Dianne Cable


1985 Sketchbook, small, red, hardbound; 6.5" x 9 .5" June 1, 2011

This small, red sketch book represents the last two months I spent in Europe of 1985. "Joe Falchetto" (Charles Schultz's "Snoopy") and the Italian flag adorn the cover—"Joe Fachetto" translated roughly at the time as "Joe Cool." Too, this is the first of the two "Randall Chase" years. For the translation of that, one should check the introduction page to all of the volumes.

I was with the Fall program of the UGA-Studies Abroad Program; I stayed on after the summer program—so overall, this was the longest amount of time I had spend in Italy and Europe.

When I first look at this little book, I feel a sort of shiver. That's because it was "drawn" during the month of November—a month I discovered to be a very cold one in Italy. Randall and I traveled on to Munich; then to Paris; to Ghent and to Brughes. The snow was beautiful to see along the train route but the hot baths at the end of the days, in whatever small hotel or hostel wherein we stayed, was a welcomed luxury compared to the cold of the day.

I returned to London and to the US (Atlanta) by myself. I rode back to Asheville with Randall and his parents. His mother and father had generously offered to meet us at the airport and drive us all the way back home.

There's something of note about this sketch book. After I return to the states, I find that the quality of the drawings fag out somewhat. There isn't the energy and inspiration I had when traveling. The last pages, except for notes and a small portrait from a lecture attended at UNC-Asheville given by a Mr. Mark Bundy on nuclear weapon policy, seem to be "filler." The line drawings lack substance.

The last end pages provide a verbal explanation of the trip to Munich. The drawings that I feel are of note are the following:

Page 8: The mayor of Cortona. Prior to leaving the city at the end of the UGA Art Department's Fall program, there was a meeting in the town hall to discuss some local and political issues. The students were invited along with faculty and staff. The entire meeting was conducted in Italian; neither I nor the majority of those participants in our program understood very much of what was said. However, I found the opportunity to do this small portrait of the mayor of Cortona—a man whom I had always thought quite handsome.

Pages 9 and 11: The painting professor for the program that Fall was Mike Nicholson, a wonderful teacher and person, overall. One evening, late in the session, he "delivered" a long poem he had written about Tintoretto. I took advantage of his presentation by doing these portraits. This most beloved of people lived only two years more; he died in 1987. While in Cortona that Fall, he contracted a strange illness that was quite mysterious and, to great dismay, fatal, overall. I treasure these two drawings I made of him even more upon remembering his early demise.

Page 23: People in bars and pubs along the way were always nice. They would see me making sketches and be fully cooperative. I do not know the name of this particular individual but I remember him being aware of me drawing him and somewhat complemented by the sketch when it was finished.

Page 28: Madonna and Child; Munich I found to be full of images, sculpture, and architecture that were gracefully beautifully Catholic. I was struck by the beauty and elegance of this portal sculpture when I saw it on a church in Munich.

Page 30: This is a design I had for presenting the "heaviness" of Christianity (blood, death, sacrifice, sin, hell) as something that was of ponderous weight but, by its reward of mysterious eternal life, a belief that transcends the "physical gravity" of this world. The cross, the altar, the pulpit are all supposedly floating. Notice that the idea is easy to draw. The practical mechanisms of creating such a scene go unmentioned.

Page 31: The Annunciation. Having studied art history and seen so many altarpieces firsthand in Italy and in museums, the most common format for Gabriel's appearance to Mary is of two figures—Mary to the right and Gabriel on the left. Regardless of how elegant or primitive the altarpiece or image is shown, there is a distinct separation. I decided I would try to show a Gabriel that would embrace Mary and be of comfort. Instead of appearing at a distance from the Virgin, Gabriel, in this case, would slowly illuminate around Mary, a comforting light and a soft, assuring voice. After I had visualized this by the drawing, I saw the problem. Mary was a virgin; untouched. The image of Gabriel surrounding her in this manner relates somewhat to a pagan image of say, perhaps, Cupid and Psyche. The touch is intimate. Such would not work when the emphasis in this particular story, especially, is on the purity of the Virgin. How could the claim be that she was untouched even if it had been the angel Gabriel that had made an innocent, comforting gesture?

Page 33: Young Man Onboard the Ferry from Brughes to London. This is not a cartoon or fanciful figure. This is as close to a portrait of this young man as I could come, considering he moved around somewhat. I saw so many young people in northern Europe who reminded me of the "living dead." I don't know why. But I knew I could not let this young man's image "get away from me." I recorded it as part of my passage on the ferry from Brughes to London. I saw the white cliffs of Dover; my sketchbook was too small to record anything so special.

Pages 29 and 37: My departure from Brughes and the few days I spent in London before returning to the states were the first I had had to myself since September. When traveling alone I find my creative mind goes into overdrive. Ideas flood through my brain. These images are self portraits of me in a professor's gown, telling the world what's what, and preaching back at my father—pointing out how wrong and naive he and my mother had always been. While drawing these, as one can tell, by the forceful marks of the graphite, that I took myself seriously, preaching in my mind all the while I was drawing. After the drawings were finished, it came to me how small my thinking had been. But I keep these drawings and I keep them in sketchbooks as journal entries to remind myself of where I was and how I was thinking at the time. How privileged I have been to travel as much as I have—to have had this river of creativity drown me from time to time. What lessons!