Sketch Book II, black, hardbound, 8.5" x 12"
This book was
purchased in Rome at the beginning of the summer of 1984. I kept
two sketch books that summer; perhaps three or four for the
On the inside cover is a card that features the "Well of St.
Patrick," designed by Antonio da Sangallo in 1527. This is
located in Orvieto and it is well worth the visit. Based on
Leonardo's design of a fortress tower, it allows one group of
people to go up a winding stairway while simultaneously another
group can descend the same tower—with neither group impeding the
other. This well goes quite deep underground and provided water
for Orvieto; I found it was also wonderfully cool in the depths.
While a friend and I enjoyed our descent into this wonderful
structure, we realized that we were running behind schedule for
the departing bus that would take us to Cortona. I accidentally
dropped my Michelin guide for Italy on one of the lower levels.
I did not discover that my guide book was missing until I began
to unpack in Cortona. I kept post cards in my guide book; one,
in particular, was already addressed to an old friend back home.
Some weeks later, my guide book, with postcards and
paraphernalia in tact, arrived via the post from the States.
Some good person who was also visiting St. Patrick's well that
day, found my guide book and turned it in to the lost and found
of Orvieto's tourist office. I did not have my name or address
written in the book, so they sent the book to the address on the
post card I had intended to mail. My friend in the States was
quite surprised to get a small package from the tourist office
of Orvieto. She sent the guide book on to me in Cortona. And how
surprised I was when it came back to me, via the post, in
Drawings of note:
Page 2: I could never pass Boromini's beautiful facade of San
Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome without looking up at it in
wonder. What an outrageous design; how absolutely beautiful. And
then there was the interior. I never thought of actually
stopping and making a few visual notations because it simply
looked too complex. Also, all the beautiful churches of Rome
cannot afford a frontal view from a piazza, especially this one
where Boromini had to design the small church within confined
and predetermined space. It blossoms outward, upward, like some
great organic mass, arriving at a completely logical, balanced,
and beautiful stillness, overwhelming the viewer from the
Page 5: The images of Manzu on the front doors of St. Peter's
are inspirational; I feel a special relationship to his
formidable and simplistic shapes. Working with pastel, however,
in a sketch book, can prove messy.
Page 11: Instead of making entries of Bernini's fountain in
the Piazza Novona, I had to try and duplicated the energy of the
Trevi Fountain on this page.
Page 15: One never tires of being reminded again and again of
the beauty of this young woman, part of a still riddled fresco
from the Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii.
Page 17: Not far from the Villa of Mysteries, a private house
could afford a large and luxurious bath with the multiple
figures of Hercules acting as architectural supports.
Page 22: This is a quick sketch of a small church, situated
on the "shoulder" of the city of Cortona—and thus a suggestion
to the Valdichiana stretching out toward the mountains.
Page 29: Here is another sketch of the same view as on page
22; only this one better suggests the vast space and surrounding
Page 34: This page represents the confrontation of two
troubled lovers; remember that this sketch book is part of the
ending Eric "Error." Beneath is a list of places I had lived
from March 11,1978 to December, 1980. In Asheville I lived first
at Dunbar apartments with said "Eric," and then we lived closer
to the country and mountains in Webb Cove. The Eric "Error"
officially ended in April of 1985.
Page 59: I like this image; I repeat it several times
throughout the sketch books: It's how we all must feel
sometimes: trapped, tied, bound, blind; overall, helpless.
Pages 68, 69, and 70: This, too, is a theme with which I
dwell in several works. These are called "The Fruit of our
Wombs," suggesting a priestess and/or the common woman, standing
before and altar of sacrifice, offering that to which she has
Dianne Cable, August 15, 2011