Dianne Cable


2001 Sketch Book, Spiral bound, hard back, 6" x 6"—Amnesty International ASPCA, moth, and three gold coin stickers on a black and white mottled cover.

In 2001,I was living in Edison, New Jersey, with my husband, Barry at 901 Maplecrest Road.

The economy was failing and so was my trust fund. I was notified by the Dalton's that it would gradually stop altogether. At this point, I had my studio in an office space in a small industrial complex in south Metuchen. I "shared" this studio space with Joan. I agreed to share this space because I could not afford full rent. Joan, who was a wonderful person and a good artist, told me she would hardly ever be there; this was true. She just wanted to maintain a studio space somewhere. So, for the most part, my studio time was spent alone.

It was during this time, too, that I was hired as adjunct faculty at Monmouth University, a small private college about fifty miles to the south. I taught two art appreciation courses there, traveling the fifty miles distance twice a week. The pay was minimal.

This sketch book has several examples of hatching and a build-up of marks to create mass. I would work in this manner to keep my hands busy in the evenings on the weekend when Barry and I would listen to the radio up at our cabin in Equinunk. We had no television there. But we would listen to the local public radio station, Barry would read a book and I would also read or draw. These things we did while sitting in front of a roaring fire that helped to fight off the cold of northeastern Pennsylvanian winters.

Drawings of note:

Page 1: An atmosphere of marks; these in circular motion.

Page 3: Sometimes I would allow some form to emerge from the free roaming yet rhythmic marks. Here the suggestion of a face.

Page 5: This drawing is done after an early Greek figure. I was surprised to find the piece in the Louvre. It fit my "dome shaped" women figures perfectly. I made several sculpt-y figures after this form. It became a favorite motif throughout the remaining sketch books.

Page 7: Calligraphic marks. As further exercise in "marks," I began a kind of nonsense writing that was neither here nor there—just marks, organized as one would write.

Page 8: Then emerged a sort of "block" form writing that was taken from Japanese and Chinese writing. Those culture's forms are works of art unto themselves. These exercises I worked in vertical column s, from left to right. They are fun to do, good exercise; no two are the same.

Pages 13 and 14: I found "exercise", too, with a "Sharpie" felt tip pen, making marks to fill a page. Page 16: some pages speak for themselves.

Page 19: Around this time I discovered sculpt-y clay. I experimented with it at first, reluctantly, in order to show my mother how it was used. I say reluctantly because, at first, it seemed too much of an "artsy-craftsy" medium. I tended toward being a purist when it came to mediums. To have an acrylic based clay that one "baked" in the oven, 275 degrees Fahrenheit, for thirty minutes seemed to me a child's medium. However, once I began to knead and mold the clay, I found myself enjoying it tremendously. Sculpt-y clay was used, mostly, for making jewelry and other craft-like projects. I made only figurines, and most of these were comical, or cartoonish in aspect. Ideas would come to me and I would put them in my sketch book. I had a small area set up in my home, in the living room, on a desk behind the couch, where I would work. It was great fun plus I could create figures that were quite interesting and with real heartfelt content. Sculpt-y clay, however, was new on the market and was expensive. As my trust fund dwindled and my time at Monmouth came to an end, I found I could not afford the medium. After 2003, when I moved back to North Carolina, I rarely used the medium again.

Page 26: Another self-portrait of exhaustion without much accomplished, I thought. In the previous year, I had been diagnosed with Epstein Barr syndrome, a kind of chronic fatigue. There were times when I had so very little energy to carry on. I enhanced this terrible time with guilt since I was accomplishing nothing. Self esteem was running low, needless to say.

Pages 32, 34 and 39: Some days my energy was so low, all I could manage was a minimal entry, for instance the sighting of a raven. This was a rare occurrence where I lived in New Jersey. That, then, was the best thing I could put in my sketch book as was, on page 34, the fact that I had had a good conversation with a good friend that day.

Page 37: Speaks for itself; this is a kind of self portrait, I would say.

Page 43: These were a wonderful gift from Mary Ann, my best friend who lived in Kilkenny, Ireland. My passion at this time was birding. To see that a country was proud enough of its species of birds so as to put them on stamps was nothing less than beautiful. And the page fit perfectly in this small sketch book.

Page 55: This, too, is a kind of self portrait at the time: "How it is..."

Page 60: Here is experimentation in my sketch book with new mediums. Pearl Art and Craft had just come out with some new "toys;" various colored pens with minute sparkles in the ink as well as tape, of all colors, some of these were mylar and some just masking tape of all colors. I experimented in my sketch books with these then continued doing a series of large drawings with new mediums.

Page 64: I had made a trip to Denver in May of this year, to visit my brother and his family; wife, Sally and son, Ian. This image was entered when it was time to return to New Jersey.

Page 63: This says a lot about the direction of my marriage at the time.

Page 65: This is "Helen," a figure that appears throughout almost all my sketch books at some time or other.

Dianne Cable, July 10, 2011