Diane Cable


1976 - 1977 Sketch Book, hard bound, 8 1/2" x 5 %"

This little sketch book had been discarded by someone else during my first summer in Cortona. I taped off the first part of the sketch book that had been used by the previous owner and worked through the rest of it.

I was in Cortona when I "picked up" this sketch book; also, some of the drawings here are from the time when I returned to Georgia.

Time wise, emotion wise, this book is in the middle of the Tom "Reign of Error." Drawings of note:

Page 2: When on the lower levels of the town of Cortona, one could look up and back and see what Picasso and/or Cezanne must have seen in their early cubist landscapes from the south of France: buildings overlapping buildings in such an abstract way. There seemingly were no right angles in the entire town of Cortona! The city had built upon itself over the centuries and proved a beautiful sight-like looking across the top of a labyrinth but not down into it. I regret now not spending more time drawing different views of the ancient Etruscan town.

Page 3: During my first year in Cortona, I, along with all the other students, were required to take art history. I was working on a graduate level under Professor Etta Arnstein. Throughout this book, there are pages of notes taken from lectures and on site of a particular piece of art or architecture.

I never passed through the Piazza Navona without wanting to stop and draw the Bernini Fountain of the Four Rivers. This is only a quick sketch.

Page 6: There is situated in the Piazza del Popolo a large obelisk, brought from Egypt during Roman rule. In the Baroque era, these obelisks were ferreted out of their storage and placed in large, public gathering places (St. Peter has one in the middle of its piazza) to show the triumph of Christianity over pagan religions; it was the time of the Reformation, after all, when Rome would take on a dramatic and dynamic shine. Centuries later, however, during an afternoon siesta, an older man takes advantage of the space provided at the base of the obelisk for his afternoon nap. Thus one could say, so much for dynamics and shine; a space to take a nap is a place to take a nap.

Page 8: Waiting for Bramante's famous "Tempieto" to open after the mid-day siesta, Tom has found a bench in the shade; he sits and reads; the day was very hot and humid.

Page 9: Tom naps on same said bench.

Page 12: Tom continues to nap.

Page 16: The Archeological Museum of Rome houses pieces of late Greek and Roman sculpture. I was especially taken with this female figure of the "Dying Niobid." At first, I did not know why the figure was poised as she was. But then I saw her back where the arrow of either Artemis or Apollo had killed her, one of the Niobid children. The myth came back to me then. As the young Niobid desperately reaches for the point of pain, I found her a figure of power and desperation; beautiful, as well.

Page 17: I had seen the photo of the Hellenistic figure of the bronze Boxer; but now, here I was with it "face-to-face," at the Archeological Museum. What a great model it turned out to be. The pathos of its expression brought to mind Simon and Garfunkel's song "The Boxer."

Page 17: Upon entering the church of San Andrea al Quiranale, Boromini's design, it was like some very different thing than any other church I'd seen in Rome. The interior of the dome was the work of genius. I hurriedly tried to work out the pattern—geometric yet very fluid, just like the facade.

Page 26: This is a quick drawing of a good friend I had made on the trip, Marilinda.

Page 28: This is an idea for a piece of sculpture that could only exist as a drawing.

Page 31: With ink and brush, I do drawings of Tom, brooding. Now back in Georgia; Rome, Georgia, where Tom had obtained a position at Mt. Berry College to teach art history as an adjunct faculty, He wanted me to join him there and live with him. I was so disillusioned with graduate school and so in need of a place to live that I took him up on it. When we first moved there (we had no furniture, whatsoever, except my grandmother's rocking chair; we made a bed by placing a single mattress on a door that was laid across two saw horses). We also had his dog, "Brownie," cared for over the summer by his ex-wife, Pam, Brownie was a mixed Irish Sitter kind of dog. That dog never did like me. There are absolutely no drawings of "Brownie" in any of my sketch books. I didn't like him too much, either.

When we first got to Rome, Georgia, a lovely town, we had no car. Tom had to walk to Mt. Berry, a goodly seven mile hike. Within a month, however, he purchased a used Toyota pickup truck. From the innumerable breakdowns of this little truck, I learned car mechanics. I could change the points, change oil, replace gaskets, take out and replace spark plugs, and change out the breaks; removing and fixing a flat tire and then replacing it became child's play. Poverty is a wonderful teacher.

Page 38: This is an illustrated image of the last time I saw my grandmother alive. Its proportions were exaggerated; but I loved her so very much.

Page 39: I found myself drawing older women more and more often—their statuesque forms were almost universal. The drawing became an easy maneuver of the pen or pencil.

Page 46: This is an attempt of "figure in landscape;" Tom fishing in a nearby river.

Page 60: A drawing of my mother done from a small black and white photo; she was 19, or so; already the mother of two children—my sister, Sandra, and my brother, Ray.

Page 62: Here is another drawing of a piece of sculpture that could only exist as a drawing; the Donald Judd inspiration is obvious. Some years later, I would "walk into," literally, a Richard Serra installation at the Khroler-Muuler Museum in Holland. From that moment on, he became a hero of sorts for me.

Pages 63-67: Just as I had tried reconfigurations of the image of the Crucifixion, I also attempted the same with the Resurrection. Here are just a few abstract sketches: Christ rising from the tomb.

Page 69: I see this beaten down, self-defending figure in my sketch books when my "Errors" are starting to become something with which I had to deal, usually by leaving.

After living in Rome, Georgia for a couple of months, we moved to a small house in Armuchee, GA. I often rode with Tom to Mt. Berry College. I became acquainted with some of the art students there as well as Tommy Mew, the head of the art department and an accomplished artist.