December 13, 2017

Takin' a Dip...

Here is a quick video to show you how we handle the "finishing" of the clay faces.  Years ago I went to a conference....and a professional clay artist gave us "permission" not to feel bad about not glazing in our elementary art rooms.  He said there are other options that are more time & cost effective.  The reality that when we do a clay project there will be over a hundred of that project makes glazing a bit daunting. This is just one way we finish our pieces in my art room.  The kids love it & it looks great.

December 12, 2017

Sewing with Elementary: Answering Some Questions

Hey friends!  There were a handful of questions that several people asked concerning sewing with elementary students.  Hopefully this quick video answers your questions! If not...please leave me a comment with your question/concern.  I'll try to respond ASAP!

Oh..and if you aren't following me on YouTube..check out my channel & subscribe. I'm going to try to be better about posting more content!! 

More Clay Faces...

I'm loving the clay faces my 3rd graders created.  I hope you all don't mind me posting more of them(and I probably will do yet another post of them in a couple days as we finish them all up!!).

For those who didn't see my earlier post.....
My students used construction paper crayons on bisque fired clay.  We then dipped them in a bath of water downed black tempera & black acrylic. I don't have a ratio...sorry.  I just used a test piece to make sure it wasn't too grey.  

December 11, 2017


I received my first box of Crayola Crayons today that did not contain Dandelion(It was a Christmas present from one of my students! SO SWEET!)  I have to admit though...I was extremely sad when I opened the box and no longer saw Dandelion in the mix.  The absence is really pretty glaring.  You see a variety of reds, oranges, blues, & green, but there is just one bright yellow looking back.  I'm not hating on the only remaining yellow, but it does not have the depth & versatility that Dandelion possessed.  I'm not hating on Bluetiful.  It is a fine blue, though be it a bit redundant in the box of 24.  We already have blues, and Bluetiful does not have a huge distinction from some of the others included.  It is a bit darker than the others, but with 5 blues in a box of 24...we could have done without.  Why could they have not gotten rid of green-yellow (the extremely bright color that colors more like the bright yellow than any type of green).  Crayola, I love your truly are the only brand for me, my own children, and my students.  However, this was a terrible mistake on your part.  There is no shame in changing your mind!  You can bring back Dandelion.
The whole art education community would thank you!!


December 10, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I know that many art(s) teachers do not have the luxury of switching schools easily.  Many are in areas where jobs are few and far between.  With spouse, family, or other commitments...moving to a location where jobs are plentiful is just not a viable option.  However, even in a district with many positions...the question of staying or going is not one to be taken lightly.  I've been faced with the decision to stay or go many times over the years.  I do believe it is good to contemplate such things.  It allows you to reflect and gain a greater appreciation for what you have, or allows you to see clearer what would be best for you and your career goals. One of the time I was faced with this question, I was teaching at a school that was 4th worst in our district & 10th worst in the state academically.  There were a number of factors that went into this distinction.  I knew that I was making a difference at this school. I saw it in my relationships with students, parents, and teachers.  I also knew that I was stressed beyond anything I'd ever experienced.  I wrestled with the incredible need I saw at the school...knowing I could make a difference, and the stress that was beginning to break me down and lead me to burn out.  Though I knew the impact I was having, I could not risk burning out so early in my career.  I wanted to be in art education for the long haul.  I also realized that my staying in a position that was not the right "fit" for me was keeping someone else from the position that could have been wired/gifted for such a challenge. There are numerous reasons we contemplate leaving a position.  We must search our hearts, reason with our minds, and trust that we will make the choice that is best for all involved.

When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, "I will come back if it is God's will." Then he set sail from Ephesus.
Acts 18: 20-21

 I love the book of Acts.  I have no idea the number of times I've read & reread it.  I've used or been a part of numerous bible studies on Acts.  However, last week I noticed something that had managed to slip by me or maybe did not seem to have a great amount of significance previously.  "When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined."  WHAT?  Paul just turned down the Ephesians when they asked him to stay.  He was faced with the choice of should I stay or should I go....and we left! Paul was a man on a mission(literally!).  He knew he had to move on to his next stop to bring the Good News to more people.  He also knew that God had raised up leaders in Ephesus that would continue on in the sharing of God's love & the building up those in the faith.  I have seen so many times where believers felt they could not leave a certain situation.  Maybe they felt responsible.  Maybe they felt they would be perceived poorly if they "abandoned" whatever it was in question. Perhaps they didn't feel they had a clear answer if they should stay or go.  Some might simply be afraid of change.  Whatever the reason....God does call us to move on at times.  We can not hold so tightly to something that it becomes our possession.  We must be willing to go & do what God has for us.  Sometimes He calls us to stay.  Sometimes He calls us to go.  How can you know?  Seek God out in His Word.  Seek God out through Prayer(AND DON'T FORGET TO LISTEN MORE THAN YOU TALK).  Seek God through brothers & sisters in the faith who you TRUST & KNOW are seeking God's will for their own life.  Allow the Holy Spirit to guide & direct you.  We often don't hear Him because we are too busy trying to tell Him what we think we should be doing!  STOP! PRAY! LISTEN! TRUST! ACT!  It isn't always easy, but it is the place where peace can be found. 

December 09, 2017

Winter Fun Projects: Not Finished Yet

We're not done, but I thought these were super fun and wanted to share! 
I'm having students create a winter picture of dinosaurs playing in the snow. We're talking about landscapes, details(such as winter clothing, and how to show things coming in and out of the picture.  They are just fun pictures that my kids  have enjoyed creating.  I do not do any "HOLIDAY" work in my coming up with different ideas for seasonal projects is key!  

December 08, 2017

Clay Faces: 3rd Grade

Last week of school before Christmas Break...and I'm trying to get things finished, graded, and back to students to take home! is as tiring as it sounds! ha ha  However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing these projects completed....always amazed by the talent of my kiddos!!

I had done an underwater unit with my students, and encouraged them to created a clay face inspired by what they had previously been working on.  Some did.  Some didn't. Some...I'm not sure?!?  No matter...they are awesome.  We used construction paper crayons and watered down black tempera/acrylic bath.


December 07, 2017

Finishing Up Ugly Dolls....

I really fell like this year has been the best "experience" with 4th grade creating ugly dolls/soft sculptures.  Their attitudes were great from the start...they were ready for the adventure.  Some struggled...but I really had no one give up!  That is success.  Here are a few snap shots of students putting the finishing touches on their work....and some finished pieces.


Once they are completely done with their creation...I have them write about their creature & their experience creating it.  I had some students ask..."CAN WE CREATE A BACKSTORY?"  


1) What is your ugly doll's name?
2) Tell me about your ugly doll(not just it's physical appearance..but its personality!)
3) What did you enjoy about this project?
4)What did you struggle with during the project?
5) What did you learn from this project?

December 06, 2017

Some great circle weavings...

I always feel like the second nine weeks goes way too fast!  With the holidays & time consuming(but fun) projects to complete....I just wish I could slow down time! 

Circle weaving truly is my favorite project of the year!!  The kids LOVE it!!  They are excited to get to art, come in early, try it out at home on their own!!! I feel circle weaving is that project over the past 21 years that has never gotten "old". 

Here are some links to circle weaving "how-to's" if you are wanting to see how I teach this lesson. Feel free to leave comments or email me if you have any further questions. 



December 03, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Supplied!

Art supplies are essential to a strong art education program.  I have had years where I had all that I needed & years where I had to be "extra" creative!  I know that a set monetary amount is not guaranteed for supplies.  Government, administrators, and leadership teams can cause funding to go up and down for numerous reasons from year to year.  Though I will fight for the money I need for the sake of my students...I will not throw up my hands in despair if I do not receive all that I need.  I know that foremost, my students need an art teacher who cares about them.  That is a supply that can not be bought or manufactured, and has the greatest impact.  It is amazing what you can do on a shoestring budget when there is a love and respect from both the teacher & the students! (But a good budget is a blessing!!!)

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.  Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
1 Timothy 6: 17-19

So many people place there hope & happiness in what they have monetarily, professionally, or personally.   Bad choices are made, outside forces impact them, or others' choices/situations play out negatively in their life in one or more of these areas.  The very thing that they placed their hope/happiness no longer can meet that need.  They throw up their hands in despair, spew hate, blame everyone & everything for what has gone wrong.  Our God has supplied all we need to experience hope & joy in all situations. (Joy can be experiences even in the darkest times...happiness is every changing & conditional.). We just need to trust in Him...the never changing...ever loving God.  When we trust in Him & experience these things...our heart will desire to love, help, and minister to others.  Even in our struggles, those of us that know God will see beyond our situation and desire to be a blessing to others.  This is not our reaction, but God's heart in us.  We are supplied with more than we could ever need when we know the love of the Lord.  

November 30, 2017

#turkeyaday17: Day 30

#turkeyaday17 is in the books!
Thank you to all who participated, commented, or viewed!
This is meant to be just a fun way to create real rules(other than to make a turkey).  Sometimes we need a bit of silliness in our life. 
Hope you will join in next year!!!


November 28, 2017

#turekyaday17: Day 28

So I took my bird from Day 26....that was so ugly it was cute and finished added too it a bit more! ha ha  This is another time that I'm cracking myself up.  Well, this little bird is ready for winter.

November 27, 2017

#turkeyaday17: Day 27

I've always enjoyed vine charcoal, but haven't had the guts to use it with my students!  I can only imagine the hands, faces, arms, clothing....AHHH!! ha ha  Someday I will!  

November 26, 2017

#turkeyaday17: Day 26

This so ugly he's cute turkey was created in China Marker.  I'm not sure what it is about China Marker, but I love the way it feels when I draw with it.  Anyone else have a supply like that??

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Safety

Art can be dangerous!  There are many products, tools, and procedures that require great attention to safety.  At the elementary level we are constantly reinforcing scissor safety & not putting small fingers into pencil sharpeners.  At the middle school & high school level, teachers are introducing hot glue guns, paints & products that could cause issues if ingested or contact with the eyes/skin, linoleum block printing, and other cutting tools that may be new to students to could pose a risk if handled improperly.  "Don't touch that, don't eat that, don't stick that there...etc"  ha ha  Honestly though, life is full of "things" that can be dangerous if we do not protect ourselves & consider safety first.  Knowing the danger, having a plan in place for protection, and always handling things with great care will minimize possible risk.  Safety requires a plan!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For your struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of the evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13

(The Armor of God scripture is found in Ephesians 6:10-18)

Every day we are faced with multiple situations that have "risk" our personal, mental, relational, professional, and spiritual life.  These risks take many forms, but there are ways we can prepare ourselves.  God's Word speaks of our need to be prepared.  The passage in Ephesians that discusses the Armor of God lays out what exactly we need to do to be ready for battle against those things that come our way.  

Helmet of Salvation
Breastplate of Righteousness
Belt of Truth
Shield of Faith
Sward of the Spirit
Feet Fitted with Peace

Many of us learned these in Sunday School as children.  However, we do not put into practice putting on the Armor of God daily.  When we do not have a plan for safety, we place ourselves at risk of being hurt/injured.  We open ourselves up to become less effective for the Kingdom of God!  Maybe we think we are "ok"...or not at risk, but that is exactly when "things" happen.  We can not be so confident/comfortable that we neglect what God has given us for our safety & His glory!  Where in your life do you need to put in place a "safety plan".  What piece of armor do you seem to be lacking in your day to day?  How can "safety" make you a more effective believer?  

November 25, 2017

#turkeyaday17: Day 25

Art materials come in all forms!! Kind of like seeing shapes/objects in the clouds.

November 24, 2017

#turkeyaday17: Day 24

My two favorite apps are Pic Collage & RePix.  I took a Sharpie drawing I did of turkeys in the grass...and dropped it into RePix.  I used the "Dotter" tool to create this look.  

November 23, 2017

#turkeyaday17: Day 23

Who doesn't love a good turkey hat!!  Unfortunately, this turkey has a bit too much stuffing in his big melon my turkey hat is a bit of a brain squeezer!! ha ha 

Happy Thanksgiving

Thankful to all who stumble upon, check in, follow, and communicate with me here & on all my Art With Mr. E social media!!!  You all are a blessing & why I continue to do what I do!!!