2007 Sketch Book, black, hardbound, 8.5" x 11"
After teaching courses in Art 100 that required students to
purchase a sketch book, it was sometimes the case that a student
would drop the course and leave their art supplies with me. So
it was with this book. The first pages are taped off. I then
took up the remaining empty pages to use as my own.
In 2007-2008 academic semesters, I completed my three year
academic contract. My contract was not renewed because the
department, under the chairmanship of Robert Dunning, wanted to
hire not only someone who could teach drawing and basic design,
but lithography, as well. My specialty, as far as print making
was concerned, was in serigraphy. The department, after waiting
for several years, finally received a promised lithograph press
in the summer of 2007. This shifted the hiring preferences for
the new and upcoming tenured position—something for which I had
planned to apply but saw, suddenly, I was unqualified.
For the first time in my life, I went on unemployment for the
next two years. I applied to colleges and universities
throughout the south east; however, the Recession ruled and no
jobs, except that as adjunct, were available.
However, I continued my studio work and continued using a
sketch book as a receptacle for ideas, observations, and a
visual "working out" area of logistics for pieces of assemblage
ongoing in the studio.
I was continuing my idyllic St. Francis lifestyle in Spring
Creek, with Phil, three dogs, and seven barn cats (these cats
quickly became "yard cats" as soon as I changed their feeding
Drawings of note:
Page 1: I had not worked from the model in quite a while.
While traversing the art department hallways, I passed an
ongoing life drawing session. I asked the professor if I could
sit in and she was happy to have me. I quickly fetched my sketch
book and made this quick entry. I wanted to see if I would still
feel adequate at working with the nude. I felt rather good about
this little drawing that only took about ten minutes—the model's
break allowed me only so much time to put the entire figure on
such a small page.
Page 2: My studio work had turned completely to assemblage; I
had not worked on a painting in quite a while. In this rough
sketch I was trying to gain a visual on what a number of
dismembered and physically rearranged Barbie dolls would look
like half buried in sand. The theme was playing on the American
lack of sensitivity or sensibility toward the horror then
occurring in Darfur where rape was used as a weapon and bodies
were found in mass graves.
Pages 4 and 8: When I needed to draw, I would often begin a
simple doodle on a page and turn it into tonal shading—creating
a kind of abstract sculpture. These are the sculpted doodles
taught in Art 100. I was given credit for inventing these from
drawings I did in Tucker's classes in 1972 and '73.
Page 13: "What It Feels Like" is a drawing that came to me as
I was overwhelmed with ideas—for sculpture, for painting, and
for more drawing. The roots of this strange tree sink deep into
the foundation of training and experience. The trunk of the tree
is the conductor of information to the branches that will bear
the fruit in the form of pieces of art work.
Pages 21, 27, 28, 29: I had to admit that I was aging. I was
still healthy though heavy (as has been the case for most of my
life). In Spring Creek, at this time, a few local people wanted
to learn or practice yoga—simple exercises that would help them
in the aging process. I joined this small group and went to yoga
workouts once a week. Although these are not accurate images of
me, they still are self-portraits of a type, with underlying
Pages 23 - 26: It was wonderful to have a kind of freedom
from painting when I worked on ideas for installations,
sculptures, or assemblage. Later, the reality that I should try
to sell things required that I return to the
ever-problem-solving palette; to paint images that "pleased."
Painting is always the great teacher. But the truth of the
recession and the truth of the early 21st
century was that painting was pretty much dead.
Then, again, so was art, in general. No one bought art.
No one understood art, except a very few. I was lucky that
I did know a very few who understood me and what I was doing.
Most unfortunately, however, these "very few," who I call
friends forever, were also very broke. I became the
biggest collector of works by Dianne Cable. It is a song
sung by many of this "error."
Page 31: This is a favorite motif of mine; I've done several
versions of it: a rock wall with a window that opens onto
another wall; in this case, a brick wall. Hardness against
hardness; hopeless abuts hopelessness. Aside from such a bleak
meaning, it's a good drawing.
Pages 32 and 33: It has been a goal of mine to create a comic
strip about the life of the Virgin Mary that is so often
portrayed in Christian art (the Giotto chapel comes to mind;
it's rather like a large comic strip in and of itself). I had
done the comic strip of The Garden of Eden; I wanted to add to
it a more contemporary version of the Life of the Virgin. These
two illustrations were a start. Will I ever complete it? It
hasn't happened yet.
Page 38: This is a drawing of a piece I completed for the
faculty show in 2007. It is a beautiful piece, entitled "The
Door." Striking and quite handsome, the idea just came to me as
I surveyed the many wonderful old farm artifacts that were at my
disposal. I found a door in the barn loft that was a perfect
piece on which to mount an abstract drawing enhanced by hay rake
Page 43: I made this piece before I drew it. The reality of
the actual piece is quite powerful and downright frightening
compared to the drawing. The piece has been dismantled but I
will make another one.
Dianne Cable, August 9, 2011