the art: surreal + symbolic

...MORE Surreal Artwork by
Chris Eisenbraun.

  • Complex sketch (2010): "Whisper To The Thunder."
  • Pencil artwork (2009): "The Bus To (Pomona); King To Queen's Rook 13."
  • Surreal pencil (2008): "Instant Karma With Marshmallows. Just Add Water!"
  • Pencil sketch (2007): "Curiouser And Curiouser: 3.1415926535897."
  • Artwork (2006): "Infinity And Jelly Donuts."
  • Pen and ink (2006): "The Face I Show To You."
  • The Drawing Board Blog:
    "Just Passing Through..."

    DRAWING STARTED: July 04, 2010.

    Artist précis.

    COMPLETED: Mar. 20, 2011.
    REVISITED: Sept. 12, 2014.

    This particular work of art is DONE after EIGHT months of drawing. Sheesh. One of these days I am going to get TWO or THREE drawings done in one year. You don't believe me? Not surprising. LOL. Anyway. If the animated image just isn't doing it for you AND you want words with your Art..., etc. ...scroll down baby.


  • Artist blog: the drawing starts here...

    (July 4, 2010) Posted Sept. 01, 2010

    Seven is NOT too many.

    Step one, getting started. This particular work of art called forth an entire host of photo collages. Quite often there are MANY MANY collages. Talking to your subconscious is an extremely tenuous sort of conversation (if you're wide awake). LOL. ALL of the collages have their points and NONE are the finished drawing. Anyway. Some of the photos came from an old coffee table art book about movie stars of the last century. This particular book cost $5 or less and came from the sale table a Barnes & Nobles type of store... YEARS AGO. The actual book weighs about 2 lbs. I have a LOT of heavy books. LOL. I like the old photos because, although they are (of course) retouched to some extent... there is NO WAY they are as manipulated as more modern photos. Translation: they are (a tad) more real. A tad. BIGtime. Again with the "Anyway." hehehe. Some of the photos in the soon-to-be pencil artwork are mine, some aren't ....all will become MORE. A new layer is about to be added to a photo collage base. This isn't about copying a picture, this is about translating a visual "word" and speaking from the subconscious, using words and phrases from the common vernacular. NEXT >>

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  • (July 09, 2010) Posted Sept. 01, 2010

    Old-school, new-school ...Art.

    Still "talking" about the behind-the-scenes stuff..., artisically speaking. Sometimes, for whatever reason, I just seem to get stuck while working on/putting the artwork together. At that point I will print out hardcopy of the most recent photo and then sketch on it (let my fingers do the walking so to speak). LOL. Some things are more comfortable to play with in the computer, some parts of working a sketch are more comfortable stretched out in a big chair with a sketchbook/paper and pencil in hand. Coffee is ALWAYS on the side (regardless of the "tool" in use at the moment). NEXT >>

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  • (July 11, 2010) Posted Sept. 01, 2010

    Mucha and Art Nouveau lines...


    I kept getting nostalgic and found myself working on the hair in an old-school style that I have always REALLY enjoyed drawing. We're talking (almost) pre-high school sort of stuff. The artist Mucha was my original (high school years) inspiration. I loved the lines of the women's hair in his drawings. I grew up drawing that style over and over again. Very art nouveau. Very deco. Very beautiful (if you're into LINE like I am). Well.... the funny thing is that after doing about 25 versions of hair going nuts... I found that the sketch that kept drawing my eye... was the facetious one... with the woman's head in flames. Another, more recent, nostalgia from the beginning of my SURREAL period. You'll find this symbol in two drawings, "Part III: Denouement: Midnight" and "Part IV: Epilogue: Abracadabra". Hmmmm. Apparently, the subconscious is saying things that only my fingers are hearing.

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  • (July 18, 2010) Posted Sept. 01, 2010

    A real beginning.


    The background seems to be a bit dark but the chosen pencils are the lightest in my arsenal. It's making me nervous nonetheless. LOL.

    Note: the picts shown are darker than reality... so the penciled lines will show up online. The drawn lines are actually pretty delicate. Okie doke? :)

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  • (July 25, 2010) Posted Sept. 01, 2010

    Clockwork action.


    Hmmmm... apparently the clock is disintegrating. Who knew? I guess you could say the pencil knew. LOL. I KNOW that I wanted a LOT of movement, I guess that is what I am getting. ROFLMAO. Too funny.

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  • (Aug. 22, 2010) Posted Sept. 01, 2010

    The Darkness and The Chaos.


    Okay. Okay. NOW there is TONS of movement in the background and I am REALLY getting nervous about the darkness and the chaos. I REALLY hope my fingers KNOW what they are doing. Sheesh. Tah freakin' dah. This is SUPPOSED to be relaxing. Anyway :) Go pencil go. Draw.

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  • (Aug. 29, 2010) Posted Sept. 01, 2010

    The BOXES are causing trouble.


    The boxes have me ALL tied up in fits. Once again, there are millions of hardcopy printouts littering the studio as I try to figure out what is UP with these boxes. Initially, they were visualized as an almost abstract, very graphic pattern. There was even a point where they were the pieces of a broken apart chessboard (black and white squares waylaid). gut (or my fingers? the pencil?) is/are saying otherwise. Another departure from routine: usually the artwork is drawn from the upper left hand corner down... to keep smudging to a minimum. That is DEFinitely NOT happening here. We're talking complete helter-skelter-ishness. CHAOS. Jeez. This was SUPPOSED to be a very SIMPLE (surreal) sketch. Guess NOT.

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  • Posted Sept. 07, 2010

    A lot of little things.


    A LOT of fine tuning going on over here including boxes, lighting, backgrounds and fiery hair. But, you can see that hehehehe. Sorry so short but I spent my time putting the animation together ...and time is ALWAYS at a premium here. Anyway. MORE Art: coming soon.. If I don't draw soon the pencils are going to roll right off the table and FIND ME.

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  • Posted Sept. 12, 2010

    The B-O-X-E-S. ARGH.


    The Boxes. That's right: B-O-X-E-S. And, do you want to know the really EXTREMELY funny thing? If I draw them correctly... you won't even notice them. Not really. UGH. least those DARN Boxes are beginning to come to light (so to speak <lol>). The lighting..., the idea..., the boxes... are not yet finalized but the concept is getting closer. The fingers are working. My problem was: the boxes and the background seemed to be ABOUT the same shade... or at least that seemed to be the LAST direction (part four of many) that this part of the drawing was headed. BIG sigh. My semi-initial thought was that this was going to be more of a Dutch period sort of deal. I always loved the idea of dark/black forests (etc.) framing small blue spots of sky/landscape found in so MANY Dutch period pieces. So I thought: why not do ditto with boxes and a wildly rotating clock in a sky/ceiling??? hehehe. Anyway. I "thought" that was where this was heading. But that was just as much because...I thought that to DEFINE the boxes would exacerbate the complete confusion the background seemed to be becoming. But then again (even before THAT idea <lol>), I "thought" the boxes were going to be a broken apart chess board. Go figure. My subconscious is keeping this baby DEEPLY under wraps and leaving the conscious mind COMPLETELY in the dark ...and guessing badly. LOL. Anyway. Back to: those darn boxes. Triple friggin' ugh. Regardless of how this "sounds" ...I am getting (somewhat) optimistic. At least, the whole concept is beginning to move FORWARDS. Yeah.

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  • (Sept. 26, 2010) Posted Oct. 18, 2010

    MORE boxes.


    Okay, so the boxes weren't quite done. LOL. Like I said, "If I do them won't even see them." Sheesh. MY PENCILS WON'T LEAVE THE BOXES ALONG. ARGHHHH.

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  • (Oct. 10, 2010) Posted Oct. 18, 2010

    And even MORE boxes.


    ...AND EVEN MORE with the BOXES man. Wow and Go Friggin' Figure. OMG. Go up to the art slide show, pick a side and JUST focus on the boxes. You'll see the slight differences in lighting, the fact that tape has been added here and there, AND the tops of some boxes have been defined a BIT more. There are a LOT of pencils in play at this point in the artwork. Eye flow is important. AND, not stopping the eye from flowing is JUST as important. That is a BIG part of what THIS is ALL about. Jeez. And, YES, it's THAT important to me much so, that I've been working boxes since the beginning of September. I am SO READY TO MORE ONWARDS!!!!!!!!! ugh. You'll also notice that the cookie cutters are beginning to be defined :) Woohoo! Something to draw that ISN'T a box! (!#@ !#$%! !@*&$%@@#!!!).

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  • (Oct. 17, 2010) Posted Oct. 18, 2010

    Stepping from the "real" world...


    I touched a box with a pencil ...but it was just to change the color/tone of the tape. The shade of the tape and the dashed line, at that point of the picture, were waaaay too similar and the box needed to be pushed BACK a tad (and that did it). I am WORKING the graphite baby. LOL. Too funny. I was also SO GLAD to be penciling in the cookie cutter, etc. It worked out really well because the distractions were coming fast and furious Saturday morning. I would start to draw on the cookie cutter and have to stop. Then another centimeter would get drawn and I'd have to stop again. Then an actual inch was sketched..and, ...but you get the idea. Luckily, it was a part of the drawing that could handle and progress through that sort of atmosphere. And, luckily, I kind of saw it coming ...and cancelled my trip to the Saturday Morning Downtown Farmers Market. No fresh veggies this week. It is EASIER for ME... to step from the "real" world into the Art mind set... while the mind is still unpolluted by the mundane (and a SOLID first step from here to there makes every step after... more likely to happen <g>). Oh well. It was SO worth it: to get some REAL drawing done. I'll guess I'll just have to get fresh veggies next weekend. Anyway. By Sunday evening... a very DE-stressified artist was smiling broadly into the night. hehehe. Another cool thing? The dashed line solved itself. There was an inkling that it could be really cool but I was drawing a blank (pun intended)...until the first layer of graphite went down onto the paper... and then I KNEW what I had to do :) Sweeeeeet. Sometimes it is just easier to shut off the head and wait for directions from the muse. ROFLMAO. BIGtime :)

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  • (Oct. 31, 2010) Posted Nov. 2, 2010

    This work is turning a corner...


    Last weekend was Halloween. It's EXTREMELY traditional around here (in Eisenbraun artist-ville) that a LOT does NOT get done the weekend BEFORE Halloween. That's time to put together costumes and let the sense of humor run rampant (and boy do we EVAH <lol>). Gary is one crazy dude man. BIGtime. SOOOO... we made up for all that damn frivolity THIS weekend ...which translates to a LOT of Art in the house. It goes hand-in-hand with the guilt trip of playing hookie for an entire weekend. hehehehe. You could say I went a tad dotty (see above) and Gary made the guitar sing... all weekend long. Go figure. It was GREAT :) :) :)

    BTW: Wow! Did this work of art turn a HUGE corner or what??? This is crazy man. Wow. This drawing has been a tough sell so far (even to me). Not sure what, where or how, at least half of the time. But, boy am I GLAD that I hung in there :) I am STARTING to believe. LOL. I've pulled out the big gun: my darkest, blackest pencil. It will be used on the dots that are closest to the front of the artwork. It's scary pulling that baby out too early. A tad bit of carelessness and there will be DARK smudges running amuck. Ugh. I PREFER using THIS pencil last. Oh well.

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  • (Nov. 07, 2010) Posted Dec. 05, 2010

    Getting down with the dots.


    Can you tell that I've mostly worked on the dots? They are too far away from the viewer (especially considering how large some of them have gotten). Damnit. The kneaded eraser is DEFinitely getting a workout. Basic rule of perception: things that are closer to you are DARKER. The further away a thing is: the lighter in color it appears to be. That means that even though ALL of the dots are BLACK... the ones further away would be... grayer than the ones on the edge of the drawing's... space/window. Trying to get that JUST RIGHT tone of greyness has been the back and forth-ness of the current stage of work. LOTS of erasing and re-coloring and erasing and... It's all my fault, no one else to blame. After all, I'm the anal perfectionist who believes in running off the gut. Can't think about it until I'm THERE...and THEN: No OVER thinking. Ugh. Geez, what a tight rope. BTW: did you notice the boxes? OF COURSE NOT... THEY'RE in the background. Sheesh. AND, hehehehe. Anyway.

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  • (Nov. 14, 2010) Posted Dec. 05, 2010

    An artist's perspective: dots in your face.


    The dots STILL weren't behaving. I want them to be IN YOUR FACE. Sooooo. Another facet of perception (exposed to the entire mainstream via photography): if you look at something CLOSE to you, the thing behind it gets fuzzy-ish. We ALL know that one :) Hmmmm. I'm not interested in photographic reality so I'm not going to work out where, when, how and the actual math involved. LOL. There are PLENTY of beautiful photographers out there who can go out and take/make those pictures. I am drawing here and am ONLY interested in a couple of dots that I am trying to MOVE ...closer to the viewer. Therefore, for the very instance that the viewer would be focused on THAT particular dot ...the ones behind it would get fuzzy. Hmmmmm. Now, I WONDER... how can I use this information to achieve my goal? Triple hmmmm. :)

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  • (Nov. 28, 2010) Posted Dec. 05, 2010

    Poke the dots.


    Two of those dots look SO REAL you could reach in and POKE THEM. Awesome! Anyway. The foreground cookie cutter is starting to take shape (although I am currently arguing internally over how dark THIS is going to get <lol>)....and the circling lines have been laid out (the lines that underlie EVERYTHING and circle round the central face). Not sure what I'm talking about? Click the image above to view the enlargement. You should be able to see it (focus on the girl and the box....).

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  • Dec. 05, 2010

    Nothing to see here. Just words, but they are about the drawing...


    Right now the drawing is going VERY slowly. The Annual Artist Retreat is coming up VERY FAST. Ugh. Somewhere (around Thanksgiving) ...I gave up on the master plan: to get THIS work of art done NOW and have a few weeks to put together a new collage so I could THEN start a BRAND new work of Art during the retreat. Guess what. Not happening. In order to make THAT happen, I would have had to RUSH. And we all KNOW what would happen then: it would give my arch enemy (The Flaw) a chance to creep in and (later) ruin the artwork (for all eternity). LOL. So. Anyway. It's Christmas and I am TRYING to (at least) touch base with this beautiful surreal piece of Art... a little bit. Christmas time will be the REAL Art time :) :) :)

    A note about Christmas: this year we purchased a video camera (Black Friday RULES!) ...and I am squeezing in minutes (here and there) to figure out software, etc. It will be MORE for Gary's website than mine, but that's cool. After all, I am NOT a limelight peep and that's OK. As a visual artist, you don't NEED to see ME. You just need to SEE my Art. hehehehe. Anyway. NEXT >>

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  • Posted Jan. 04, 2011

    Post artist retreat notes...


    I am SHOCKED that this drawing was not completed during the artist retreat. Wow. And. Go figure. Anyway. This year, the artist retreat was very weird, cold and FABULOUS (as always). This is our sixth? seventh? year straight and I am SO RELAXED at this very moment... "relaxed" was DEFinitely the word for this retreat for both Gary and I. For an artist, a retreat of this sort is SO GOOD for getting the kinks out of your soul (that reality takes SUCH pleasure in creating).

    Onto the details. The BOXES were re-re-re-re-refinessed ONCE AGAIN. LOL. It turned out that I had to darken some of them up, lighten others and smush somethers into a shadowy solidarity. Hopefully... between this and that COMPLETE MONTH I spent working on them...the boxes are done. Who knows. My subconscious doesn't always keep me in the loop until the last minute. hehehe. PLUS: the closest cookie cutter was reworked. It turned out that I hadn't made it dark enough to match the other darkness' of the foreground. The line coming out of that cookie cutter was darkened up all over. In a VERY lightly done sort of way. (For the all the fact that it was VERY LIGHTLY... there were three to four new VERY LIGHT layers added). Sheesh. You just don't KNOW how MANY layers of pencil are to be found on every square centimeter of these graphite drawings. Triple sheesh indeedy. The words and the online picts...don't really show the whole picture (and yes, pun intended). hehehe. Anyway. Then the hand came into play (so to speak) AND (once again) pun intended. The floor was worked, reworked, erased, reworked and partially erased until the right effect was achieved. AND, the box was started then completely erased (not for artistic effect but more for artistic correctness). Then, the box was re-started. That's just about where we are for now. Back into the fray: the fight to keep my ART alive and create new Art an everyday world...

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  • (Jan. 16, 2011) Posted July 21, 2011

    A little behind on the up-load.


    Now, it's half a year later and I am TRYING to remember what was going on here. Why so late? A LOT of time was spent finalizing Gary's most recent website (in between the finish of THIS drawing and the starting of the next one). I am SO BEHIND and he is a double CD and a half ahead of me. There is NOT enough time to be had ANYWHERE. It has been YEARS since I was last bored. LOL. Oh well.

    It's kind of cool, revisiting this work at this time (and very embarrassing too, to see how long I've let this sit without an update). BIGtime. I do remember being so INTENSE about every little bit, every tiny centimeter, every single pencil stroke. This part of the artwork was drawn AFTER the artist retreat (obviously). The focus: the girl and the box...

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  • (Jan. 29, 2011) Posted July 21, 2011

    Drawing dirty, grungy and worn out.


    This drawing session was all about the box. I wanted it to feel real, dirty, grungy and worn out... There are many, many, many layers of many different pencils involved here. I usually end up with a solid core of pencils by the end of the drawing. I can't remember how many were in the group this time around. Maybe, somewhere between 10-15. Sorry. Can't quite remember.

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  • (Feb. 07, 2011) Posted July 21, 2011

    The one true white spot in the artwork.


    The fiery hair of the woman in the back IS the only true white spot in the drawing...but I wondered what was going to happen when this chick came into play. Would your eye start with the girl in the box, or the fiery headed one?.

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  • (Feb. 13, 2011) Posted July 21, 2011

    A dated hot works well here, symbolically speaking.


    A glow has been added (around the platinum blonde's hair). Jeez, I remembered all of this stuff while I was drawing... I think the photo was an actress from the 30s named Jean Harlowe (pre-Marilyn Monroe). I liked the formulaic styling of her look. You can tell that in her time she was very hot and you can tell that she is from another time. I'm not saying that she her looks aren't STILL awesome, feminine, etc. ...I'm just saying that she's (also) ...very dated and THAT is one of the many, many, many things that work here (on a symbolic level).

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  • (Mar. 13, 2011) Posted July 21, 2011

    When white is really cream.


    Ok. What's this, eh? I finished the drawing and went to put it in the frame. The frame had a white mat. Guess what. My paper is creamy. Who knew? The drawing pad says, "premium bright white" and guess who drank the kool aid? You're told "white" and you think "white". Jeeeeeez. It looked HORRIBLE. I tried to MAKE it work and started drawing on the mat. was kind of cool but everything just got horribly busy so I nixed it, went out and brought a new mat. Sheesh.

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  • (Mar. 20, 2011) Posted July 21, 2011

    Time to freak out.


    I forgot to post a closeup of the finalized drawing. Sooo. Here you go, finished. Done. Officially New Art. I started to freak out along the line, the name was taking FOREVER to come through. I had a zillion names written down. NONE of them worked. Gary and I started bouncing ideas between us. He's a great sport and a songwriter when I'm in a crunch we play word games. LOL. After I came up with the general vicinity/concept/main words, he told me there was a song by Marshall Crenshaw with that sort of phrase in it: "Just Passing Through..." The song isn't the cause or the reason of this drawing, it just so happened that the phrase from the song seemed to work well with the words that I was already considering. AND, the song didn't disagree with the concept I jumped on it. That happens a LOT. THIS art is about dreams, symbols and the subconscious. TRUE art with this sort of base ...should arise from the very images, words and symbols of our daily lives because THOSE are the very ingredients of real dreams. The subconscious "talks" to us in the guise of what surrounds us. Soooo...anyway. One day I'll put this down in a real way somewhere on the site. LOL. It's slowly coming clear to me and I haven't YET formalized the wording :) Please bear with me, I've got a few things on my plate. LOL.

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  • (Mar. 20, 2011) Expanded: Sept. 14, 2014.

    Let me introduce you....


    (July 21, 2011) Ok. Same day, second post.... only because this baby is framed and ...Done (and I needed to post a pict of each stage: "completed" and "framed"). AND..., the drawing is DEFinitely MUCH better without the overwrought matting. LOL. Eventually I will put up the gallery page, etc. ...but at this moment I am MORE interested in getting the next work of art up on the site. I also NEED to start looking around for a gallery to SHOW in (as a start). I also NEED to redesign my site and.... Too funny. Some day, some of it will happen. At least I am DRAWING nowadays ....and THAT feels VERY VERY VERY good to me.

    (Sept. 12, 2014) P. S. Sooo. Eventually happened AND I FINALLY found time to post the link. The page has been up for quite some time ...BUT,'s the OFFICIAL gallery page link. NOW we are DONE with this ONE (so many years later). Ha. Ha. Ha. And. Sheesh.

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