Inspiration box and focus

It is all about focus when you want to make a series. I learned that from Carla Sonheim. And about discipline. I experienced that this week.

Focus on some parameters to work with. Working with the same parameters on every drawing or painting will glue them together. So you create a series.

Pretty simple….

But so opposite of what I did the last years.

When I started painting I made series of four or five paintings! But the last years I followed a lot of lessons and I went everywhere with my creativity. Fun to do, but I lost focus. You can see that in my posts. They are about a lot of different things. I’m not sure why I lost my focus on series. Probably because I focus on learning new things. There is not much time left for making series or a body of work.

Time to get my focus back! (That is why I signed up for this year course (Y is for Yellow by Carla Sonheim)

So I ‘invented’ the inspiration box! I ‘m sure more people invented something like this but I like to think about it as my idea.








I wrote all the materials and subjects I like on small papers, folded them and put them in a box. For example I wrote words like acrylic paint, tracing paper, thick brush and girls head.



This is how it works: I get three papers out the box. These are the parameters I use to make a lot of drawings or paintings. I allow myself to use two or three materials with the three from the paper. When you want to do this yourself, don’t forget to make a list of what you wrote down on the little papers! So you can check which words are in the box.




This four owls are the first results. I had the words owl, sandpaper and a dip pen on my small papers. And I choose to combine it with gesso and watercolor.

It is a small series and it gave me focus on what to make. (I forgot how I love the results of ink on wet paper! (the second owl)

But… I didn’t have the discipline to go on with it. I guess I would discover more fun techniques or ideas if I did and make ten ore more. I have to work on discipline!

4 owls

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6 Replies to “Inspiration box and focus”

  1. Great idea, Herma! I have inspiration stashed all over the place and on the walls of my studio etc. But i like this way of narrowing it down and setting boundaries. It’s like chossing a limited palette at the beginning of a painting or illustration. The end result nearly always seems more sophisticated or charming. xo

    1. Hi Jen! Thank you for dropping by. I know, inspiration is not a problem, it is everywhere. But focus is so difficult for me…I’m cleaning my studio to make a sort of new start. I hope this box helps me to focus and discover new paths to follow.

  2. Hi Herma,
    what a wonderful idea to get inspiration for new combinations. Your owls are very nice.
    I get my Cindy inspiration mostly by chatting with other people or by the observation of what is going on around me.

    1. So interesting Petra! Thank you for telling how you get inspiration. I’m in a learning process of becoming aware how it works for me. Inspiration. Sometime I want to make something but I don’t know what. I hope the inspiration box will help me with such moments. Your comment makes me think about starting a project… First I have to find time. 🙂

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