Author name: Steve Eichenberger

Artist in Lake Oswego, Oregon

The All-Seeing, Otherworldly Undulator

“The All-Seeing, Otherworldly Undulator”

24″ long x 14″ wide x 13″ tall, mixed media—I used about a dozen different materials to construct it.

The dismal state of this planet has driven my reverie out into the cosmos where time has always been and space never ends. You never know who you’ll run across out there, and I was glad to make the acquaintance of this benevolent lifeform, the All-Seeing Undulator. Sound far fetched? Statistically, the majority of you believe in some sort of mystical/magical/supernatural/otherworldly realm…inhabited by unseeable entities—goddesses/gods, angels, spirits, ghosts, whatever—who are just assumed to be capable of knowing everything, right down to the thoughts in your head right now. So yeah, it’s like that…undulators have been around for countless eons so they long ago evolved the ability to know everything without effort or sensory organs. It’s just what they do. Their antler-tentacles undulate gracefully in rhythm with the cosmos around them…in a state we would call absolute contentment.

Artist’s Opening Last Night

Always an honor to see my work on gallery walls! Great turnout for “Farewell to the Pig” show last night. (2019 was year of the pig) The show will be up through Feb 29, 2020; check it out if you can–Art at the Cave Gallery is a great venue in old town Vancouver, Washington. Details on their website:

Farewell to Year of the Pig!

I just finished this for an invitational group show at Art at the Cave Gallery, Feb 2020. Can you tell I’ve had a pent up desire to play with color?!? Hangs on wall, 27″ wide, 15″ deep, 13″ high. I’ll have several sculptures at this show–come check it out if you can–it’s a great venue in old town Vancouver, Washington.

BOPs! … “Beacons of Positivity”

14.5″ – 18″ tall x 4″ – 5″ in diameter

Introducing a new mixed media series, “Beacons of Positivity” or BOPs for short. I’ve been developing it over the past several months and as usual have enjoyed working on the behind the scenes *process* aspects every bit as much as how they’re turning out aesthetically. One reason I’m making them is to have freedom to play with more vibrant colors than I could get by with on the more representational sculptures I’ve been making for the Cosmic Zoo Series, for example. Finished BOPs look simple, but I utilize about ten different (non-toxic) materials in their construction, and spent countless hours developing “secret recipes” and quirky methods that help make making them fun for me as the maker.

They’re available in my Recent Work section, with the following description that tells a bit more about the “why”:

BOPs are a new series of “Beacons of Positivity,” handmade by mixed media artist Steve Eichenberger. They are fun, colorful, non-fragile decor items for your mantel, shrine, niche, ledge, windowsill, shelf or table—plus they do double duty as cosmic energy appliances!

Now, I tend to be a fact-based kind of guy…but experience has proven to me that we can access literally infinite potential energy from the cosmos around us—and I’ve conceived my BOPs to draw in, concentrate, and re-radiate that free, abundant positivity wherever they are placed.

I make them individually from scratch, so each one is unique; I couldn’t make two identical to save myself! They may appear fragile, but they’re not…from initial concept onward, I’ve constructed them with durability in mind, to withstand minor household oopsies…as well as the inevitable jousts, jostles & jolts of shipping. If needed, clean gently with damp cloth. Not intended for outdoor exposure (but it’s your choice if you’re okay with them weathering). Hollow but sturdy, with graduated walls that are thicker toward the base to optimize balance…nice heft overall: not too heavy, not too light (approx. 1.5 – 2 lbs). They feel good.

Decades ago when art became a major focus of my life, I had no idea how revelatory a tool it would turn out to be—a vehicle for unexpected insights, an illuminator of mysteries, an explorer of vast inner realms—life enhancements that can’t be adequately communicated with words. BOPs are one physical manifestation of such inner experience, and it’s my hope they will serve as a catalyst for others to realize and utilize the limitless positive energy surrounding us at all times…literally as much energy as we can imagine!

“Wizard of Spacetime”

Cosmic Zoo Series: “Wizard of Spacetime”

19″h x 14″w x 10″d

Handbuilt ceramic, hammer formed aluminum, 23K gold leaf, mixed media—archival, one of a kind. Easy wall mounting bracket included.

(Check Recent Work section for availability.)

Has to do with my musings about fellow extraterrestrials (perhaps even doppelgängers) throughout the infinite vastness of spacetime who similarly imagine me imagining them. What if one of them figured out how to burst in from another dimension for a chat?

New Mixed Media Pieces

Click on any photo below to enlarge it.

In my perpetual struggle to find time to do art I *want* to do, the past few months have represented a welcome positive turn! I’ve had great fun combining several different media to make things. The relatively recent addition of hammer formed aluminum to my bag of tricks has made it possible to do things that would have been too fragile (or else too thick/heavy) in ceramic. A craigslist ad for old growth fir lumber that was destined for a landfill spurred me to go rescue some of it and turn it into corbel pedestals for several wall pieces. I ran several experiments with marrying materials, and came up with methods for strong modeling and joins, with non-toxic components.

How to patina the unfinished sculptures was by far my most daunting challenge! But my insecurity led me to research color (yet again) and commit more brain effort to grasping the Munsell system for quantifying color—it’s sticking this time and has really helped demystify color for me! I still have a hard time *visualizing* color in my mind, but once I’ve determined what color I want, I feel much more confident I can mix it.

I think using Instagram (I started an account a little over a year ago) may be helping my brain with visualization…flashing thousands of images briefly as I scroll through the daily feed seems to be fostering some new neural capabilities. Fingers crossed, as it’s been a frustrating shortcoming as an artist to have difficulty visualizing color! Fortunately, I can quite easily visualize *how* to make things…and I’m grateful for that and enjoy the process of making very much.

Art at the Cave Show, Feb 1st – 22nd

If you haven’t yet discovered it, you’ll love Art at the Cave Gallery—a beautiful independent gallery in downtown Vancouver, Washington.

I hope you can come see several of my new mixed media sculptures in their February invitational group show titled “Aqueous” — with Artists’ reception Friday, February 1st, 6-9 p.m. — continuing till February 22nd

Gallery hours are 10 to 4, Tuesday through Saturday

108 E Evergreen Blvd
Vancouver, WA 98660


Photo credit: The Columbian newspaper, 2017. The little room in the center houses multi-media exhibits.

DaVinci Resolve Beginner video


After shooting all the still photos for my newest egg sculpture, I goofed around with shooting some video using my old MotoX phone. All the footage came out way too dark, and with jumpy random frames (I guess from autofocus trying to do its thing). I didn’t think it was salvageable. But by using a powerful video editing application called DaVinci Resolve I was able to improve the lighting & contrast, and remove individual jumpy frames, to the point that I was able to use the footage to make the above video. It also allowed me to compress the music duration from 66 seconds to just under 60 seconds (for Instagram’s one minute limit) without changing the pitch.

Yes my little video is far from perfect, but I enjoyed the process, and am reasonably happy with the way it turned out—considering my lack of experience and equipment!

I appreciate that the makers of DaVinci Resolve, Blackmagic Design, offer a free version of it online that does everything 99.9% of us would ever conceivably need to do…in their words: “Revolutionary tools for editing, visual effects, motion graphics, color correction and audio post production, all in a single application!”

I also appreciate the YouTube music library where musicians post music for others to use for video soundtracks. That’s where I discovered Kevin MacLeod’s short composition that was just what I was looking for:

Comfortable Mystery 3 – Film Noire by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (



I tried to coordinate the video editing with the phrasing of the music where possible.

It helped to watch some DaVinci Resolve tutorials on YouTube and/or query Google to find answers to specific questions along the way. Hint: use .mp4 format for posting to Instagram! It’s different than the .mov format for YouTube.

From Across the Eons and Parsecs…


Ceramic and mixed media wall sculpture available for purchase here.

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Handbuilt, one-of-a-kind ceramic sculpture with riveted hammer-formed aluminum and various other mixed media.

24″h x 10″w x 9″ d

Easy/secure wall mount with included bracket…it’s not heavy.

This timeless personage is the most recent addition to my “Cosmic Zoo Series,” intended to celebrate the ubiquitous arising of intelligent civilizations throughout time and space—infinitely in all directions, and infinitely backward and forward in time.

I could write pages about it, but basically I have this zany idea that there’s been a perpetually running Cosmic Art Show since, well, forever, where extraterrestrial artists create art to enter into the show. No, I’ve never heard of this notion before, but if I thought it up, then countless others have thought/are thinking/will think of it too, wherever they are in spacetime. I’m honored to join them.
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This piece brings together many different media I’ve been developing for exactly this purpose…to have a “toolbox” of various light but strong, non-toxic, earth-friendly materials/methods that complement each other stylistically as well as structurally…and that are fun to work with!

I can’t put every last bit of motivation for this piece into words…the infinite power of imagination…the uniformity of ideas across space and time…my own personal identification with the phenomenon of self-aware-intelligence rather than with the biology or AI that happens to host it…well-wishing across the eons and parsecs to all other artists participating in this show…hope for each others’ civilizations to survive and thrive in peace, upon a foundation of gratitude for the privilege of existence, and embracing the mystery that any of us are here at all!1350h 1080w 2

New Egg




Dimensions: 8″ tall x 5-1/2″ diameter.

One of a kind, self-balancing egg sculpture made from hand-hammered aluminum with baked-on patina, fastened securely to an internal substructure with ~300 rivets. It’s alive! It can keep its balance due to “shake weights” I put inside…by shaking it gently to adjust the internal weights, you can get it to stand upright by itself on any flat surface, as seen in the photos. The internal weights also help it to stay put so it won’t roll around, and add to its character because of the sound made by the shaking. It would make a great rhythm instrument for a marimba band or similar 😉
This is one of the most challenging art objects I’ve ever made! First I made a full size version in wood, to which I carefully shape each aluminum section to fit the contours of the wooden form (aka buck). Each egg I make is definitely a one of a kind, because I cut the dozen or so sections freehand with no pattern—never the same twice. Ditto for the patina — hand applied and manipulated. I use hardened steel alphabet punches to hand stamp letters into the corners of each section, to help me put all the pieces back together again after the hot patina and burnishing stages…plus they look cool.
Crafted with care to last for many generations — I use heavy gauge (.040) aircraft grade aluminum for the shell.

This egg may not be sentient, but it still seems very much alive — in its motions, in its ability to hold a pose, and the sounds it makes when shaken.

I think it’s pretty safe to say you’ll never find anything else like it! Jewelry for the home. Or take it with you when you rocket to your new home on Mars.


Review: Clip Studio Paint Pro / Manga Studio vs. Artrage 5 vs. Sketchbook Pro

For 2018 I resolved to draw every day. I’ve missed some days, but am definitely drawing a lot more, and enjoying the process. This sketch is a step along that path, a step that may represent a fork in the path actually, toward digital media rather than pencil on paper:

Steve Eichenberger, artist

(Would you have known it was drawn using a stylus instead of on paper if I hadn’t said anything?)

It’s frankensteined together from three separate sketches: one for each eye, and one for nose/mouth:

180325 face play annotated

I found it more relaxing — more right brain less left brain — to do it that way. I didn’t set out with the intention of compositing them together…or any intention, really, I was just trying to figure out how to use new software (Clip Studio Paint, aka Manga Studio, Mac desktop version, using Intuous4 PTK-440 Wacom tablet), settle on what resolution to use, try out the various pencil tools, and so on. It was fun! I feel a little sad that I enjoyed it more than conventional pencil on paper, but I’m also excited by the fresh possibilities of going digital.

What I liked:
— natural/realistic look and feel of the various pencil tools
— ability to undo
— ability to place various parts on different layers
— darken/lighten individual strokes, a section, or entire drawing easily (using vector layers)
— clean erasing
— ability to zoom in for detailing
— can work large without smudging from hand on paper
— ability to reposition/resize without erasing then re-drawing (one of the things that was off-putting when I used to paint portraits; if a perfectly good eye was a smidge out of place, there was no choice but to paint it out and re-do it!)
— more relaxing since everything I did was an “experiment” which wouldn’t mess up what I’d done so far if I decided I didn’t like it
— can handle high resolution drawing/painting for gallery quality prints up to 17 x 22 (biggest we can print ourselves)
— can rotate the drawing this way and that (for easier cross-hatching, for example)
— no scanning or photography required; lossless full resolution, ready to print

I also downloaded and tested ArtRage 5 and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, but ultimately chose Clip Studio Paint for its depth of features…such as finer control of taper on both ends of strokes, and amazing vector capabilities, without it looking like vector work:

180327 100 percent nose

Most importantly, Clip Studio can keep up with rapid sketching at high resolution without lagging. Lagginess was a deal breaker for me on both ArtRage and Sketchbook — I did testing with all three on a 3300 x 4200 pixel canvas size (11″ x 14″ at 300 dpi resolution). Overall, Clip Studio just feels more professional to me…the other two seem stripped down by comparison. I may change my mind, or discover something better, but for now I’m just happy 😉

Addendum: I just watched, and recommend, this excellent review/tutorial on Clip Studio Paint (aka Manga Studio) by an artist who has been working digitally for 20 years:


Working at the “Speed of Life”

I use a to-do list (Google Keep) where you can drag list items up or down the list in order of priority. When I scan down the list, I often see something (i.e., “update blog”) that I really need/want to do, so I drag it up to the top. But then I continue to drag other items (get groceries to eat, do taxes, fulfill crow/raven orders) above it until it is so far down it looks impossible to ever get to it. Right now as I type this, it’s first thing on a Sunday morning and I’m purposely not looking to see where “update blog” falls on my to-do list while I try to steal enough time to jot these quick notes! (An analogy of trying to stack a couple dozen croquet balls onto a dinner plate springs to mind when thinking  of prioritizing my to-do list…)

A LOT has been happening since my last entry…I’ve been crazy busy, but have gotten a lot done! (I’ve come to the conclusion that if I weren’t this busy, I’d probably just keep adding more things until I was!)

My last entry was in early November 2017. From then through mid January was frantic crow/raven production & sales…definitely a new record! The Real Mother Goose Gallery’s downtown location has for years topped my crow/raven sales chart, but they had to close that location (city closed the building for year-long repairs) and don’t plan to re-open it, so they had a huge sale — and it was a challenge to keep up with the demand for my crows/ravens…one last blast.

I also revamped this entire site,, with a new look, much more content, and upgraded my plan to include basic e-commerce capability (see “Available Work“).

A major reason I haven’t written here for awhile is because I finally took the plunge and opened an Instagram account in November. I begrudge the extra time it takes to post to it, especially since they do not allow you to post from a desktop computer, forcing me to dink with my phone (grr) to upload photos, type descriptions, and type in hashtags. Bleh. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve found it inspiring to follow other artists’ IG feeds…a virtually endless flow of curated (by me) artwork…more than I have time to look at. A DIY art magazine. It inspires me to up my game.

The sculpture in my last post is already finished and sold. I also sold a couple rockets, and a couple or three “Murder of Crows” 11-piece collections.

Time is yelling at me…so I’m going to just upload a bunch of photos and get back to the top to-do for today: casting crows/ravens. I’m trying to fill up my crow boxes (a “should”) so I can feel okay about taking time to “play” with drawing…digital and/or traditional…because a new venue, Boys Fort in downtown Portland, has racks of small posters/quotes/maps etc where I can place some 2D work if I want…a nice opportunity! Now to claw out some time to do so…


“Jasper” (sold)

32 b sq

Completed a bigger size rocket, 32″

Eichenberger rocket 6911

To show size of 32″ version compared to the two previous sizes

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Larger fuselage was a challenge, but I like challenges…chosen ones, anyway!

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Pencil sketch on scratch paper (result of resolution to “draw more” in 2018)

Steve Eichenberger 3 alskjdl

Finished wall sculpture from “Cosmic Zoo” series

Steve Eichenberger 180223c

Another finished wall sculpture from my “Cosmic Zoo” series…I could write several more paragraphs explaining the series (to do with time, space and infinity), but time’s up for today!


A second wall sculpture done today — WIP — wet clay stage. Got the other one hollowed out and drying.

Steve Eichenberger sculpture WIP

Steve Eichenberger sculpture WIP2

Admittedly kind of strange…no rational explanation for the shape of the face…it’s just what my hands roughed in without me thinking about it.


Ran across this quote today on the web: “Serov believed that the artist ought to be adept in every available medium because nature itself is infinitely diverse and inimitable, just as the artist’s mood and feelings differ from one day to another: today he wants to work in one way, tomorrow in another.” I like it! I identify with it. It’s not a trait conducive to creating a marketable “body of work” but it serves to keep my inner artist engaged. Just today I was reviewing past projects, in disparate media, and a part of me wishes I could incorporate ALL those media into my current repertoire. I guess there’s nothing stopping me from becoming a “mixed media artist” but I’d need to amalgamate them in such a way that the resulting body of work has a coherence about it…a signature look and feel.

Hammer formed metal is my most recent media addition, and I think it’s a keeper. I’m happy with its versatility, the patination process I’ve come up with, its look & feel, its permanence, and I enjoy the processes involved in forming it. Today I was wishing I could try yet another medium: gouache. Another one I’d like to add is mache; I wish I could find a suitable use for it in my work — where it would seem to “fit” the work, and not “cheapen” it… A major problem with 2D work, for my constitution anyway, is that it’s sedentary. Standing or sitting at an easel for hours on end is not good for me. I get to feeling “toxic” from the inactivity. Small scale clay sculpture (like I’m working on now) is pretty sedentary too…I stand in one place to sculpt them, then sit to hollow them out. At least with metal work I’m hammering, moving around the studio from anvil to buck to bench shear to vises and so on…the process of distressing the metal preparatory to patination is good exercise…overall it’s about right: not too taxing to the point of potential injury yet not too sedentary either.

I realize I could schedule constitutionals every hour or so during lengthy 2D sessions, but the paints would dry out, and I’d lose the “flow.”

Overarching all these “wishes” is the need to make a living from the way I spend my time!

So enough rambling for now…gotta go put ears on another proto-human head before the clay dries too much.

Back to Clay

Steve Eichenberger wall sculpture in progress

Jackie just decided to have a studio sale later this month, so I irrationally decided to try to make a sculpture or two in time for it. There’s virtually no chance of getting any ceramic sculpture done by then due to the necessary drying times and the pesky laws of physics…but I’ll ride the motivation wave anyway and see how far I get. This guy will hang on the wall, and he’ll have a funny pointy hat made from ………. riveted aluminum, of course!

He looks like he does because I have a thing about looking waaaaay back into our collective past(s?) to when we were proto-humans…with occasional blips of intelligence and understanding rising briefly above the baseline of animalistic inner and outer experience — as our knuckle dragging forebears gradually evolved brains capable of self awareness, reasoning, complex language, the arts, and a voracious curiosity to make sense of their surroundings…and of their very existence. With them began the mystery of how I know I’m “me” and you know you’re “you.” It’s that mystery that each and every human animal, all around the world, shares in common. And that commonality is so much greater than any “differences” we think we have! “The ghost in the machine” is the most amazing phenomenon in the known universe. I’m grateful for the privilege of experiencing it firsthand! I wish we could all focus on *that* for our eyeblink lives…

Rocket WIP

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I just finished the fuselage section for an approximately 34″ final sized rocket (photo shows size relative to 25″ version). I developed a darker patina for this one. Intervening projects and seasonal commitments will likely prevent me finishing the rest of this 34″ version for several weeks.

Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 11.28.42 AM


Steve Eichenberger aluminum egg sculpture


8″ x 5-1/2″

Egg sculpture made from hand-hammered aluminum with baked-on patina, ~300 rivets. It’s alive! It can keep its balance due to “shake weights” I put inside…by shaking it gently to adjust the internal weights, you can get it to stand upright by itself on any flat surface, as seen in the photos. The internal weights also help it to stay put so it won’t roll around.

This is one of the most challenging art objects I’ve ever made! First I made a full size version in wood, to which I carefully shaped each aluminum section to fit the contours of the wooden form (aka buck). Each one is unique, because I cut the sections freehand, with no pattern or plan. Ditto for the patina — hand applied and manipulated — never the same twice. I used hardened steel alphabet punches to hand stamp letters into the corners of each plate, to help me put all the pieces back together again after the hot patina and burnishing stages. Constructed with care to last for generations.

Steve Eichenberger aluminum egg sculpture

Steve Eichenberger aluminum egg sculpture

Steve Eichenberger aluminum egg sculpture

Steve Eichenberger aluminum egg sculpture

Steve Eichenberger aluminum egg sculpture


Steve Eichenberger rocket

I scaled up my prototype rocket design to this 25″ x 10″ version, and did multiple patina tests to come up with this scorched re-entry look…like it’s been to the asteroid belt and back a few times! Check my Etsy store for availability.

Steve Eichenberger rocket detail

Hammer-formed aluminum, all hand-built.

Steve Eichenberger rocket detail

Rocket Sculpture!

Space is BACK!!

rocket sculpture Steve Eichenberger
I made this hammer-formed aluminum rocket sculpture in exuberant response to Elon Musk’s recent announcement that SpaceX plans to send two wealthy tourists on a joyride around the moon! Wow! He is also seriously planning to put humans on Mars…not just to visit, but to live there. We are a space-faring civilization on the cusp of colonizing our solar system.

Size: 18.5″ tall x 7.5″ at its base

rocket Steve Eichenberger

$750 plus $50 shipping, available on Etsy

Lightweight, sturdy riveted construction, natural aluminum finish. Made from repurposed aluminum pans from estate sales.

Sci-fi, iconic retro, atomic age style…innocence, optimism, adventure, science, curiosity, audacity. Aiming for the perfect idealized nexus of form and function for a rocketship.

It’s my original design: beginning with a pencil sketch > scanned into computer > did some geometry for truncated cones to help figure out what shape & size to cut each section > hand-hammered each piece to stretch and form it into the compound curves needed > entirely hand-riveted.

rocket Steve Eichenberger aluminum

It’s been very gratifying to see my vision for the perfect rocket appear in metal before my eyes! It makes me happy when I look at it…recalls a long-dormant boyhood earnest eagerness to see the future unfold.

One of my Paintings on a Book Cover!

Out of the blue the other day I got get an email from a German publisher offering a respectable fee for rights to use one of my paintings on a book cover!

” Büchergilde Gutenberg asks for your permission to use the painting named above for the cover (hardcover) of the book club edition of Sapphia Azzeddine, “Mein Vater ist Putzfrau”Print run: 2,000 copies. Retail price: EUR 14.95. Publication date: 2nd quarter 2017 (April 2017).”

The title translates something like “My Father is a Cleaning Lady,” written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy whose dad cleans a library at night.

The concept draft they sent for the front/back/spine design:


I responded: “After reading about Buechergilde Gutenberg on your website, I would be truly honored for my artwork to adorn one of your special Buechergilde editions! Your historic book club sounds like a wonderful grass roots organization of people who value not just the words and chapters in a book, but also the aesthetics…the presentation…the sensory satisfaction of holding and reading a beautifully crafted book.” (They then requested and I granted permission to quote my response in their marketing.)

I painted the portrait as a class demo when I was teaching a portrait painting class a few years ago. It’s one of my faves from my portrait painting period, so I’m glad it will receive a wider audience.

All in all, this has been a wonderful, serendipitous surprise! I look forward to receiving a few copies of the final hardbound book around May 2017.

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