Diane Cable


1992 Sketch Book, Hard Bound, Multi-colored; image from Matisse on front as well as WWF sticker; 11" x 8 1/2".

This is a sketchbook from the time I lived with Barry in Woodbridge, NJ. We would be married on October 24 of this same year. We would also move to a condominium, 109 Maplecrest Road, Edison, NJ,; about seven miles distant from the apartments in Woodbridge.

The work in this sketch book reflects life studies, ideas, and experimentation.

The idea of painting two or three paintings on the same picture plane, as if they were formal, framed paintings hung on a wall covered with some sort of wall paper seemed an interesting visual idea. The placement of say some Renaissance portrait beside a Hundertwasser landscape seemed to cancel the importance of each individual piece and place it all on the same "level," as it were: absurd. In a kind of variation and irony, such arrangement equaled what Pollock and the Abstract Expressionists achieved: non-hierarchal imagery; one thing was no more important than the other.

This sketchbook, too, shows something new I had discovered at the local Pearl Art and Craft store: pre-cut linoleum block prints of practically EVERYTHING. Before I left New Jersey, some ten years later, I would have collected more than two hundred of these blocks—of all kinds of subject matter; mostly birds, however.

The drawings of note:

End paper, front: This sketch is a self-portrait reflecting the ongoing battle with self esteem. I have had a long hard time of it cutting myself any slack in the category of "accomplishments." Here I am, working furiously away, with the weight of time and my own personal tombstone precariously hanging just above my head.

Pages 2-5: These visual notions of paintings, varying in manner and style, hanging together on the same picture plane, complete with wall paper designs. Page two reflects a detail from Giovanni Bellini's Pesaro's Altarpiece The Coronation of the Virgin, early 1470's and an abstract piece of my own making, hanging together on a wall. The absurdity of it is played with throughout several sketchbooks around this time. The theme will also be carried through via doing several paintings in the same vein.

Pages 19-14: newly purchased "pre-fab" block prints to be used as wallpaper design in upcoming painting.

Page 22: Often the fluctuation between sculptor/installation artist would come to the fore in the sketch books. I had admired the visuals in Stanley Kubrick's "2001 A Space Odyssey," and was an ardent admirer of Richard Serra. The sketch books allow the "possible visuals" that could happen; but only in the sketch book.

Pages 31 and 35: As a child I often went to a nearby barn and climbed to the loft for solitude. Without a door, the loft remained accessible. And, once inside, the open door provided a single view of my house and environs. The barn was not very large; it was unused, for most of the time. In the loft, though, there remained several bales of hay, old and aged beyond use; however, they remained tied intact. I would arrange these bales in the forms of furniture: a table and bench, a chair, a bed.

These simple rectilinear forms could be used for many purposes. I came to find peace in that little room and I came to find that I could live in a state of contentment with very few things around me. At an early age, I came to know that I would always want to live "without" many things and could be just as happy and at peace. The sketch books would, eventually, become my most important possessions.

When I wanted to revisit that peaceful place in the old barn loft, I would do drawings of a woman sitting there, looking out the ever open door. The barn has long since been torn down but the memory of the peace I found there will live on in the sketch book entries.

Page 43: In the experimentation of "paintings on a wall" I considered other options. This sketch is a view of a painting, laying on a tile floor or patterned carpet, with a still life on top of the painting and viewed as from the ceiling. I did a large drawing of this entitled "Lemons at the Beach." I liked the suggestion of enigma and ambiguity of such an arrangement.

Pages 65 - 80: Some time was spent on quick gesture drawings (from my mind's eye) of couples. Being in a relationship at the time that was so utterly miserable, I kept wondering how a "couple," only two people, could ever be happy and content. It had always eluded me throughout my life because I seldom, if ever, found or knew couples who fulfilled each other entirely. How could that ever be? It's much too small a number to figure things out; combativeness and contradiction are the results of just two people trying to make life a sensible thing. I concluded that the romantic notion of finding "one's one true and only Love," was a bunch of baloney. The drawings are of men, touching, trying, yet still within themselves they are tumultuous and unhappy. The quickness of the gesture mark helps to create that "stormy" feel. All these emotions and observations were just part of the ongoing examination I was making of my own situation: two people, very different, isolated—a dominant partner and a submissive partner. Since then I have often considered Hillary Clinton's book "It Takes a Village" as something not only applicable to raising a child but as something that would be beneficial to all those in that "village."

Pages 81 - 90: After visiting a special exhibition of Picasso's work featured at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I returned home and could not sleep until I had made entries that were inspired by seeing his work. I loved these drawings; I loved doing these drawings: quick and direct—the results were simple yet, to me, strong and powerful.