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 thoughts on “Inspiration box and focus

  1. Herma,

    Wonderful post! I love the idea of an inspiration box. I have a wall, but it doesn’t hold everything.


  2. 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

    • 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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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