your inner beauty.

So moving art is a very adequate term but I like to call this changing art because you can change the view of it. I made a litte video of the first two I made. As you see they are also little books. I hope you like them as much as I do.

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Recycling an old painting

I started 18 years ago with painting on canvas. Most of these old paintings are not my taste anymore. Occasionally I repaint one. This one took some time. There were some ingredients that made it hard. I do not paint a lot the last months. I was not really inspired and not having much confidence in my skills anymore. Not a very good start. Painting on an old painting helps but I had expectations. I wanted it to be good. Also not a good ingredient for painting with joy and fun.

You can see the old painting and the result. I’m not sure I like the face but it feels finished. I love the unfinished look. If that make sense…

And I show you the process in this mini video. So you get an idea of my struggling. It helped a lot to make a onliner for the face. I used this photo.

In the stripes on the background I wrote this quote: Het doel van de kunst is niet het uiterlijk van dingen weer te geven, maar het innerlijk… dat is de echte werkelijkheid. Aristoteles. (Translated:The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.)

Here I show you how I made the pattern on her dress.

I hope this inspire you to use old material again. It is nice to start with a background. And good to reuse materials. Do it for the earth and everybody on it. A little tip, start with a lot of confidence, inspiration and without expectations. Your painting will be finished in no time!

Love, Herma Starreveld


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The 100 day project

Instagram is my favourite App at the moment. There are always fun projects going on. Now it is the #100dayproject. It started April 2 or 3, I’m not sure. Because I didn’t know all the details I started a day earlier. I did two 30 day projects in the past with success so I think I’m ready for a 100 day project. So far so good. I did 20 faces in procreate. It helps to work in advance.

Carla Sonheim had a wonderful lesson this week. Drawing a face from an old photo over scrap paper. So I made two of them. I bought the photos some time ago in France. I hope to make more of these because I really like the unpredictability of it.

On Instagram there was also a project #artvartist in which artists post a photo of themselves surrounded with there art. I highly recommend to check it. I love it, because you can see how art and artist are one. This is mine, I looked for work that looks like me or is me.

Have a great day! Love Herma











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A lot is going on…

Hi dear reader,

I didn’t blog much lately because there is a lot happening in my life. I needed time processing and I was busy.

I almost finished the illustrations for a children book written by Marjolijn van der Bruggen. It is about a little bird in Amsterdam. The perfect topic for me. It is a very sweet story about perseverance and making your wishes come true. You will hear more soon!

You can see my studio table while I work on the last changes and adjustments. As you can see I’m not a very neat worker. I like a bit of chaos on my table. It inspires me.

That said I have to admit that is was a bit to much chaos in my studio and I completely rearranged my furniture and all my creative stuff to make a better workspace. I even bought a new closet!

I feels like a new beginning and it is a new beginning because I stopped my regression therapy practice in October 2017 to focus 100% on my studio. It worked well out till now.




On Thursday 22 March I will give the second workshop Botanic style illustration in the beautiful space of the popup hand picked by Anna & Renée shop combined with the Break out lunch cafe. And it is sold out! So we plan a new one in April. If you are interested you can find the info soon on facebook or on this website. Here you can see the first workshop which was a success.



And Anoushka van Velzen did a great job with making new portrait photos of me. I added some fun to this one.

So now you are updated of what is happening here in the studio. See you next time and thank you for being here!


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Since I have Photoshop CC on my computer I learned a lot.

This week I made my first little animation. It is a bit clumsy but I like that.The birds are made in a class by Carla Sonheim. I posted the video in the facebook class group and someone said some sweet words: “Love the relationship and the marching forward to meet love”! I really like it when people fantasize little stories about what I make. Luckily birds don’t kiss each other.

Have a great day!

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My first illustrated book

Two years ago someone ask me to illustrate an education book for little children. It is about two women who love each other and live their live with pleasure and with difficulties.

I took my time. One illustration in a month. And I finished 10 illustrations. I was happy and she was happy.

But unfortunately it will not be published. I want to show them all in this blog to say goodbye to this project.

Luckily I’m working on a new project and I can do it much faster this time! I keep you informed!


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Sketching faces with a pencil

I wish you very creative 2018!


This pencil face sketch I made for the ‘Held captive’ class by Jeanne-Marie Webb. I drew several in a small sketchbook . This is the one I like the most.

I discovered that I can’t copy photos or use them as a reference. I fail… and I found it far more fun  to make them by my own fantasy. Or better said I love to let them arise. I don’t have a plan when I start, so I surprise myself.



Here I show you how that works for me. I draw the last face of the book. I use a stumper to smear the pencil and to make shadow.

I love faces but I disliked working with a pencil. I’m still not really excited about it but I had fun to make this book. You can imagine that all these people are relatives or friends and they all have their own stories and emotions. I hope you enjoy the book.

Thank you for visiting my blog!



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