Eloise Renouf is an inspiring artist. Many of us are often plagued with roadblocks, yearning to focus and get into the creative zone, but Eloise has found the solution- you just need to keep creating. By constantly switching between colour palettes, mediums, and size, Eloise keeps their mind active and hands busy with old paints and new techniques. And by having a space that’s solely theirs, Eloise is able to work comfortably without distraction.
However, as an artistic person, Eloise still encounters their own challenges and is sure to make time for other interests outside their creative practice. Continue reading below to uncover thoughtful nuggets of creative knowledge from this impressive artist!
Visit Eloise’s online gallery to view more of their work and remember, you only have ’til the end of September to sign up for a Papirmass subscription and get your collection started with one of Eloise’s elegant collages!
Tell us about your artwork for Papirmass (not pictured).
Colour Garden is from a series of plant drawings I have been working on. I love natural forms and shapes, and I REALLY love colour, so I wanted to find a new way to combine these. My initial drawings of the plants are created to produce a visual framework and divide up the paper, and I then colour the pieces more abstractly.
What’s a typical day look like?
I always used to be a night owl, but I’ve converted to be being an early-riser — something I never thought would happen. I work from home and have three young children, so I find that if I get up early it is lovely and quiet, I feel fresh and able to just get on with it, and I like the feeling of having achieved something before 9 am! I try to stick to my mantra of “mornings are for making art”, and leave emails and admin for later in the day. I find that if I work that way I am more productive. Office work saps my creative drive.
What is your creative process?
My creative process feels like it is predominantly in my head, but it is also written all over post-it notes scribbled late at night whilst brushing my teeth! I write down all the ideas I have and then select which ones to pursue. I never stop thinking about making work, and I rarely struggle for ideas. I have far too many to be able to explore them all, so can find that quite frustrating. I work in a variety of media — painting, collage and embroidery are my current favourites — and I try to work in whichever medium will give me the most satisfaction at the time.
I always feel that my creativity is like a pendulum swinging back and forth and that my output is a series of contrasts — if I use lots of colour, then I’ll want to work in monochrome; if I produce big pieces, my next desire is to work very small; if I make lots of abstract pieces, then I’ll reach a point where all I want to do is draw “things”. Basically, I just want to do it all, and do it all yesterday!
How do you get into your creative zone?
Just making work, any work, is the best way for me to get into the zone. I find that if I’m not sure what to work on, just working on “something” will get my brain engaged and I’ll find my direction. That may be finishing up a previous piece, using up already-mixed paints on a little abstract, or playing with collage papers. And trying not to overthink things, working intuitively rather than planning too precisely.
What’s your studio like?
I work at home and have a room to myself, as well as a small office space upstairs. It is sufficient for my needs at present, but it would sometimes be nice to have a larger space to work on bigger paintings and textile pieces.
At the moment, I find it suits me well to work at home — I can paint in my pyjamas at 6 am, and I can also work when my children are home from school, or late in the evening. I enjoy not having to travel to a studio, and I like working alone, but I sometimes miss having other creatives around.
What are your most important tools?
As a student, I learned to make all my work by hand and still find that the most satisfying way to work. My favourite tools are pencil, dip pen and ink, and paint of various sorts. I use my computer to create prints and when it is necessary for projects, but I am by far my happiest working with physical mediums.
What inspires you to create?
I am driven to satisfy my own creative needs — to see what I am capable of. I always want to make something better than the last thing I made. I am constantly finding colours or shapes or textures that inspire me, and I feel compelled to use them in some way to produce a piece of work. I work largely in 2D and like to find inspiration from 3D objects, such as sculpture, ceramics, plants, trees, fashion, landscapes, and interiors.
Did you go to school for art?
I studied at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, and have a BA (Hons) in Printed Textile Design. The course concentrated on drawing, colour work and technical processes and gave me invaluable skills. It provided a fantastic foundation for my practice, but I have also learned a great deal from the jobs I have had, and my time freelancing. My parents have always been very supportive. Neither pursued artistic careers, but my Dad draws beautifully and my Mom was a promising ceramicist as a student.
How do you make a living?
I am a self-employed, full-time artist and designer, and am fortunate that I can pursue my interests in the field, as well as working on client briefs. My time is divided between self-initiated work and projects for others. My income comes from a mix of selling my work online, commissions, licensing deals, royalty payments, and occasional fairs, mostly around Christmas.
Finding work and life balance is quite hard, and the lines between the two are blurred. Having a family means that there isn’t as much time to devote to my work as there used to be, but it prevents me from becoming obsessive or one-dimensional. I have other interests and am involved in other activities away from my desk.
How do you promote your work?
The main audience for my work is through social media, specifically Instagram. But I have also been told by clients that they have found me through images of my work on Pinterest, or through my Etsy shop. I don’t have representation and I don’t promote my work in other ways. I’m not very good at “marketing” myself, so I have been lucky so far that people have approached me, rather than the other way round. I think that if you create the work you love to make and are happy to show it online, then at some point it will resonate with someone and hopefully, an audience will form. “Build it and they will come”.
What advice would you give to your creative self?
Just make what you want to make. Actively ignore trends or fashions. Embrace what makes your work individual. Trust yourself.
What do you love and hate about the creative life?
I love the freedom that a creative life gives me — I’m my own boss, I make my own agenda, I am (mostly) able to make the work I want to make, and I make a living out of doing what I love. But I think that comes with quite a bit of pressure, and we all have moments of self-doubt — there are bad days when you think you’ll never produce anything good ever again!
There are also big problems with plagiarism and design-theft in the creative industries. It’s very disheartening to see poor copies of your work being used or sold without your permission.
What are you currently most excited about?
Moving house! After five years in our current home, we’re moving a mile or so down the road back into our favourite neighbourhood where many of our friends live. I love DIY and whilst the previous owners have done a wonderful job on the decor, I’m looking forward to a bit of decorating and shelf-building and getting into the new garden.
Small World by David Lodge
Ray LaMontagne’s “God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise”
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