Excerpts from a sketchbook by
Warren Criswell
in sumi ink & other media from July 1982 to September 2001

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."...Plato

10 minute video montage




 After the attacks of September 11, 2001, I felt the need for some kind of artistic response. Not that it would do any good, but just to express what I was feeling. I wanted to put some image on my homepage, but the only appropriate source I could think of was an old sketch book I did in the '80s--just an exercise book, really--which I called Lenny and the Black Riders, referring to drawings of Leonard Bernstein conducting Mahler and Verdi, and of the Black Riders from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Love and art vs. hate and destruction--that was the idea. The drawings were almost entirely from TV--news, movies, commercials, whatever. The following three web pages are excerpts from the book.......
Flipping through those old pages, I was stunned by how relevant much of it seemed now. It's full of war images from the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the time and place that suicide bombing made its first appearance in the world--and the beginning of Al Qaeda.

According to the late Osama bin Ladin: "The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that.... And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children."

Each reaction is an escalation of the slaughter and stupidity. I was afraid that the only thing worse than 9-11 would be our reaction to it, and I was right. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein (who had nothing to do with Al Queda) enabled the the birth of the Islamic State.
"We were neck deep in the Big Muddy
...But the damn fool said to push on."
(Pete Seeger)......................
Warren Criswell
(updated 10/26/15)

Hardbound Sketchbook,
½ x 5 inches



Lenny & the Black Riders, 1984,
oil on paper





Title Page. Part I: Kryie
1, 7/5/82, Elizabeth continued her walk alone, crossing field after field.... (Masterpiece Theater)


3, 7/6/82, Storm over Little Rock

7, 7/7/82, Bernstein conducting Mahler 5


8 & 9. Mahler 5, 7/10/82


10 & 11, 7/10/82


14 & 15, 7/10/82

17, 7/12/82, Pizzicato
19. 7/12/82, Trombone


22 & 23. 7/13/82


20 & 21. 7/12/82

24, Eclipse, 7/18/82
31. 7/20/82, James Galway
35. 7/29/82, Count Basie
37. 7/24/82, Heat Lightning, I-30

39. 7/25/82, View of Fort Smith
41. 7/27/82, Moonlit clouds from Station West (1948)
43. 7/29/82, Ballooning over Lake Maumelle
46. 7/31/82, Lake Maumelle


51. 8/1/82, View of Detroit


53. 8/2/82, Kilimanjaro

54. 8/2/82, Kilimanjaro

56, 57. 8/3/82, Lake Maumelle

61. Friday 13, 1982, Morning, I-30
63. 8/16/82, UALR Planetarium
64, 65. 8/15/82,
Channel 4 reporter
67. 8/16/82, Philip Habib in West Beirut
69. 7/31/82, "...10:30 last night. Some of the heaviest exchanges occured during ..."
71, Black Sunday, Beirut, 8/1/82
75, 8/2/82, Scared girl

77. 8/2/82, Lenny conducting Mahler 9
79, 8/5/82, Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zurüchkhaltend


81. 8/10/82, Elizabeth and (?)

83. 8/10/82, View of Honolulu

In the fifth of his six Norton Lectures at Harvard in 1973, on the brink of the Yom Kippur War, Leonard Bernstein claimed that "the real reason for the 50 years of neglect that Mahler's music suffered after his death" was "not the usual excuses we always hear: that the music is too long, too difficult, too bombastic. It was simply too true, telling something too dreadful to hear.... What was it Mahler saw? Three kinds of death. First, his own imminent death ... second, the death of tonality ... And finally, his third and most important vision: the death of society, of our Faustian culture."




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