October 16, 2017

The Best #ArtEd PLN: #K12ArtChat

In this digital world we live in...there is no reason to feel isolated & alone!  One of the greatest groups of art teachers out there can be found in the virtual world of #k12artchat.

The group is such an amazing resource!  It is VERY VERY active on Twitter with weekly chats (every Thursday!!) covering amazing topics that are important to all art educators.  They also have Facebook & a website you can connect with!!  I'm so thankful for the Grundlers(husband and wife team!) for all they do to keep us connected & current!  CHECK THEM OUT TODAY!!!

October 15, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Humble Materials

When I was working on my graduate degree, my focus was on creating visual texture in my watercolor  through different(and sometimes unusual) means.  I experimented with countless methods & materials.  I found one of my favorite things to use was plastic grocery bags.  They created interesting & unpredictable texture.  Once finished with a given piece...you could wash the plastic bag or just reuse it allowing the previous color to transfer on to the new work.  This humble material  can unfortunately find its way to a landfills, be used to dispose of animal waste, or be recycled (best option of the three).  In the hands of someone skilled, inspired, and willing to take a risk....a plastic bag can be as powerful a tool as the most expensive brush, masking fluid, or other tricks of the trade.  I often find myself looking at the "everyday" object & imagining its re-purposed potential.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things- and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written:  "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."  
1 Corinthians 1: 26-31

I am a people person.  I talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything!  I'm also a "student" of people, personalities, and perspective.  I find so many people that either think too lowly of themselves or too highly of themselves.  I won't get into the deeper meaning & reasons behind such things(that would be a very long post!), but do want to say that both result in a similar situation. People that are unable to be & do what they are meant to because there "stuff" gets in the way. We all come from a humbled state of sin.  We must recognize this, but not live in it.  That is a defeated life.  Right thinking starts with: realizing where we come from, who God is, what He has done for us, who we now are in Him.  This keeps us from living a defeated life & prevents us from thinking we're better than we are.  This place of "humble potential" allows us to be in a place to hear more clearly, step out in faith, trust in Him, and leave the results in His hands.  Our responsibility is to be available.  Are you?

October 10, 2017

Those Who Inspire

After many years of not having an art educator art show.....

It was a smashing success!! We are truly thankful for our new visual art coordinator for her amazing  hard work to coordinate, organize, and transport art  & our former visual & performing arts coordinator for the amazing spread of food!!!  I also want to thank Nashville State for allowing us to have our show in their gallery space...and all they did to organize & hang the show!  We are so blessed with people that care & believe in us as art educators.

 I hope you enjoy looking through the pictures.

...and if you didn't see my earlier post of my work for the show..

October 08, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: COMFORT

Most adults know the American artist Bob Ross that was featured on the PBS show THE JOY OF PAINTING.  Even if they were not avid watchers of his program, they could probably tell you that he had a big afro, a soft voice, and that he liked to make "happy little trees".  Many people who've never picked up a paint brush will admit to watching Ross because there was something about his program that captivated them.  Though his show went off the air in 1994 & he passed away a year later...Bob Ross is very much a part of popular culture today.  Not only has Netflix released Bob Ross: Beauty is Everywhere, but there are now bobble heads, t-shirts, and a board game featuring Ross. What was it about Ross that garnered such a place/relevance in our culture?  I see that he met a need.  People long for peace & comfort in a world full of noise, stress, and chaos. For a few minutes while getting lost in the world of Bob Ross, people feel a sense of calm from his voice, order from the process he demonstrated in painting, and that mistakes are only opportunities for new direction.  There is comfort...if only for a moment.

 I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.  Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.  My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.  The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.  I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
Psalm 119: 48-52

Many struggle with what is going on in our world today.  There is so much pain, conflicts, confusion, distractions, destruction, and hopelessness.  Globally, nationally, locally, and personally people are feeling as if things are crumbling around them.  They grasp at things that will provide only momentary comfort. God offers us comfort that is eternal.  It does not come when our lives are free from all the pain & "junk"...but as the Psalmist writes "My comfort IN my suffering..."  Our hope is not that the world will get it's act together, but in God alone!!  When we truly comprehend this truth...we will experience His comfort in the good times & in the bad times.  Even if the world or just our world feels like it is crumbling around us....we can experience comfort...we can experience peace.  His Word provides us with the truth we need to make it through each & every situation we face.  We can bring our pain, conflicts, confusion, distractions, destruction, and hopelessness to God.  He will not be shocked by what we are going through.  He will not shake His head at what you are going through.  He will stand there with outstretched arms waiting for you to fall into His embrace.  He is waiting to comfort you.  Come.

October 06, 2017

Collaborative Fall Bulletin Board(The Pieces)

It is that weird time of year where we are finishing a nine weeks & fall break is about to start.  However, I have a day that is out of sink with this schedule.  Sometimes it is two or three days(around Christmas)....so I almost always have my out of sink day(s) help me create the large bulletin board at the front of the school.  
Kindergarten created these full page (12x18) leaf paintings for the background of the bulletin board.  They loved working with tempera, but some where rather colorful by the end of class(the artwork & THE STUDENTS!! ha ha

I don't feel I captured the beauty of these leaves my 4th graders painted.  We reviewed color mixing & blending colors.  The picture just don't do them justice...they are very pretty up close!! (tempera)

My other students created pattern leaves using marker.  
Some are super fun & whimsical.  

Stay tuned to see what the finished board looks like(after break). 

October 04, 2017

Multicultural Fair Project

Last night was our Annual Multicultural Fair!  
  I have a video & some pictures sharing my part in this fun & successful school event!
After watching the video & looking through the pictures & descriptions...please feel free to contact me if you have questions about doing a project like this at a special event! I'm always happy to help!

I precut mask shapes out of cardstock paper that had been donated. The only thing it cost was some time.  I also filled up bowls with some crayons, markers, and a few odds & ends that had been donated.  I was trying to keep this from coming out of my supplies I use for the students.

I drew a couple large mask shapes for people to dot when they were waiting to be seated or after they finished their own mask.  The dotters were sent to me to test & the paper was given to me buy a local business....so once again...not coming out of student supplies/art budget.

Dotting Away!! 

Some finished fabulous masks!

Even some parents got into it!!! ha ha  

Here are the finished large masks!!  (now hanging in the hallway!

October 02, 2017

Non-Objective Art: 2nd Grade

My students really enjoyed looking at and discussing non-objective art.  I was kind of surprised by their thoughts on why non-objective art is created, meaning it holds, and why the did/didn't like it.  

Here are the images my students created!  We focused on geometric shapes & discussed value, color blending, and contrast.  I gave them different objects they could use to arrange and  trace.  I'll revisit non-objective art later in the year, and I'll be excited to see what they create with this foundation!! 

October 01, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: ENCOURAGE

It is amazing how much encouragement can change your perspective.  Artists often become self-critical, and because many work in isolation can begin to believe that inner dialog of negativity.   We are so often our worst enemies.  Though the artist must have an honest & critical eye, be able to self reflect, and edit their work....negativity rarely yields the positive results needed for an artist to build momentum in their creative pursuits. Internalized negativity stunts one's ability to progress fluidly. Self doubt, frustration, and dissatisfaction are stumbling blocks.  The stereotypical self deprecating, angsty artist is not the picture of health & productivity.  As with all things, the artist needs to have individuals in their life that are honest, yet positive voices of reason. No one needs people blowing smoke or giving platitudes, but a person who can give honest feedback & encourages the positive in our work is a treasure.  They help us to see the good, and prevent us from going down destructive paths.  We all need encouragement as we step out, try new things, and desire to better ourselves.  

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Our world has become obsessed with negativity. Spewing hate, hurling insults, and devisiveness   create a toxic environment where no one wins. People feel more disconnected, dissatisfied, and disenchanted. Growth & progress are hard to come by in such a place.  Love, kindness, connection, and encouragement are needed so desperately.  As believers, we must live differently. We have been called to be & do not as the "world".  We need to look at situations & individuals through the eyes of Christ. Our response should be one of love & compassion. How would things change around you if you made the choice to encourage someone, make mention of the good you see them doing, take a moment to listen to them(without offering your opinion), or ask if they need help with anything(All the while refusing to participate in fruitless negative talk!).  Could your encouragement show others the love of Christ during these dark times? Could your attitudes and actions help to turn someone's day around?  Could your refusal to participate in the negative help someone else get out of that vicious & distructive cycle? What has God called you to do? How is He going to use you to encourage others? 

September 27, 2017

Neglected Talent...

I dare say most of us neglect our inner artist.  We are so busy creating lesson plans, teaching children, other professional responsibilities, family..etc.  It is extremely easy to become so busy with "life"...we don't make the time to creating! I've posted about this "issue" before.  I've taken part in online challenge to help keep me actively creating my own work, and I've created a couple challenges to inspire myself & others to create(check out my Twitter @ArtWithMrE for the Nov. Turkey A Day Challenge & Feb. A Heart A Day Challenge).  So far this school year I've had two opportunities arise that "forced" me to create...AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!  I'll share more about the opportunity through my alma mater in the next week...after I've attended the opening! 

The image you see here I just completed this week for our upcoming Art Teacher Art Show!  After many years of not having one....IT'S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm so excited to see all the work created by the amazingly talented art teachers of Nashville.   I went back to the style I was working in during grad school where I connect to my Appalachian roots of quilt making(my mom, aunts, grandma) & stained glass(church)....and combined it with my love of turtles.  I have loved turtles my whole life, but have never created a true work of art featuring one?!?!!?  I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  The reds/pinks did not photograph well, but it gives you an idea!!  

I used a mix of my liquid watercolors and standard tube watercolors to 
lay down the base color for my painting.  

I then used black colored pencil to outline all of my pencil 
marks to give it that stained glass feel.

I used color pencils & gel pens to create the patterns in my turtle and water.  I did go back into some parts and deepen the colors to make it POP more.  


September 24, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Who Do I Please?

I went to college focused on being an educator of art not an artist who was an educator.  There is a major difference between the two.  I was secure in the strength of my teaching abilities, but lacked confidence in my artistic skills.  Any time one is insecure there is a chance that they will be tossed to and fro as they face their insecurities.  Going into my studio art classes, I found myself trying to  be what the professors wanted. Every time I'd come under their criticism, I'd abandon my ideas and try to adopt theirs.  I would change my content, my style, and my compositions in an attempt to gain their approval. I was so unhappy.  I remember worked on a project late into the night toward the end of my first semester...in tears because I was so incredibly stressed out trying to be something I was not.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to go home and never look back.  Something happened though that night. I finally realized that I lost myself in trying to please everyone else.  There was no way I could ever find my artistic voice that way.  I needed to be the best ME...not the best THEM.  I learned to take their suggestions and consider them without losing myself in the midst of it.

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?  Or am I striving to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.  
Galatians 1:10 

My struggles with trying to please my professors was part of a larger issue.  I longed to fit in & be accepted.  I think everyone goes through this at some point(s) in their life. For some, it can be overwhelming/consuming.  For others, it is just a blip. The Christian is not immune to such things.  There is often pressure to sound, look, act, and perform in a certain "Christian" way if we are to fit the mold.  As if there is a "mold" for being a Christian?!?  God designed us each uniquely.  We must embrace our uniqueness & the beautiful differences of others!   God has a greater plan for us than trying to be people pleasers.  He desires us to view life as an audience of ONE.  Our heart should be to honor and glorify Him through our attitudes, actions, relationships, and talents.  When we seek to please God & Him alone....everything else will fall into place(or no longer matters).

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men;
Colossians 3:23

September 22, 2017

Teacher/Staff Painting Night

The past few years I've been hosting/organizing painting nights at my school.  It is an amazing time of fun, fellowship, and creativity.  I have many teacher call it their "therapy".  Though it does take some time, organization, and planning...the pay off is totally worth it!  

Past painting nights I've asked teachers for $2 to cover the cost of canvases.  I always buy from Michael's when they have their awesome 5pk/10pk sales, and they figure out to $2 or less!  This time though...my principal found some funds to cover the canvas costs.  I provided a variety of sizes for teachers to select from...but that's not always the case.  Ya get what ya get and ya don't throw a fit! ha ha

I provide the acrylic paint.  Most of my acrylic paint I've received through donations, or I've purchased using extra funds from the $2 a teacher thing.  I always organize by color so teachers don't have to hunt.  Time is limited, and I want them to be able to select their own colors!!  

I do cut out a variety of tracers for the teachers if they are "afraid"...but I don't pre-do their canvases. I'm there to encourage, help out, and challenge....not do their work for them.  That is what separates our paint nights from one of those Sips & Strokes(oh..and...the sips have to be school appropriate! ha ha).  I pull up images on the projector to help give them ideas, but it is up to them to create them!!

TREATS!!!!  What is a fun time together without some food! My wife made these yummies for our teachers & purchased the fun napkins!! She's the best!

So I set up each table for a teacher...with paper towel, water cup, and brushes.  I thought this would be great...so teachers could spread out and have their own space.  Well...as teachers came in...they started setting together. I guess they like each other?!?! ha ha  I usually have about 15 to 20 teachers stay after(they sign up prior to the event so you know how to plan!!)

(some aren't finished yet)