the art: surreal + symbolic

...MORE Surreal Artwork by
Chris Eisenbraun.

  • Pencil sketch (2007): "Curiouser And Curiouser: 3.1415926535897."
  • Artwork (2006): "Infinity And Jelly Donuts."
  • Artwork (2006): "The Face I Show To You."
  • Artwork (1997): "Part III: Denouement: Midnight."
  • Surreal art (1997): "Part II: Narrative: Lemonade."
  • Surreal artwork (1996): "Part I: Forward: Wildcard."
  • The Drawing Board Blog:
    "Instant Karma with marshmallows. Just add water!"

    DRAWING STARTED: Jan. 27, 2008.

    Artist précis.

    COMPLETED: Jan. 01, 2009.
    UPDATE: Sept. 12, 2013.
    REVISITED: Mar. 16, 2014.

    This new (surreal symbol) art feels different than the recent works of art but that's kind of cool :) Apparently I have decided to challenge myself: I picked the background of the drawing... first <sheesh>. Well, a hard challenge is DEFinitely one way to take your mind off a recent art disaster <sheesh>. There was a LOT of internal debate over whether this work of art should be pencil OR pen & ink. Tough question. I finally decided that there were enough challenges inherent in the artwork that I didn't need to add the tension of ink to the mix. Besides, there is so much subtly and beauty in graphite. I love the dense blacks and beautiful lines of ink but graphite is WAY overlooked and extremely beautiful too. So, decision made: this is a new surrealistic, symbol based PENCIL work of art <g>. hehehe. Ok. Here we go...


  • Artist blog: the drawing starts here...

    (Jan. 27, 2008) posted June 1, 2008.

    2008: the second...or the first drawing? Depends.

    This is actually the second surreal drawing for 2008 -- although I am calling the other, "my art disaster" I guess you could call this the REAL one and only, 2008 surreal artwork a la Chris Eisenbraun. Anyway. The start: a new surreal penciled symbolism work of art. How grandiose sounding. LOL. With an intro like that, I have a feeling that this is going to be a challenge <g>. NEXT >>

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  • Posted June 1, 2008.

    The end is really just the beginning....

    This drawing has had the most (initial) work done in the computer, to date. For example: the main pieces are photographs BUT the path was built up brick-by-brick in Photoshop (JUST for perspectives sake). By the third month, gradients had been added, shadows created, outlines and dashed lines inserted, spirals bent perspectively speaking ...etc. The first artwork collage began Jan. 27 and number fourteen was completed Mar. 26. This particular piece of art has taken FOREVER to compose. In addition to the fourteen Photoshop docs there have been about 30 sketches completed <sheesh>.

    What has been the main problem? This drawing STARTED with a background image (not my strong suite). I have NOT been BIG on backgrounds at all so far. The background image SO defines the space in SO many ways. Add the twist that the background is being peeled off and the possibilities are endless. It's been boggling my mind: what am I going to do with this space? I only know one thing: that image is a keeper <g>. So, my gut has been throwing stuff in and out of the space for months <g>. At one point I'm outside, taking photos of dead leaves and pine needle patterns on the concrete. When you are following your muse, you end up doing the damndest things (without knowing why <g>).

    The final collage isn't even the end of it all. I have a feeling that this is really ....JUST the beginning <lol>. Too cool. Icebox even <lol>. I can already tell this one is going to be a tuffy <g>. NEXT >>

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  • (May 19, 2008) Posted June 1, 2008.

    Hot and sweaty, with paper sticking to you is BAD.


    FINALLY, the new drawing part (pencil to paper) is started! No more computer work. Yeah. Smell the drawing paper baby. I've moved into "Studio East" (the air conditioned dining room that becomes my summer studio <g>). The regular/real studio (a converted garage) does NOT have a/c ....and it is just impossible to draw on paper that keeps trying to stick to you as you sweat all over it! I've pulled out the BIG glass mirror (with taped edges) to put on top of the wooden table so I won't get wood grain as I draw :)

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  • (May 26, 2008) Posted June 1, 2008.

    Keeping on the path....


    I have photos of all kinds of paths taped to the doors of the big wood cabinet against the studio wall <lol>. I have also spent a LOT of time during the last couple of years, in the garden, putting together my own path (made out of trash/recycled concrete <g>). I guess that between the photos and the experience ....all of that has given me a realistic perspective on the subject ...and is probably a good reason why this drawn path is becoming so much more realistic than the Photoshop-ed one :) The only reason it was built it up in the computer in the first place was to get a handle on how the bricks would REALLY curve in my imaginary path <g>. I found, when drawing it, initially by hand, that I kept curving the bricks without meaning too. hehehehe. Too cool :)

    Note: while looking at the drawing (I've had tons of time to not get a chance to work on it <sheesh>)... I noticed an impossible angle on the wings, path and cards. Better now than later. It's kind of cool actually, because the fix "works". Awesome. If you have to screw up, do it in a way that makes your drawing better <roflmao>. At this stage the fix is already incorporated into the drawing :) :) :)

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  • Posted July 1, 2008.

    Recovering previously LOST... X-ray eyes.


    I just spent an entire MONTH drawing faces <argh>. Actually, drawing ...then erasing and RE-drawing a face and THEN RE-starting the entire process on the next face (and these are the BACKGROUND images <sheesh>). That's when you realize that one of the BEST tools in your box is your kneaded eraser <lol>. You can hardly tell I've been erasing anything. No tears in the paper. No rough spots either :) My high school art teacher introduced me to that little treasure and it has saved my tusch a number of times <g>. The cool thing? I'm really glad that I didn't settle for the earlier versions of the faces. I found out that one of the things that I've had to recover (in my quest to get my ART back) x-ray eyes (the ability to SEE every single nuance of shadow to be found on an object). I did NOT realize that I had lost them. I thought they were here but looking back at recent work.... I realize things are better now <g>. Now, I hope, my x-ray eyes are back to stay :)

    The noses, in particular, were a BIG problem-o. Plus, the faces are darker then I meant for them to be <argh> ...because there are a number of black objects going on top of that background. But, oh well. That's how it is meant to be and there's a LOT that I am proud (at this point). I hope this new work of art works out as I don't know how my ego will take a second (in a row) art disaster. It would be different if I were drawing full time ...but this is precious weekend time (and well worth every minute). I'd DEFinitely rather be drawing then watching TV. BIGtime :)

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  • Posted July 14, 2008.

    Thank you Mr. Martin (my high school art teacher).


    Drawing with pencils isn't just picking up a pencil and going for it. BIGtime. I have an entire box of pencils AND have created a "color"/pencil palette using/labeling each/most of the pencils. I sounds a tad anal ...but how can you "paint" with graphite if you can't SEE the available colors? Example: the line around the butterfly wings is supposed to stand out. SO I went to my chart and picked out the darkest, softest pencil I have. It looks like wet paint or black velvet on the paper. VERY cool. NOW, as for the wings themselves: I want them to stand out from the background but NOT compete with the line for dominance. SOoooo, I went back to the chart and picked an upper echelon black, almost as rich/dark as the ultimate black pencil in the collection. This new black (6 HB) has a completely different texture from the other and it REALLY lends a difference to the entire piece. PLUS, when creating the background itself, I wanted a darkness that would be relatively light (no matter HOW intense I got with it). Soooo...I picked a solid light/mid-tone black and just kept getting darker with it. BUT, no matter how dark it got I KNEW this wasn't one of the blackest blacks in the palette ....which set the wings, etc. up to be THE darkest portion of the artwork. It's funny, but at one point that all seemed debatable because the background was SO BLACK ...until the new lines were laid down <g>. TOO funny. It really IS a pencil painting :)

    "Thank you Mr. Martin" (my high school teacher) who made me promise to collect pencils and use more than one when I wanted to create a pencil drawing <lol>. BIGtime. It's funny how those things you learn in school can actually come in handy with LIFE. Go figure <g>.

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  • Posted July 27, 2008.



    I am SUCH A FOOL <sheesh>. I KNOW that the hardest thing to do: is to leave something alone (aka, know when to quit <argh>). So what happened? I JUST made a small adjustment to a shadow around the nose. You know, the face that I've already drawn TWICE. Well, that did it! IF you darken something, the thing next to it gets lighter....and, in this case, that meant trouble. BIGtime. Sooooo...., I re-erased the entire bottom of the face, redrew it and then re-erased the nose again. In between there was a LOT of cussing and anger. Too bad you don't get an undo button in life <argh>. This is SO frustrating. NOTE TO SELF: never use a very small, low resolution image again ...especially not in such a large context (comparatively speaking). I am a high resolution artist. I need detail and this is just terrible. Oh well. I have put 7 months into this work of art so far and I am NOT giving up (or at least that's what Gary says <lol>). I'm not. There's too much cool potential here. I just hope I don't goof it up like last time. UUUUGHGHGHGHGHGHG!!!@#**!!!

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  • (Aug. 02, 2008) Posted Sept. 12, 2013.

    Lost (and just found) images ...of this work of art.


    While updating the website artist notes (aka the blog) for this drawing..., I found pictures that are dated and recorded...but there was no blog entry. I took the pict and ...then....? I don't know what happened. Probably SomeThing. LOL. So here you go, years. later.... this is where the artwork was at, one day in early August (2008).

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  • (Aug. 11, 2008) Posted: Mar. 16, 2014.

    More of The Lost....and a little symbolism.


    Ok. Peeking at the art blog pictures and trying like hell to jog my memory back six years...argh. .I'm pretty sure this is where I freaked out about the second kid (in the middle)'s nose. Definitely. AND, I started drawing the butterfly wings.

    Artist's note: I started a symbol dictionary a few years back and had to put it on hold. Tooooo much work. Hopefully I will eventually find a spare moment or two to start building it back up. BUT... that being said, there actually IS an entry for butterflies >> click here if you are curious about the symbolic meaning of butterflies.

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  • Posted Sept. 01, 2008.

    Stranded in noseville....


    Irony is a beautiful thing. I kept drawing and re-drawing the faces, while fixated on a nose. The ironic thing? It was the wrong nose <lol>. I'm not saying the original fixation is completely fixed (so to speak <roflmao>). It kinda reminds me of the dodo's nose, from Alice In Wonderland, and I wonder if that's a hint from my subconscious. If yes, then I'm okay with that <g>. BUT..., while stranded in noseville, I discovered the main figure's proboscis was waaaay wrong. Now THAT one is better and I've decided to move on :)

    I am really enjoying working on this drawing. Getting my art back has been such an experience and in the most unexpected ways <g>. My ART is not really all the way back (my chops still need fine tuning) ...but in a way, I am getting closer to the point where I started wandering away ...and am, simultaneously, way past that point and in a completely different place. Whatever. However. It's all good, and I am having a LOT Of fun watching this new artwork come to life. This one has really been a step forward for me as an artist. It is taking FOREVER, but I am okay with that too :)

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  • Posted Sept. 21, 2008.

    An ongoing battle with time.


    YES! This new work of art is progressing VERY SLOWLY. ...but you should see ALL of the things that I am NOT doing in order to find the time to draw (I suck at time management and it is an ongoing battle <lol>). Too funny. If you're really interested, I'll give you a hint: it's all in the lower left hand portion of the drawing <g>. You know, I am having a wonderful time with this drawing but I can tell it's time to start wrapping it up as I am beginning to get curious as to what my subconscious has in store for a follow-up :) It's possible a painting will be underway this winter. I'm not sure. Oh well, stay tuned as I still have a long way to go to get THIS drawing completed :) :) :)

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  • (Sept. 29, 2008) Posted: Mar. 16, 2014.

    MORE Lost images.... What the hell?


    For whatever reason, there are no artist blog notes for this piece either. I was SO irresponsible baby. Jeez. I can SEE that I was STILL working the butterfly wings...

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  • (Oct. 05, 2008) Posted: Mar. 16, 2014.

    I have NO clue what's going on with these lost images.


    I normally work the drawing left to right to keep smudging at a minimum. It's a VERY constrained and not as much fun way to draw.... I'd rather go willy nilly and work spontaneously.'s one of those things that my art teacher INSTILLED in my BEing.... and I haven't gotten irritated enough to do otherwise. LOL. Too friggin' responsible baby. That's what I am.

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  • (Oct. 12, 2008) Posted Jan. 04, 2009.

    The mystery is solved. I know WHERE the words went...


    Time got SO SHORT that I stopped posting blogs. My apologies. Sheesh. It is so hard to find time to draw that catching up MY website is absolutely last on the list. Anyway. From here on up (to the end) is catch-up (no mustard or pickles please <lol>). I'll try to jog my memory for details.

    Sometimes it may look like there is not much progress but these are very small .jpgs and don't really give the whole picture (so to speak <g>). Almost every square inch of this drawing has 4 to 7 layers of graphite. Occasionally there are more layers to the artwork. It really just depends.

    Almost a month went by between the artwork photo below and this one. Not good. The heart got started, the wings gained ground and I FINALLY started working on Venus. The dirt falling from the broken path was finally tackled too.

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  • (Oct. 20, 2008) Posted Jan. 04, 2009.

    THICK layers of graphite to make the white GLOW.


    I want Venus to almost glow. Don't know if I'm going to be able to do that but I know that I want glowing to occur <roflmao>. That's partly why the graphite is layered SO deeply. I don't want too much white paper showing through. I've debated on going back and adding a thin shade of lightly penciled greyness to the white spots in the wings but I remember trying it once (at the beginning) and not really caring for the effect. So far the plan is that the Venus de Milo, and the wing spots, provide the only places where pure white paper can be seen in the entire drawing. And even at that, Venus de Milo has a LOT of dark detail that still needs to be drawn. Hmmmm.

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  • (Nov. 01, 2008) Posted Jan. 04, 2009.

    What is important, ...really?


    Halloween happened and I let it get in the way of drawing. I will NEVER learn. Ever. Ugh. And >> It was a BLAST, I must admit. I had to take time off the put together props, etc. for our costumes but it was DEFinitely worth the effort <g>. Oh well. There is just NOT enough time in the day. All I am asking for is a couple more hours per day. Surely we could expand the orbit of the ENTIRE planet, adjust the whole solar system just a tad....just so I can have a few more hours in the day. Right? Ha. Too funny. Gotta focus baby. Focus. WHAT is important, ...really? Arghhh. Anyway. When I FINALLY did get back to the artwork Venus de Milo was the priority. Her wings are pretty much done and a HUGE chunk of legwork accomplished (pun intended).

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  • (Nov. 10, 2008) Posted Jan. 04, 2009.

    From the Venus de Milo to the Venus of Willendorf....


    I went back and finessed the details behind Venus de Milo's wings (darkening up bits, etc.) and drawing more of the body. A few shadows needed to be put into perspective, etc. It is SO EASY to get microscopic on your detail when drawing that you loose track of where/how it darkens in proportion to the OTHER bits and pieces because you're too focused on that small square inch of drawing space <argh>. I quote my old high school art teacher a few times (here and there) ...but that's because he taught good technique <g>. One of his other excellent sayings? Step back from the drawing/painting every couple of minutes so you can see the WHOLE picture from the PROPER viewing perspective. After all, it's only other artists who really get so close to a piece of art that their noses almost come in contact with the work <lol>. Everyone else is quite a ways BACK... so the up-close details don't have to be perfect it just has to LOOK perfect from a distance. I also worked on the much, much older goddess of love, the Venus of Willendorf, and the shadow that is she, on the back wall. PLUS, I've begun to dirty up the falling backing in the artwork.

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  • (Nov. 16, 2008) Posted Jan. 04, 2009.

    Making decisions about getting dirty....


    Time to start getting dirty <g>. Back wall falling kind of dirty that is <lol>. As a consequence, I had to start making decisions on the pine needles (whether they were going to be darker or lighter than the dirty back). I decided that darker would work best and be a LOT easier <sheesh>. Although easier is a tad misleading. I still had to redraw every single one of them while working out the details (so to speak). Now. Time to make that backdrop REAL. So grubby and dirty are the motif today. I am so excited that I am ALMOST DONE! This has taken waaaaay longer than I EVER intended. Crazy stuff man.

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  • (Dec. 14, 2008) Posted Jan. 04, 2009.

    In a rush and ...REFUSING to go there.


    UGH! UGH! UGH! I thought, "You're almost done. All you have left to draw are a couple of cards. No problemo." WRONG! When my friend Greg saw the cards to come (on the drawing), he mentioned cards with a whole lot of feeling in his voice. He's an artist too. I noticed how he said what he said but didn't quite understand. The words stuck in my mind nonetheless. Now I KNOW why. If your drawing is off, ...even by a hair, it becomes VERY noticeable. Words that work here? VERY unforgiving. Extremely demanding. Damnit. As Greg said, "People KNOW cards. They KNOW them." All I know is that this is going to take somewhere between 10 and 12 hours of solid work to finish. And I STILL haven't figured out what I am going to creatively handle the intersecting bricks. Should they become negatives (like the heart)? Should they be faint dark shadows showing through the cards? I don't know. I do know that I am NOT going to get this new work of art done before our annual artist retreat (and I was SO looking forwards to getting new artwork underway at that time). Ugh. ugh. ugh. One work of art in one year. That SUCKS. Oh well. I am NOT going to rush this and @#!% it up. ugh. Oh well. Change of plans. No new artwork for Christmas. I can do this. Deep breaths. LOL. Jeez.

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  • (Jan. 01, 2009) Posted Jan. 04, 2009.

    Going with the (artistic) flow... rather than where I WANTED to go.


    I did a LOT of erasing but finally finished drawing the playing cards. Yeah! The artist retreat worked well for this because it gave me the elbow room and TIME to tackle a very demanding problem. I was able to walk away when I needed to and come back without having WEEKS go by in the interim. That could have dragged on terribly because I was VERY tired of this working on just one piece of art ALL YEAR long ....and the part needed to finalize it was so demanding that it took me a whole day of the retreat just to work my way towards the studio and start getting everything in place. One huge art to artist pep talk was ongoing, albeit reluctantly <g>. BIGtime. And, yes, I made the winter migration back to The Studio (the converted, former garage <lol>). Can you believe that I've migrated between the two in just ONE DRAWING??? ugh. AND, I finally figured out where the glowing idea would come into play <lol>. Those darn bricks. You can't see it here (because the pict is too small) but the card drawing is still on top of the bricks ...just bleached out by the glow from behind. Too funny how the subconscious works. I was told there would be glowing (way in advance of the fact), just not where, when or how <lol>. I also added in a small homage to Salvador Dali at the bottom of the Venus de Milo's feet: a plethora of ants <g>. hehehehe. Too cool :) At the rate I am going (just finding time to draw means NO time leftover to research art galleries, etc.) ...and IF the local Art Center decides to at least continue their one show a year for members ....this will probably be the one entered in the annual September show. We'll see ...and I'll let you know :)

    Here's the link to the Official Gallery Page for a VERY completed surreal symbol drawing baby. Enjoy? Maybe? I don't know. Hopefully. LOL.

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