Each month, Miranda van den Heuvel talks to creative people in Luxembourg and says “look, Luxembourg is creative! Here’s how and where!” The June talk is with painter Sue Ellen Eatrides
1. What is CREATIVITY?
I could answer this question in so many ways, starting with what it means “to create”, which is basically to make something. That something could be dinner, a garden, a piece of furniture, or anything else. From there, we can then define creativity as the ability to make something in a unique or inventive way. But, we can also move on from the idea of making tangible objects to discuss the way we approach life. For example, to me, avoiding prescribed ways of doing a particular thing or living life in general can be considered a form of creativity.
In art, in particular in my discipline which is painting, creativity can mean how to use colors, how to depict a scene or an object or even an idea, or the method of applying paint and onto what type of support – canvas, board, metal, or a found object. The list I have just supplied is certainly not exhaustive!
Then, if you wish to sell your work, how you market it and where you sell it often requires even more creativity! Opportunities to use our imagination exist in website design, blogging, having a presence on Etsy or the like, participating in shows, designing business cards, approaching galleries – and the list goes on an on!
2. How are you creative?
I paint in acrylic or oil on canvas or board. The subject matter I paint includes portraits, landscapes, floral, animals, abstracts, and whimsically-themed paintings. I am an amateur birder, and lately, I have been painting many of the birds I have observed and photographed. I create paintings that become part of my inventory, and I also accept commissions to paint something particular – a portrait, a scene, whatever – for my clients.
3. Suggest a simple creative activity to our readers that can make them more creative
Turn off and tune in is my advice to your readers if they want to be more creative. For example, go for a walk in nature without headphones and listen to the sounds of the birds chirping, the wind in the leaves, a creaking tree, or the sound of a distant train. Forget checking the phone for email and text messages or Facebook updates too, and simply observe the surroundings. Be present and creativity will flow from within.
4. What are your top 3 websites for creative inspiration?
I find that spending too much time on the Internet saps my creativity and it can make you lose lots and lots of precious time, so I can’t really offer advice on this.
5. What are your 3 tips to become more creative in Luxembourg?
For me, as I like to be inspired by nature for my work, hiking and cycling on the various trails in Luxembourg inspire me to create. Additionally, I find creative thoughts abound when I listen to classical music, so attending a concert at the Philharmonie is often a good idea. Also, creative ideas can frequently be found by looking at the ornate details found in older architecture, so a stroll around the older parts of town can be a source of inspiration.
6. What’s your suggestion to make Luxembourg a more creative, innovative place
When I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, I was part of a creative space called Pendleton Art Center. I was one of over 100 artists whose studio was in this converted warehouse. We each worked there in an affordable space and on the final Friday of every month, we opened our studios to the public for an evening tour. It was great for both the artists and the public. The artists benefitted from working near other creatives and were able to easily meet potential clients on the Final Friday studio tours. The public enjoyed the opportunity to visit multiple artists’ studios under one roof in a relaxed, social setting. I think Luxembourg artists and residents would benefit if a space like this existed here.
7. Anything you’d like to add?
I have an existing inventory of paintings for sale, and I accept commissions to create a painting following the client’s specifications. Feel free to contact me and visit my website or my Facebook page
Sue Ellen Eatrides, interviewed by Miranda van den Heuvel, June 2014