November 20, 2019

FYI: Medical Leave

For those of you who do not follow me on social media, I have not been at school since November 1st. No, the day after Halloween wasn't that rough on me! Haha I developed cellulitis in my right leg in a pretty bad way! I spent four days in the hospital on major antibiotics & was sent home with a midline in my arm in order to self administer antibiotics. I ended up developing a blood clot in my arm where the midline was(superficial vein..not dangerous) and had to have it moved to my other arm.  It has been an adventure!! They compare it to a burn victim, and if you saw my'd understand why! Each day I'm getting better. I've been blessed with an amazing home healthcare nurse who is taking care of my leg twice a week. She is 76...has purple hair...and helped develop one of the antibiotics I'm on..back in the 80's!  She is fascinating & fun!! I will hopefully have a better idea when I can return to school next week when we see the main doctor dealing with my case. I know they want me healed before I return to school because of the risk of other germs/infections. 

Ok...that is the update! 

November 17, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: The Order

I've been teaching a long time. Because of this, ordering the essentials for my students is fairly easy.  There are times that I over estimate or under estimate some items, but I usually can nail the supplies I use most often with students (drawing paper, construction paper, glue, etc). However, if I'm wanting to do a "special" or new project, I don't always know how much of a product to order.  When you are given a set budget & a set time frame in which you can order for the school can't usually "fix" your mistake.  You have to live with it, make it work, or wait till the following year when you can order more of the supply you are lacking.  This can be frustrating, but somehow art teachers are able to do a lot with less.  We are able to stretch budgets and supplies to provide for our students a meaningful art experience.

Have you ever felt like God was calling you to something that you weren't able or ready to do?  I remember seeing people take on leadership roles, go on mission trips, or do something seemingly extraordinary for God with such confidence and ease.  I admired them, but never felt that I could be them.  I just wanted to stay safe and comfortable in the back pew.  

"God, I'm good right here."  
"I come every Sunday."  
"I don't have the time."
"I don't have the skill/training."
"I couldn't make that kind of sacrifice."
"Someone else would do a much better job." 
 "I'm not the person you want or need."

God is not looking for our excuses.  God is not looking for our skill/talent. 

God is looking for our availability.  
God is looking for our obedience. 
 God is looking for our heart.  

If you look throughout scripture (..Moses, David, Peter, Paul...) you will see time and time again where God uses people that were not confident, were not skilled, who didn't seem well suited for the job, or who were not the world's first choice for anything.  However, God equips, guides, and grows those he calls.  They might not have been anyone else's first choice, but God knew their heart and knew they were the right choice.  God can use those who are available, obedient, and have a heart for him to do more than you can ever imagine.  It is not about what we can do with what we have, but what God can do through us when we allow him to be Lord of our life.   

November 09, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Interrupted

You have an amazing idea for a project, but you have to go into work before you can sketch out your idea. You start painting, but there is a knock at the door and it is someone who really needs you.  You are ready to purchase the top of the line paint and brushes you've been dreaming of for some time, but your car breaks down and you have to invest your money in getting that fixed.  The art opening you've been so excited about happens to be the same evening you got the stomach bug.  Life has a way of interrupting our plans...just when they're getting good!  

I've used the story of Naaman(read all of chapter 5 for the whole story) before because such a good mirror to reflect on our lives.  We are all so incredibly busy.  We live life too fast, too full, and too fragmented.  Our world around us has led us to believe that we must over extend ourselves to be good parents, over spend ourselves to be like everyone else, overcommit ourselves to be good people.   All of this "too much" & "over doing" it can truly lead us to wrong thinking of our importance & worth to the Lord.  Naaman allowed his position & power to keep him from originally doing what was asked of him.  Even his leprosy did not humble his heart enough for him to respond to Elisha  initially. He was being interrupted from the importance & position which he prized most of all.   Are we much different?  God will try to use the interruptions of our life to catch our attention, refocus us, bring us back to him, but we feel our schedules, reputations, and plans are more important.  Has God been trying to get your attention? What have you had interrupted that might be an area to give over to him? What interruption are you having that might be a redirection?  What interruption is just God asking you to slow down, spend some time with him, and to find some peace & rest? 

Sorry...did I interrupt you? 

November 07, 2019

Kindergarten Leaves

I read the book, Autumn's First Leaf to begin my class. It not only touches on fall themes, but emotions as well.we have done collage I reviewed safety with scissors, proper glue use, and size expectations. After students completed their work, they were responsible for cleaning up their areas and putting away their collage supplies. We then had a descussion about emotions. I had them make the face of the emotion they said & then tell me how they could draw it. I would demo of my document camera what they were saying. This gave the glue time to dry enough that they would be able to draw and color on their leaves.  I felt they turned out great. So expressive!

October 31, 2019


It's that time again...
The silliest art challenge out there! 

If you are new here or haven't seen this challenge... check out these hashtags on Instagram & Twitter to see what was created in the past: #turkeyaday16, #turkeyaday17, #turkeyaday18.  

I theme mine every year. I've done turkeys in different media, famous art with a turkey appearing in it in some form, and last year I did a  "paper doll".  I made a turkey, and then created outfits for him each day(I thought it was hysterical! Haha).  The possibilities are endless!! Even if no one else joins in...I'm still going to do it!  I'm kind of like Fozzie Bear that way...I make myself laugh! ha ha 

So if you want to do it....just make a turkey & post it on social media with #turkeyaday19 !  
No pressure...if you miss some big deal! 

October 29, 2019

TAEA: Jewelry Class

At the state conference for the Tennessee Art Education Association, we have the opportunity to take 1 or 2 day intensive classes in a given medium or technique.  Last year I took encostics.  It was wonderful to give it a try, but it really wasn't for me.  I do have a greater appreciation, and I really did enjoy trying it out!!  This year I took jewelry making.  I've never done anything like it before, and thought it would be great to try something new.  WOW!! SO MUCH RESPECT FOR JEWELRY MAKERS!!!!!!! It was so labor intensive.  I created a necklace for my wife.  I did not make the beads, but all the little eyelets & twists that connect all the beads together.

October 28, 2019

Representing Sargent Art at TAEA 2019!

This summer I was asked to represent Sargent Art at Tennessee Arts Academy.  I had so much fun & loved sharing the great products at Sargent Art with the teachers attending.  Well, they liked me enough to ask me to do it again at the Tennessee Art Education Association State Conference.  I am a major people person. I love being with art teachers.  I love great art products.  IT IS A WIN WIN WIN!!! ha ha  Here are some of the pictures from my adventures of representing Sargent at TAEA this past weekend!!

I had two tables this time!!
 It gave teachers a ton of space to test out supplies.

Friday night we had a reception for our conference & Sargent had two tables for teachers to try products, work collaboratively, and make things! 

I created two brains using Sculpt It!.  The teachers were allowed to use all the painting products & the marker products I had from Sargent to make them beautiful!  (Their glitter paint was one of the favorites!!)

(It was a western theme! ha ha)

We also used Sargent Lamination Glue to decoupage on the styrofoam head & canvases I brought along!  They then used acrylic paint, paint dabbers, and the paint sticks to add some more flair! 

it king

October 27, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: A Pattern

Growing up in the foothills of Appalachia, I was surrounded by gorgeous hand made quilts.  My mother, my aunts, my grandmother, the ladies at church, our neighbors...everyone quilted where I grew up.  Because of this, patterned fabric was everywhere.  I loved looking through the bags of fabric they used to keep around to make their quilt tops. Created with scraps from dresses, aprons, and other materials...there was a familiarity and a history to the fabric.  There was also something about all the patterns that brought about a sense of peace and comfort.  Knowing what to expect, knowing how things would turn out, and knowing what comes next brings a sense of peace in a crazy messed up world.   Wrapping up in one of those quilts had a way of making you feel loved, comforted, and valued.   

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 

If we are faithless, He remains faithful- for He cannot deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:13

There is a pattern to our faith.  God loves us.  God pursues us.   God makes a way for us to be in relationship with Him.  YESTERDAY, TODAY, and FOREVER! Whatever your past, whatever your struggles/stresses/stumbling block are today, or whatever might come in the future.  God is present.  You may not have seen Him in that moment, but He was there.  You may have not "felt" Him in your current situation, but He is holding you tight.  The future might seem unclear, but He is already there.  He is not only there, but he is there loving you.  Our God is consistent.  Our God is a constant that we can count on.  He is the soothing pattern in this crazy messed up world of ours.  Knowing what He has done through out history(His faithfulness can be seen throughout scripture), knowing what He has done through OUR history, knowing His promises, and knowing we can rest in that truth.   We can wrap ourselves in that knowledge...and find warmth, peace, love, and truth there.  

Are you experiencing peace?  
Do you feel the comfort that comes with knowing God?  
Do you trust his consistent love? 

October 20, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Make A Way

There have been so many times as an artist & art educator that I've had an amazing idea, but really didn't know how I was going to accomplish it.  Having the end result in mind allows me to begin breaking down the process to how I'm going to make it happen.  This isn't a seamless process. I run into "issues". Sometimes these issues are related to the materials I'm needing to use.  Other times the issues have to deal with my skill set.  As a life long learner, I'm not ashamed to say I don't know everything.  I actually enjoy coming up with ideas that are bigger/greater than my skills & abilities. It keeps me humble, allows me to learn new things, and allows me to call on people to come along side me to accomplish my crazy ideas (I have always believed we are better together!).  When you have a vision for what you want to MAKE A WAY for it!

Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.  Mark 2:3-4

We see the biblical account of the man who was paralyzed & his friends in three of the four gospels. This is one of those stories that I really want to know more.  How were these men connected to the man who was paralyzed?  Why was their determination so great to place their friend before Jesus?  Were they nervous about making a whole in the roof of someone's home?  Where they afraid they were going to drop their friend as they lowered him down to Jesus? I have so many questions!

What I do know is that they did have a clear vision of what they wanted to happen. GET THEIR FRIEND BEFORE JESUS. No matter what difficulties they faced ....they were able make a way to a accomplish their goal. 

I believe God placed it on their hearts to do this for their friend. I believe God still places things on our hearts.  He may want us to give.  He may want us to serve.  He may want us to speak words of encouragement to someone.  Do we always follow through with the things God places on our heart?  I think we often find excuses.  I think there are times we may start to, but when things become challenging or we face opposition of any kind....we back down.  We must have the passion and follow through like these men who brought their friend to matter what obstacles where before them. We must MAKE A WAY to accomplish the things God places on our heart. 

October 18, 2019

Painting Windows at SmART

This is my second year painting the windows at SmART(Scrap Made Art).  Imagine if a craft store & Goodwill had a baby! ha ha   I'll put the link in the post so you can learn more about this amazing organization. If you are in the Nashville area...swing by SmART (Near Opryland Hotel) and show them support while getting some interesting things for your art/craft making.  

October 17, 2019

Artober Nashville: Inspired by Cassidy Cole

This year Cassidy Cole is our focus artist for Artober Nashville!  She was at our inservice at the start of the school year, and I thought she & her work were just delightful.  I feel that the style & content she creates is very exciting for students to see/learn about.  Plus, it is wonderful for them to see a young female artist that is local!  

I'm using some ideas that Cassidy shares in her video to guide the art work.  I talk to the students about the differences between creating an object & being inspired by an object, expressive color, nonobjective art, and unusual art tools.  I provide the students with RED, BLUE, or YELLOW(Even if they aren't the TRUE primary colors), a paper towel, and a popsicle stick. Review color mixing, ways to use the popsicle stick to apply the paint, and how to clean it off between colors in order to not create a whole lot of brown.  Then I let them go!  They have LOVED IT!!!  I love the variety/individuality of the works.  SO MUCH FUN!  Next class time I'll allow them to use oil pastel to add some structural lines to finish the work.    (The art images are student work from Kindergarten & 3rd Grade)

October 13, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Temporary

I do not teach lessons dealing with holidays in my art room.  Some of you may be shocked, bothered, or confused by this.  However, I think you'll understand my reasons once I explain them.  First, some religions do not celebrate holidays and do not wish their children to participate in any projects that might focus on a holiday/celebration. I do not want any student to have to leave my room because of of the content or theme of my lesson.  Second, our schools are so diverse that picking and choosing which holidays to feature might come across as exclusionary.  If I tried to include everyone's holidays...I'd never be able to teach anything else.  Third (and I feel the most important reason to avoid "holiday art"), art that focuses on a holiday is planned obsolescence.  I love having my student create work that will last beyond a given day.  Do you really want to look at a picture of a jack-o-lantern in April or Santa in February?  Even seasonal art is enjoyable past the featured season.  I don't want my students' work to feel temporary.  I want them to create art that will be able to be enjoyed year round.  

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:18

It is so easy for us to focus (even obsess) on things in our life that are temporary.  Cars, clothing, movies, hobbies, and a host of other things can consume our lives.  I'm not saying that any of these  are "bad", but when we allow such things to monopolize our time, energy, and finances.we no longer have our eyes (and heart) on what is most important.  2 Corinthians 4:18 is calling us to place our attention on those things that are eternal.  For me, I must take time to come before God and lay down "all the things" in my life.  I don't want anything to become a distraction from what God has called me.  We must become aware and honest in order to keep ourselves in check.  I feel this is a life long pursuit.  The temporary can rise up and take our eyes off of God.  We want to go beyond the temporary and live a life that focuses on the eternal.

What is something temporary that distracts you from the eternal?
Finances, unmet expectations,  health, friends, your plans, car problems, home, or work?
Take a moment and ask the Lord to help you become more aware of the temporary things that distract you from living a life that is focused on knowing God & making him known.

October 08, 2019

Picasso at Monthaven Art Center


Do you ever feel like Picasso is looking at you with a bit of disdain? 
What did I ever do to him!?!?!

It is fall break in Metro Nashville Public Schools.  My friend Julie and I made our way up to Hendersonville,TN to Monthaven Art & Culture Center to see Picasso: Master in Clay.  Now I've lived in middle TN since 1997, but I've never been to or even heard of Monthaven until this exhibit came.  WHAT A DELIGHTFUL DISCOVERY!!! This will not be my last visit.  They do not charge to enter, but do take a donation.  For a $10 donation, you receive a book that has all the images and information from the show (BEYOND WORTH IT!!!).

I loved these plate faces!!!

The bird vessels were beautiful! 

Now I LOVED the Picasso clay pieces, but I think I enjoyed the paintings by Marcel Mouly even more!  You can see the influence of Picasso & Matisse in his work, but he brings something distinctly different to his paintings.... COLOR!!!!  His colors seem very unlike those of Picasso.  Take a look & let me know what you think!