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Stage Fright (Dream)


Ink & Watercolor in Aquabee 9×12 sketchbook
(To enlarge, click image, select All Sizes)

I woke this morning at the apex of a terrible anxiety dream…but with a slightly different take than usual. First I should say that I have terrible stage fright and cannot sing to save my life. My family used to slam doors shut and turn on the radio to avoid hearing my awful singing along with my pretty bad guitar playing when I was a teen and it never really improved.

I’ve had this dream many times, where I find myself on stage, about to sing or play guitar or both, and realize I’m completely unprepared. In last night’s dream I’d been selected to perform as “Jana and the BlackAttack” and was supposed to be leading some sort of soul/hip-hop group at a very prestigious and large theatre. I was calm and relaxed about the whole thing, trusting that the event organizers knew what they were doing in selecting me. I took a seat in the theatre, watching the opening acts. Then it was time for me to go on stage and the MC was stalling and worried since I hadn’t yet appeared backstage. I walked out onstage, noticing there was a steaming pot of potato-leek soup available for performers and stage hands. I picked up the mike and then…

I realized I didn’t know what songs I was singing, what the tunes or words were, where my band was….basically I realized I was ME. I didn’t want to let the organizer down or ruin my reputation by walking away. Then I realized I had no reputation to lose: I’m not a singer, I’m an artist and I woke up, heart pounding.

Gee, do you think I might be having a little performance anxiety about my painting…(I was struggling with oil painting before I went to bed) or even more likely, about the one-woman show of my watercolors in March that will be held in the lobby cafe of a newly restored art deco THEATRE?!!!! I thought I wasn’t worried about the show but the sleeping mind never lies….or does it?

Cartoon art Drawing People

No paper: what’s an artist to do?

In Line at Trader Joes
Ink on Biscotti package 4.5″ x 5
(Click image to enlarge, select “All Sizes”)

So there I was standing in a checkout line at Trader Joes that wasn’t moving, with the store crammed full of pre-Thanksgiving shoppers who like me, put off doing their week’s grocery shopping until Sunday evening. I was already feeling kind of down and grumpy because of the end of the weekend and lack of progress/success in the studio today.

After a few minutes I was also bored and started trying to think of what I could do to pass the long wait. Naturally I thought of sketching but I’d left my sketchbook in the car. I searched my pockets and bag for paper to no avail. I looked around at the display in front of me, and considered ripping off a piece of the cardboard and drawing on it but figured that might be frowned upon.

I looked in my cart and found the perfect canvas — the back of my bag of Trader Joes Biscotti (to be exact, “Trader Giotto’s Chocolate Almond Biscotti”). So I grabbed my pen and drew the people in line in front of me and the checker and bagger. By the time I got up to the checkout stand, I was in a much better mood and would have been happy to stand in line even longer, drawing more people.

The checker apologized for the long lines and I told him I’d amused myself by drawing on the package he’d just scanned. He looked at it again and said he thought it came that way. Then he started chatting with me about his lack of skill at drawing and how his father won’t shop there because of the long lines, while the people behind me stood there waiting. To hurry things along I asked for my $20 cash back and he apologized again, saying he forgot about it because he got so interested in my drawing.

Cartoon art Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday: Clear

Drawn in pencil, scanned, inked & colored in Painter digitally
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After a few weeks of being too busy to participate in Illustration Friday, I’m excited that I was able to play again. The topic is “Clear” and I had several ideas: the plastic replicas of a man and woman whose internal organs are visible through their clear plastic “skin” that I had as a kid, a clearcut forest, a bottle of liquid with sediment that is settling until the liquid is clear, a woman with a clear mind and a not-clear mind, but I when I started doodling around with this one, clear (the table) it was the most fun to draw so that’s the one I picked.

Half way through, Painter did another one of its bloop–magic–everything is now gray, too bad–tricks. One minute everything was fine, everything but the line drawing was completely gray and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Finally I tried opening a new file and copying and pasting the two layers I needed into it and it worked. Painter is the most unstable program I’ve used in many years. At least I’ve learned to save every couple minutes. If it wasn’t so late I’d go in and clean up some fuzzy edges but it’s good enough and I’m off to bed.