June 26, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: It's Kinetic

Kinetic art captures the attention & imagination of the viewer.  There is something about movement that aids in creating/telling a story that stagnant pieces miss. It gives life to inanimate objects. Kinetic art possesses possibilities that other work does not.  I love mobiles.  It is interesting how the environment interacts with the work to create & change the movement of the piece. They can then be viewed from so many different perspectives.  However, imagine a mobile laying on the ground.  I know...what's the point?  It isn't doing what it was created to do any longer.  A mobile not ...mobile"ing" is just a pile of stuff.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Philippians 3:12

As Christians we can not set still.  If we think we've "arrived"...we have missed the mark, and are missing out on a constantly growing & changing(not that He changes..but we do!) relationship with our Maker.  Becoming a Christian is not the end of the journey...but the beginning.  We move forward in our faith by reading God's Word, fellowship with other believers, prayer, putting our trust in God & his plans, and much much more!  It is active....not still/stagnant.  We must never rest on what was because that will get us no where.  As we take steps of faith...we won't always get it right.  However, if we continue to walk humbly with our God...if we keep moving toward him & his plans for us....if we never stop seeking him first.....those around us will see what a vibrant real relationship with God is all about.  It is not perfect.  We are not perfect. But a kinetic faith...moving, active, going forward kind of faith will speak so much louder than a "faith" that looks perfect but is lifeless/inert.

Dear Lord..
Thank you for actively being involved in our lives.
May we actively pursue knowing you.
May our lives look as if we are walking closely with our God.
In Christ Jesus, Amen

June 13, 2016

Last Chance....


              I have a few spots left!!!  The workshop is next week...so email ASAP!!
If you are planning on coming but haven't sent me your registration forms yet...email me!! I need to make sure I have enough "stuff"!!!  I'm so excited for our time together...we are going to have a blast!

June 12, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Portraits

When I started painting, I was very much into portraiture.  I enjoyed the challenge of trying to create an image that not only showed what a person looked like, but also emoted some of their personality.  There can be "issue" with portraits though.  You are telling someone else's story, and that story is the most meaningful to that person & those that know them. Others that see the portrait can appreciate the technical aspects of the work, theorize about the subject of the portrait, and draw connections between the image and their own knowledge base.  

However, when you are faced with the image of another person you do not know...there are natural limitations to your connecting with the art. "I don't know them. I don't know their story. I don't know their connection to the world. Were they nice? Were they funny?  Were they a good friend? Were they caring?"  I stopped creating portraits because I felt their was a disconnect between my work & the viewer.  I wanted to do things that conveyed meaning & connected to the deep parts.  

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down' you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.  You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.   Psalm 139: 1-6

Sometimes we feel like the forgotten subject of a self portrait.  We feel unknown, unloved, and alone.  Life has a way of beating us down at times, and these feeling can creep into our minds & emotions and leave us feeling forgotten. It happens!  Some people struggle with this more often than others, but I believe we all can say we've been their...if only for a short time.  Psalm 139 is a great reminder to all of us that we are known, loved, and never alone.  These are words we all need to hear....and some of us need to post around the house as a constant reminder of God's love!  God has a portrait of you...and he connects deeply with the person he sees in it!  He looks at you with the eyes of a father looking at his child.  Not only does he look at you lovingly...but he does that knowing exactly who you are, what you've done, your strengths, your weaknesses....ALL OF IT!  He knows you...he loves you....he is always there for you (even when you aren't "feeling" it!).  


Dear Lord, Thank you for loving us.
Thank you for knowing us.
Thank you for always being with us.
May we know it...believe it...and live it!
In Christ's Name, AMEN

June 11, 2016

Yeti Art?

I'm up in Ohio for my favorite aunt's funeral....and trying to find the art of the area.  While visiting the store where she was a cake decorator for many years...I found these beauties!!!!

Yeti Art?  Ha ha...I'm sure there is a reason/story behind why they have so many of them....and why they even exist, but for now I'll just have to wonder?!?!!?

....but I feel a lesson/unit plan coming!!!!!! ha ha ha

June 08, 2016

Zoo Art?

While at the Nashville Zoo today....I took notice of the "art" in the gift shop.  So many places have pressed/mold formed Tchotchkes that are pretty much dollar store left overs. I thought these were really great!  It is summer...so I'm looking for art every where I go! 

June 07, 2016

Short Term Summer Gig

I'm working today & tomorrow at the TN Department of Education!!  It's arty...never fear!!  I never thought I'd have the amazing opportunities I've been given over the years!  It is humbling to be trusted with such important work!  

June 05, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Emphasis

 Emphasis & Focal Point are two of my favorite design principles.  Emphasis has to do with bringing awareness to the content of a piece.  Focal Point is where you are high lighting a specific spot or place within a work of art.  There are many ways to achieve both principles, but the result is the same...something is elevated while something else is diminished. This allows the artist to have greater control over the meaning & impact of a piece of art on the viewer.  

 John 3:30

John the Baptist had quite the following!  It was never his goal to be the center of attention.  He was just living out the calling he had on his life...to point people back to God & to tell them about the coming Messiah.  There John stood..face to face with Jesus...the one he had been speaking about.  He turned "his" followers attention to the one who should have their attention & adoration.  He became less...and placed the emphasis from what would be....to what was, is, and ever shall be! 

I feel that our lives can point people to the Lord if we'd just have the right emphasis.  A person's motives & priorities can speak much louder than their actions & words.  In Luke 21 we see Jesus share that the poor widow's gift was more than the rich even though it was less.  It wasn't so much the amount, but the heart behind the amount given.  A humble heart that loves the Lord & serves Him with their WHOLE life will have a greater & deeper impact on this world.  Their emphasis is not on themselves (a real struggle in this present age), but on the One who gave them LIFE.  

Does your life display the right emphasis?  Does it let the "viewer" know what's most important, or is it muddled and confusing?  What can you do to so the emphasis is clear to others (and yourself)?  

Dear Lord, help me to reflect on my life & see the areas 
that need to be addressed.  Help me to have a life that emphasizes the things that are truly important to me, and reflect you in all I do & say.
In Christ's Name, AMEN 

June 01, 2016

Summer Lovin'!

                What is your favorite summer tradition? Strawberry patch for us! 

May 29, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Brushes

In my high school art classes, we used whatever old brushes were available in the coffee can by the sink.  Our teacher never explained to us that there were different types of brushes and that they served different purposes.  Some brushes just didn't seem to work properly as I tried to paint with them.  The thick plastic haired brushes were ineffective in applying watercolor paint to a surface because they could not retain the liquid pigment. The extremely soft haired brushes didn't want to move the thicker bodied paint around the canvases.  I learned through trial and error what brushes to use or not to use.  It wasn't until I was in college that I had a painting professor actually explain to me all the ins & outs of paint brushes. The different types of hair, cuts, sizes....this information made so much sense to me,  and this knowledge allowed my painting to go to a whole new level.  Each brush had a purpose.  Each brush had a job that it was best at doing.  I could use whatever brush I wanted, but it would not perform as it was intended.  

There are different kind of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kind of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kind of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Each of us has gifts & talents that serve a specific & wonderful purpose.  God wants to use these gifts and talents to glorify Him & serve others. 

There was a man who wanted to do whatever the pastor did at church because he respected him & wanted to be just like him.  The pastor helped lead the praise team at the church.  So this man joined the praise team.  However, this man was tone deaf.  He sang loud & wrong.  It threw the rest of the singers off.  They could not do what they were suppose to do because this man was doing a job that was not his to do.  This also meant that the gifts and talents he had been given were not being used appropriately, and the church was not functioning as it should in the area of his true gifting.  Once he realized where he could best serve....and do what he was designed to do....he felt a huge sense of relief and fulfillment.  

If I were to continue to use the soft haired brush to push & pull around the thicker bodied paint...the hairs would start coming out & the brush would look a hot mess!  When we function outside of our gifts & talents, we find ourselves feeling unfulfilled, stressed, and at times even angry.  We all have a purpose here on this earth.  We need to seek out what that is & do it to the best of our ability.  It doesn't matter how "big" or how "small" it is....everything works together to create this amazing work of art we call life!  

Dear Lord, help me to know my gifts & talents.
Help me to use them to serve others & glorify You.
There is nothing too big or too small that You have called us to do.  In everything may I trust you as I walk forward in faith.  
In Christ, Amen

May 28, 2016

First Day of Summer...

So Friday was our first official day of summer break(kids' last day was Wed & teachers' last day was Thurs).  I however have a bunch of things to do to get ready for my upcoming conference I'm hosting in my classroom....and my wife is trying to finish up homeschooling(yep..she kicked me out cause she said I'd distract the children?!?! WHAT...ME??? ha ha).  You might notice my bullitin boards are switching to blues!!!(they were green & grey last year)  Stay tuned for posts through out the summer!!!  Mr. E never rests!!!

May 25, 2016

Hand Made Gift for Our Retiring Principal

In the fall I led a PD session on writing in the art room....and had a clay making component.  My principal even participated.  Little did she know she was helping make her retirement present!! I had all the teachers make a coil for the vase using a copied circle(so they were the same size).  They also made two leaves each with words that described our school.  After the session was done I assembled the coils & added a vine wrapping around with many of the leaves dealing with her on it.  SHE CRIED.  We will miss her so much...she has been here for 13 years, and has been so good for our school & community!  

May 24, 2016

The End is a Blob

So yesterday was FUN DAY at our school! Special area's did not have classes...just had to help out around FUN DAY & Lunch Duty(I'd rather teach classes!).  Most of the day I was taking down the art show(finally...just so hard to take it down after all that work to put it up!! ha ha).  I've shared in the past...I use the wall tack you can purchase almost anywhere.  I'm not brand specific...but the one with the yellow duckie seems to be the best.  I place tape in each corner so the wall tack down not damage the art work(it has an oil in it to prevent drying up).  So it pops right off when you pull the art down.  I know some of this blog is over 10 yrs old!!!  I add a few new packs to it each year. 

For me...this has worked the best to hang my shows/displays.  This year I did not even have one piece come off the walls!!  What do you use??

May 23, 2016

Concerning the Art Teachers Facebook Conversation

Hey friends!  I was made aware of the Art Teachers Facebook Group conversation that my devotional posts seemed to have sparked.  I am not going to apologize for them.  I know I've lost some readers because of them.  However, I saw a need when I started them over a year ago....and still see that need.  They are not for everyone.  However, there are art teachers out there that read them, share them, and use them in their classrooms (I've had many Christian/Catholic school art teachers ask if they could use them to open lessons).  I see many things on the Art Teachers page that I'd never use or might call into question the relevance, but never would I say that teachers should not post what they do.  We are a diverse group, and posts will strike a cord with some people & not others.  That's ok!  I'm thankful that people can connect on that group & help each other through lessons, situations, or just a bad day.  I love that the group comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and faiths!  We all bring a flavor to the amazing Art Teachers melting pot!!  

I blog & post because I love to connect with other art teachers...and hope by sharing my journey I can help & encourage others.  

 I actually loved that the conversation was happening....just because someone doesn't agree with us doesn't mean their view point is not valid!

If you comment on that thread...please remember to be kind...loving...and understanding.  We all come with different experiences, challenges, thoughts, and beliefs.....and can learn so much if we just take time to listen to people where they are in the journey!! 

May 22, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Just A Moment

Hey there friends!  Sorry I did not have the devotional posted last week....I made an unexpected trip to Ohio with my mom & sister to see my fav. aunt (she has always claimed me as her's) who is in advanced liver failure (unfortunately..it is  inherited *hemochromatosis*...and I'm going to need to be tested sooner than later!)  Drove 9 hrs up there Sat...and 9 hrs back Sunday!? I'm thankful I was able to make the trip.  Just wanted to let you know I didn't forget about ya'll!!!

Just a moment, a second, a story, an experience, an emotion....art often captures only a well crafted, framed, directed point in time.  There is much we can gather from any given work of art, but for as much as we see...there is so much more we do not see.   An artist can manipulate an image to be what they want.  Even a photograph can be cropped to remove the context of a work, changing the meaning entirely. 

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.  Ephesians 4:25 (NASB)

So often we conceal/hide our true thoughts and feelings.  We worry about hurting someone, offending others, causing waves, or being the one person to not agree or go with the group.  We put forth an image of what we think others want instead of being true to ourselves and what we know is right.  God's Word reminds us to lay aside falsehood & be truthful!  Now I'm not saying that we should say EVERYTHING that is on our mind.  A filter is good to have! (ha ha)  However, we live in a world that often prizes neatly packaged people pleasing pleasantries.  What the world needs though...is honesty...TRUTH.  Sometimes honesty isn't easy...or pretty!  Yet, honesty is what allows us to grow....as an individual & as a community.

As brothers & sisters in Christ, we must be real with one another.  "How are you doing" & "Fine" for our interactions is not acceptable.  We must get beyond the surface, and seek out real relationships that encourage & challenge us to be honest followers of Christ.  This type of relationship does not allow us to accept the well crafted version of one another.  It requires us to truly know each other...which takes time, energy, love, grace, and forgiveness.

For those who are not believers....they too need us to be honest...REAL!  They have seen enough examples of people that say one thing but live completely different.  What if we were real?  What if we were honest?  What if we acknowledged that we don't have it all together?  Could that be what catches the attention of the person who doesn't know Christ?

We can craft our art to say exactly what we want it to say....but we need to live our life out loud!  We need to be real.  What is holding you back from a life that is honest & true

Dear Lord,
Help us to be real.  Help us to live a life that is based on Truth & Love.  Allow us grace for ourselves and others....that we don't feel we have to live any other way.  Let us love ourselves & others enough to accept truth with it is spoken to us.
In Christ's Name

May 21, 2016

Rizzi Collage: 3rd Grade

My students loved the work of James Rizzi! 
(Be careful about what images you select to share!!!)
We created our pictures in collage, but I know people that have done them as drawings, paint, and even clay!  It really can be a fun and versatile inspiration piece

I love the variety of their work.  

May 13, 2016


Just a reminder that my summer conference/workshop is going to be June 20-22 here in Nashville,TN!  If you'd like to attend...please contact me and I'll get you all the important information.  We're not full yet, but I want to make sure it doesn't get too large...because I want to spend time with everyone!  

May 10, 2016

1st & 2nd Grade Self Portraits

I don't usually have two grade levels doing the same thing at the same time.  Our curriculum isn't really set up that way...and I'd get bored!   However..with the end of the year upon us...I love to do projects that show the students(and myself) their growth!  I've been so excited by the amazing work my students are producing!




May 09, 2016

Multicultural Fair Banners Complete: K-4th

Our Multicultural Fair ended up being a HUGE success!! We had so much wonderful parent participation...our school cultures were well represented. I was amazed how many people brought samples of their food...it was a delicious trip around the world.  The banners I had my student created turned out great...and everyone seemed to really love them.  Very proud of my kiddos for the work they did on the banners...as well as many art projects they did extra in their classroom to hang in the halls!

May 08, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: WATER

Water is important in art.  It is a source of inspiration, makes the paint flow, cleans the brushes, cools the tools in glass & metal arts, helps the dye saturate the yarns & fabrics, and quenches the thirst of the artist. Without water, where would the artist be?  No Waterlilies from Monet, Cassatt's baby would not get its bath, and Venus's birth would have taken place in a desert.

But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  John 4:14

Water is a huge reoccurring theme in scripture!  Without water there would have been no need for an ark, Moses's basket would have sat there, the Israelites would have still crossed on dry land (but it wouldn't have been nearly as dramatic), John would have been forced to sprinkle (with what?) , Jesus would have...walked?!?  See...water is important!

In John we are reminded of our need.  We are offered a water that allows us to never thirst again, and will yield eternal life.  That is HUGE!  However, I think we do not realize just how much of a need we have for this water.  We have become pacified by the things of this world.  We quench our thirst on things that do not truly meet our needs.  It leaves us feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and searching.  Where in your life do you feel that you wrestle with such things?  What are you not allowing the Lord to quench?  Without THE WATER...your story is incomplete.  In verse 10 Jesus answered, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."  All you have to do is ask.


Dear Lord,
Please help us to see our need...to recognize our thirst...and to know from where to get our "water" from!  Lord, you are enough!  The things of this world do not fulfill.  Allow us to draw from your well alone.  May we offer a drink to all who we encounter...allowing them to know the living water that you provide.
In Christ's Name, AMEN.

May 06, 2016

Emotion Birds: Kindergarten

The 4th nine weeks has a lot of skill checking for kindergarten!  I don't want it to be repeats of projects though!!  I really love this lesson.  I start by talking to them about moods/emotions.  We discuss what colors would be good to represent which emotion.  I really is a fun discussion...and you can see how much they've grown by their thought process!  

After we make a chart of what colors go with which emotion....I reviewed spirals.  They then created a background of spirals using the colors of the emotion they chose to show. 

Next they selected paper out of the scrap box to create their bird. This is a new thing for my kindergarten students.  Usually with collage, I have paper pulled for them to use prior to class, but I wanted to make sure they'd be ready for 1st grade when they must select their own from the scrap box!  We reviewed the colors once again to make sure they would pick the right colors for their emotion(most of them did?!? ha ha).  I did a demo on how to create their birds, reviewed scissor safety, and reviewed proper glue use.  I was thrilled that the birds did each have their own little personality.