Diane Cable


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 station).

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 humor.

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 tynes.

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