Diane Cable


1996 Sketch Book, black, hardbound, 8.5" x 11"

This year is the continuation of my address being 901 Maplecrest Road, Edison, NJ; my studio is located at Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island, NY, my marriage continues to Barry (four years into our marriage; ten years into our relationship), and, seemingly, all goes well.

All the while I maintain this sketch book, I am working on paintings, too; participating in any shows that are reasonable (within my budget and distance for delivery). For instance, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center sponsored several exhibitions a year in some for or other. Annually they featured the artists of the studios of Snug Harbor. Other times there would be a theme show that would be open to the public, such as "What We Did," a show specifically for women that would further illuminate the daily tasks of women. All of these ongoing exhibitions were inspiration for my work. But, too, I began and completed paintings that I simply wanted to see come to fruition. The sketch books served as a repository for ideas for these paintings as well as for many, many other images that came to mind.

Drawings of note:

Page 3: Regardless of what may sound like stability, there was not a time of "ease," or "peace" in my marriage or in my life, for that matter. In all of the time (thirteen years) I lived in New Jersey, I never once called it "home;" not even for five minutes. I saw and met many people there but very few human beings; I was, overall, friendless. Yes, I resided in a comfortable condominium and drove a quite decent car, but a good life is far more than these two things, essential as a car and house may have been. That which was expected of me by my husband was to be a wife. What I wanted of myself was to be an artist. It was during this marriage I tried to be both. And, as a result, I was often overwhelmed with responsibility; the duty of being a wife was never fulfilled as it should have been, it seemed. Then, too, it was a rare moment, indeed, when I would finish a day at the studio and be satisfied; I could never fulfill the expectations I had of myself, either. So, here is this drawing; quickly and truthfully done: a woman, alone, drowning—or perhaps already drowned. She doesn't seem to be struggling. It's as though death has just won and she is finished. Note the obesity and signs of aging. It is another self-portrait.

In my family, there was not one of us who knew how to swim, except my father. Having come from living on a hill in a small mill town, there was no nearby waterhole for summer leisure. Neither was there anyone, probably, in the whole town of Canton who had a swimming pool. There was the "recreation park," that was Canton's public facility, open to the public. But it was located too far away for me to be a participant. The end result was that, not only could I not swim, but I had a fear of deep water.

Pages 5 and 6: These drawings relate, somewhat, back to the imaginary drawings I would do as a child in order to "find my own world." Such, especially is the case, on page 6, where I have envisioned an imaginary town like Cortona, In Tuscany; it would be like visiting Italy again, but through a drawing.

Pages 13-15: These drawings are the combination of a self portrait and of a doll my mother had made for me in the 1970's. The drawing on page 14 is truer to the likeness of the doll; however, the following drawing, page 15, represents a closer integration of the doll's face and my own.

Page 17: These drawings represent an idea for a painting; perhaps it would be entitled: "How It All Gets Started," kin, somewhat, to Courbet's "Gates of Life." He painted only one side of the "gate," I think, in his rather startling representation.

Pages 18 and 19: The female torso has long been presented as a subject of beauty from the male point of view. I was told by an art historian that women cannot depict women in the sensual way a man could. So be it, I thought (I didn't believe him at all), and thus these two entries, drawn in strong gestural structure, show the female torso as something of strength and fortitude. Maillol would not have disagreed with me, I think.

Page 27: Norman, at age 80, was a daily feature at Snug Harbor cultural center. He had a goodly sized studio there; he would have lived in his studio if it were allowed. He worked that diligently. Norman was not married and had no children; he lived alone. However, after his service and being wounded out of World War II (he had volunteered for the Marines at age 17; was crippled on his left side during the invasion of Iwo Jima by machine gun fire), he returned to Staten Island, and, through the G. I. Bill, attended the New York School of Art where he studied under Hans Hoffman. Norman's studio was filled with his paintings and drawings, but mostly by his collages and flat wall pieces. I had great admiration for him as an artist and was lucky enough to be able to purchase some of his work. When Norman died, he left his work to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. That organization put together a catalog of his work and sells it via the internet.

Pages 34 - 37: Having a love of portraiture, often I would draw faces of people imagined: somewhat in the form of caricature.

Pages 38-41: The imagined portraits are continued but through these pages in the form of "couples."

Pages 43 - 52: A trip to Florence provided for me quality time to do in depth study: here a sculpture at one of the fountains in the Palazzo Vecchio; on page 49, another study of a sculptured face, also a satyr as on page 43.

Pages 61 and 62: More imaginary landscapes...

Page67: With this self-portrait, I decided to give myself a "bird" identity. When I moved to New Jersey in 1990,1 joined a group of women birders. Birding became something like a religion to me; I never tired of it. Also, as pets, I had lovebirds.

Page 70: Entitled "A Perfect Little Temple, But a Mausoleum, After All," this drawing is explained on page 71.

Pages 76 and 77: Envisioning the Christ figure as a nurturing shepherd, I thought I would try the combination of man and woman—featuring the nurturing breasts. Hermaphrodite in nature, it appears more as a "bearded woman" with a halo. My mother was very upset about these two drawings; she didn't want anyone to see them. And, on page 77,1 think I come closer to my original idea as this figure appears more masculine but the breasts are evident, as well.

Page 78: This would be the interior of our cabin we owned in Eqinunk, PA; however, I have enhanced its size and comfort and experimented with the idea of putting large tree branches in the interior as something that would be functional as well as aesthetic.

Page 80: This represents only one of many ideas I have had about "God." Here he is represented as a grumpy old man in his pajamas and smoking a cigar, seemingly disturbed and looking out his window down on earth and asking "What the hell is wrong now...?

Page 81: This, too, is a self-portrait, not taken from a real mirror, but from the mirror I saw within myself.

Page 94: This quick gestural sketch is a search for the true reaction of "God" when he discovered that Adam and Eve had eaten fruit from the "Tree of Knowledge," which led to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden and the eventual downfall of mankind altogether.