Tools & Talismans #21 — Jen Louden

One of the most important pieces of gaining a skill is to just keep doing it. Over and over. It may start out really bad, and then it’ll get better, and then it might get bad again, and so on. Too often we want to start out masters of whatever we put our minds to, but we miss out on so much by skipping the practice sessions.

I started the paintings for this project by skipping around to what felt do-able to me. Nothing wrong with that, it was still practicing, but I wasn’t creating the paintings in the order they came in. First a feather freaked me out. Then a microphone. Later a miniature typewriter. I didn’t think I could paint some of these things, so I moved on to the next piece.

I’ve been working on these paintings regularly now for about 5 months, and I am finally at a place when I think — Oy, that’s gonna be a tough one — but I no longer put it aside, I keep going.

I feel like I’ve created a better relationship with the watercolor. I’m thinking more about the highlights and shadows, and trying to match the color of a green mug, and less and less about whether I’m going to be able to pull it off. I’m taking in the shapes and relationships of the objects I’m painting and painting them, and getting to this place... it’s all about the practice.

Somehow seems fitting to have gotten to this spot with Jen Louden’s piece, she of the tagline: Live and create with no holding back.

Notebook to free write in.

Headphones to listen to music to help me concentrate.

Favorite pens and one pencil.

Book darts to mark passages.

Photo of barn because I’m using barns as metaphor in a project.

Ganesha to remind me to connect.

Troll to remind me to laugh and love.

Jen Louden is a writer and teacher


Tools & Talismans is a personal painting project where I’m documenting {in watercolor} the tools and talismans of 100 different women — creators and healers, thinkers and makers, wordsmiths and visionaries. Join me for a year of Tools & Talismans — I'll be sharing a new painting with you every Wednesday.

I also create commissioned illustrations for people just like you — contact me and we can talk about what you might need for your website, a book cover and etc.