Diane Cable


1984 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 entire year.

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 Cortona!

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 street.

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 valley.

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 given birth.

Dianne Cable, August 15, 2011