February 18, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: THAT PLACE

Place is an important aspect of the creative life.  We all have places that inspire us.  Some are places we return again & again.  Others can be temporary sources of inspiration do to individuals or situations that might change.  Place can also bring a sense of security for our creative pursuits. When we are in a location that provides security/safety...we can create with no fear.  Place also plays an important part in the actual creation of artwork.  Environment can truly impact an artists ability to create and their productivity.  I've seen some people create amazing work in chaotic places, but they would be crippled by the silence of a personal studio.  In turn, I've seen people that are unable to focus if there are any outside distractions.   Knowing THAT PLACE where you are most inspired & most productive is key in the artist's life.

But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in which I take refuge. 
Psalm 94:22

The words FORTRESS, ROCK, & REFUGE are truly comforting in the world we find ourselves living today.  God is THAT PLACE where when nothing else makes sense, when we feel small & insecure, when we are hit from every side by the troubles of this life....God is our FORTRESS, ROCK, & REFUGE.  Truly these are more than just words.  They describe where we place our hope.  They tell of the strength in which we can rest.  They denote the power of whom we believe.  If  we understand these truths, find our inspiration in this knowledge, and move forward in the power of God....we will be able live the beauty of this life He has given.

February 17, 2018

Mixed Media Critters: 1st Grade

I believe it was on Mini Matisse that I saw a fun check board painting she was doing with her students.  I loved the idea, but had to think where I wanted to take it from the check board "base".  My first graders loved getting to paint the check board!! There were varying levels of success, but all looked nice once completed!  The next class time I had them trace the original pencil lines with a black crayon.  They then created a "critter" to place on the check board.  I told them to think of it as a school picture for their creations!  The faces crack me up!  I love the expressions.

February 16, 2018

Mixed Media Landscapes: 3rd Grade

I'm working on possible projects for our spring all school art show.  The theme is COLOR EXPLOSION! I've been working on landscapes with 3rd grade, and thought this could be a fun "possible" project for the show.  We looked a many examples of mixed media & abstract landscapes.  The students started by doing a simple line drawing of a landscape. I had them paint(watercolor) each layer a different color or combination of colors.  Then I had them use black tempera paint to outline and create a tree in their foreground.  The following we the were allowed to selected metallic and regular construction paper to create the leaves for their trees. I think they are pretty fun.  I'm kicking around the idea of the students adding patterns into the work as well with colored pencil.

February 13, 2018

Art Ed Blogger's Network: Artists that Inspire!

If you are a follower of art ed blogs, you may have noticed a group of us posting today under the header of ART ED BLOGGER'S NETWORK!!  This is collection of amazing bloggers(how did I get in the mix?!?!) will surely inform, encourage, and inspire you!  At the bottom of the post you'll see links to those participating....CHECK THEM OUT!  
This month's topic for the group is ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE!
Wow...what a topic?!?!!?  I have to admit..I've struggled with this because there are so many I love,  for such diverse reasons. I'm going to go with a less main stream one for the sake of sharing someone you might not have heard, but may want to learn more about. 
 (Matisse & Van Gogh will always be my classic favs (color, pattern, and texture!!!)  
Oscar Bluemner

Oscar Bluemner was a German born artist that began his career in architecture & design. He moved to the United States in 1892.  He spent the next 20 yrs focused on architecture, but eventually moved into painting. However, his work was still heavily influenced by his architecture & design background.  He was fascinated with color theory & how it impacted both emotionally and psychologically. Though he did achieve some success & notoriety....he was a difficult person & did not "fit" into the mainstream art world of the time.  

Bluemner's work is an amazing jumping off point for LANDSCAPES/CITYSCAPES with their strong emphasis on layering & depth.  His work does not add a lot of detail or fussy elements allowing the young artist to concentration on the major elements of their work.  This also lends itself to transforming amazing drawings into dynamic paintings(I think tempera at the elementary level is perfect!).  If you are working with BIG IDEAS/ENDURING THEMES....it would be easy to add Bluemner's work into a unit on Place/Community. 


Art Teacher Blogs

This post is a part of The Art Ed Blogger's Network: Monthly Tips and Inspiration from Art Teacher Blogs. On the first Tuesday each month, each of these art teacher blogs will post their best ideas on the same topic.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs:

February 11, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: DEAL WITH IT!

Artists encounter many struggles that are unique to their profession/skill set.  Some of these are great, and some are small.  What to create, how to create, how much to create,  how much to charge, where to show, how to display,  and how to respond to critics are just a some of the issues they face daily.  The answers impact everything as they move forward in their career.   Creatives are often depicted as carefree, strong willed, and lacking concern for how others view them & their work.  However, this is most often far from the truth.   Rejection, misunderstanding, misinterpretation, harsh criticism, and apathetic responses crush the artist's spirit.  They wrestle greatly with these things because it is not just their "work", but a part of themselves.  How they deal with it will determine their ability to move forward.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
Psalm 34:17-19

We are faced with trials/struggles of many kinds. Some are great, and some are small.  How we respond will determine our ability to move forward in our lives. While some seem crushed by "minor" problems, others seem unphased when "major" issues come their way. We all have different thresholds of dealing with such things.   Often people will say..." DEAL WITH IT! " Though this may seem like sound advise...it leaves out something extremely important.  HOW!?  As believers, we have the ability to "DEAL WITH IT!" through the power of the Lord.  We are not doing life on our own.  Our God knows when we struggle.  He knows when our hearts are broken & seemingly hopeless.  He knows when trouble seems to be pressing in from every side.  In Psalm 34: 17-19, we are told that the Lord delivers the righteous.  Though I'm extremely thankful for this...there is another part of the verse that means a great deal to me.  "...the Lord hears them..."   So often we cry out in our struggles....we cry out in our pain...we cry out in our hopelessness.  In the midst of our cry we ask ourselves....DOES HE EVEN HEAR ME? DOES HE KNOW I'M HURTING?  DOES HE KNOW I'M AFRAID? DOES HE EVEN CARE?

 My friends...HE DOES!  


Take comfort in knowing that our God hears your cry! 

February 07, 2018

#aheartaday2018 : Day 5&6

My mom's boyfriend of 12 yrs passed away Monday, so I've gotten behind on my hearts.  However, they've become my therapy.  He was a wonderful man with so much joy, encouragement, and laughter to share.  He treated my kids like his own grandchildren(my dad passed away about 20 yrs ago...so Charlie was the only grandpa they knew from my side).  He will be missed greatly.  

February 05, 2018

Monday Motivation With Mr.E


#aheartaday2018: UPDATE

I've had several people join in the fun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!!
I love seeing all the hearts, the diversity, and the creativity.
It isn't too late to join in the fun!!

I'm doing mine based on my favorite animal...TURTLES!!!

Here is all the info you need to play along!!!

February 04, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: FINISHED

There was a point during college that I believed my career was finished before it even started.  After a freak accident in my sculpture class, I was told they were going to have to amputate my thumb, index, and middle finger on my dominate hand.  Though I did not know what was going to become of my hand or if I'd ever paint, draw, or create again with that hand, I laid on that bed in the emergency room and decided that if they amputated my fingers that I'd still find a way to use my gifts and talents.  It might not look like what I had planned, but I was not going to give up doing what I knew I was designed to do.  I had known since 1st grade that I wanted to be a teacher.  It was at the core of who I was.  If anything, the near life altering accident placed in me a greater desire to fulfill my purpose. It is truly amazing how the end(or near end) of something allows you to gain a deeper appreciation and a greater perspective.

The end of all things is near.  Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.  
1 Peter 4: 7-11

I am by no means a dooms day advocate.  You will not find me out on the streets holding a cardboard sign saying "THE END IS NEAR".  However, I've seen life end too soon for too many.  I am a strong believer in the fact we are not promised tomorrow.  We have this day.  This hour.  This moment. If it is all we have....how should we be living?  How should we be loving?  How should we be giving?   It may not always look like we expected.  We will face struggles & obstacles.  That is part of this life. God is bigger than the things we face, and is always with us!   I want to be found faithful in the time I'm given.  I want to use my gifts, talents, time, and love for His glory & honor.  When I'm finished with this life....will I have been found faithful?

February 01, 2018


                   It's that time again! 
Join in the fun creating a heart a day during the month of February!! If you are unable to participate every day...that is ok! Join in as much as you like.  Post on your social media with the hashtag #aheartaday2018 & tag me if you like!! I have explored media, pursued themes, and created one offs.  I can't wait to see how you approach this challenge.  Feel free to do this with your classes as well!! 


January 30, 2018


Here is a sneak peek at Tulip Grove Elementary's Artist Trading Cards for Mini Matisse's #ATCswap this year!!!  I'm having a hard time parting with these...some are so beautiful I want to frame them!  We do them a little different than others participating in the swap.  The past couple years I've done them as a collaborative project with different grade levels.  This year I had my kindergarten students pain the backgrounds(they were doing a tempera project...so I passed these out as they finished up).  My 2nd graders cut out leaves.  My 3rd & 4th graders cut out the flowers and did the oil pastel color on them(they both were using oil pastels in their main project for the day..so as they finished they were allowed to make the flowers).  I also had 3rd graders match up pattern paper with the painted backgrounds and add the strips onto them.  

January 29, 2018

Monday Motivation With Mr.E

Back By Popular Demand....ha ha
Well, maybe back because I enjoy doing them! 
Monday Motivation is a quick video of wisdom (quotes by wise people) & encouragement!


January 28, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Through The Chaos

We've all seen the stereotype of artists being extremely messy people. Half completed work, supplies everywhere, ideas & inspiration written on napkins & scraps of paper, and half eaten meals laying around the studio space.   Though you might find some that match this stereotype, I believe more artists actually have a harder time de-cluttering their mind more than their space.  The artistic brain rarely rests.  People will say things like..."HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THESE IDEAS?"  "HOW CAN YOU WORK ON MORE THAN ONE PIECE AT A TIME?"  "HOW DO YOU HAVE SKETCH BOOKS FULL OF DRAWINGS & NOTES?"   We are able to accomplish the things because our mind so full of thoughts, feelings, ideas, images....it can be overwhelming & exhausting at timesIt is often the act of creating that allows the artist to find peace through the chaos & to channel their overworked minds.  

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Do you feel overwhelmed at times?  Finances, health, family, work, technology, relationships, vehicles, world events, natural disasters....the list can go on & on.  Life can throw a great deal at us.  Sometimes it is all good....but a lot. Sometimes there is some good and some bad.  Sometimes it seems hopeless.  We can feel like we're unable catch our breath before the next "thing" needs our attention.  How can we handle these feelings of being overwhelmed in a world that doesn't seem to give us much of a break.  In Isaiah 26:3, the author states that "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast; because they trust in you."  It doesn't say that perfect peace comes when the world slows down.  It doesn't say that perfect peace happens when you catch a break.  It doesn't say that perfect peace is a result of your world being without chaos at all!  It says that peace will come when our minds are "steadfast" & "we trust in you".  When I read these words, it seems that it is in the midst of our struggles...in the midst of being overwhelmed...in the midst of our pain....that is when we are able to experience God's peace in our life.  Those things give us opportunity to trust God.  Through the chaos we are able to see that God is faithful.  When we actually have opportunity to put into practice our faith....we can find peace like we've never known.  The struggles of life do not disappear, but they will not overwhelm us when we trust the one who is always there, always loving, always faithful, and always holding us close.

January 26, 2018

Pinch Pots: Going Buggy

I'm doing a bug unit with my first graders...so we turned our pinch pots into crazy little bugs.  What kind of bug...I'm not really sure, but they sure are cute!!!  
I'm really focusing on the kids attaching well with their clay. I want to build a good clay foundation so when they get to middle/high school and have art...they will have a working knowledge of terminology and techniques.  

January 25, 2018

More Kindergarten Kandinsky

Today was the last day for my Kindergarten Kandinsky lesson!! 
There were a few more gems I just had to share with ya'll.
If you are interested in this project...check a few posts back to get more information!

January 21, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Beyond The Starter Set

I love the idea of art sets you can purchase that have the "starter" items for a particular medium.  They are great to give as gifts for those wanting to explore or dabble in art.  They may not be the highest quality or possess the largest variety, but they are a beginning.  However, as you progress in a skill you might find the starter items in the kit do not meet all your needs.  You might not even know what it is you lack, but you know that there has to be something more in regards to tools or technique.  Growth does that.  As we practice our craft we begin to move beyond the borders we once knew as a beginner.  It would worrisome if there wasn't a desire to continue to mature in something you've invested yourself.  This might be researching online, watching YouTube videos, reading books, taking classes, or finding someone that works in that medium to ask questions & seek advice. All the while continuing to create.  

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.  1 Timothy 4: 13-16

God blesses us with gifts & talents that we can use for his glory & honor.   For those of us in visual art, we are often asked to make a sign, create a bulletin board, lead a craft activity that someone else has already envisioned. There is nothing wrong with doing these things if there is a need & it is in our ability to accomplish.  However, we can not limit ourselves to these activities as the extent to how God wants to use us for His kingdom. It is a wonderful thing to meet the needs of established ministries happening in the church.  It give you opportunities to serve with a humble heart.  However we must seek the Lord to give us a vision of what it would look like to serve Him with our gifts & talents.  All the while, we need to be praying, reading the Word, and seeking wise counsel.  This is incredibly important to do! There have been many a person that has said "GOD TOLD ME TO....", but they have no accountability to process through with them as they seek God. Being truly plugged in to your local church will help this process a great deal!  As people get to know you, see your heart, witness your service...they will be excited to hear the vision God has given you and help to fulfill what God has placed on your heart to do.  We grow into what God has for us as we grow in Him. 

January 19, 2018

Tempera Talk On A Snow Day

After being out of school for a week because of snow/ice....I HAD TO GET BACK IN MY CLASSROOM!  I'm not sure if any of you are like me, but I love a schedule, love teaching art, love my classroom, and love being prepared.  My wife(knowing all this about me) encouraged me to come in today and get some things done.  So here is the video I made about tempera paint & how I'm managing the materials!!  Wasn't on my to-do list.....but you all are worth it! 

Would love to hear your management tips & tricks for tempera & painting in general!  

January 18, 2018

!!!!!! Ugly Doll Supply Alert !!!!!!

In the fall you may have seen my posts on my 4th grade Ugly Doll project.  There are "extra" costs to such projects, but it is totally worth the investment.  However, you can find some great deals to make it very affordable.  One "trick" I use is for the stuffing.  After Christmas, I hit the stores to find the best sales on Christmas Snow.  That is the white fluff that looks & feels like quilt batting /poly-fil people use under their trees, on mantels, or other decorating for the season.

Right now Dollar General has their Christmas items on sale for $0.25. 
!!!! T  W  E  N  T  Y  - F  I  V  E -  C  E  N  T  S !!!!

I bought all the bags they had.  They aren't huge, but this will be at least 2 yrs worth!!!  I don't always find it every year..so I stock up!   

January 14, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Directions

Art is all about rebellion.  There are no rules.  Anything & everything goes. 
Many believe these statements to be true.  I'll concede to the fact that art often pushes established ideas, concepts, and boundaries. However, art is also full of rules, processes, and procedures that are paramount to creating.  Without the establishment of these norms, some art forms would not be possible.  Knowing & practicing the rules & directions for a given medium do not stifle the artist, but allow them to find success as they imbue their work with their adaptations, stylistic choices, and unique voice.  Following the directions are important!  Not warping a loom correctly, firing at improper temperatures in ceramics, removing enamel from the kiln too soon, using spray adhesive in an enclosed non-ventilated space (umm, this might have happened to me the first time I used the product and did not read the directions)....when you don't follow the directions you deny the integrity of the art form.

Many view Christianity as a list of do's & don'ts.  It is made up of rules that must be followed, but that no one seems to follow well.  It is "Commandments" that come across big, scary and unobtainable.  Those that view it this way are missing an important thing...GRACE.  The idea of grace is a major component within the Christian faith, but is often misunderstood.  Grace is unmerited favor.  It is a gift we are given freely that we do not deserve and are without the ability to "earn".   In Ephesians 2: 8-9 it says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast."  However, God's grace transforms us.  Some may think grace is a "get out of jail free card" or a license to sin, but I wonder if they have truly experienced God's grace in their lives.  When a person truly is impacted by the grace & love of the Lord, they want to live a life that is honoring and pleasing to God.  They want to apply what the Bible says in all areas of their lives. The list of do's & don'ts become the heart's desire to honor God, know Him, and a way to make Him known.  

It is God's will that your good lives should silence those who foolishly condemn the Gospel without knowing what it can do for them, having never experienced its power.  You are free from the law, but that doesn't mean you are free to do wrong.  Live as those who are free to do only God's will at all times.  Show respect for everyone.  Love Christians everywhere.  Fear God and honor the government.  1 Peter 2: 15-17

January 13, 2018

Taking My Own Advice

So I want to be purposeful about creating this year.  I know in February there will be the #heartaday2018 challenge, but what about the rest of the year?  I had good intentions of starting January 1st, but here we are a couple weeks in & I've yet to make anything other than my teacher examples.  Am I the only one in this boat??

The amazing Mona Lisa Lives Here posted a 365 day challenge several years ago.  

I just think I want to do something that has more "flow"? One day would lead into the next day, into the next day, into the next day...etc. 

So what are you all doing?  Share in the comments or tag me on social media with what you're doing/using to hold yourself accountable for creating.  

January 11, 2018

Kindergarten Meets Kandinsky

We kicked off the class with a YouTube Video.   If you have not discovered Art With Mati & Dada.....GO CHECK IT OUT NOW!!!  They are short yet informative!  Make sure you preview first..there may be a couple that you might not feel comfortable showing your students.  The Kandinsky video is great!!  

We then looked at several works by Kandinsky, and I allowed my kindergarten students to make observations about what they saw.  (The little ones are so amazing in their responses!!!)

After I reviewed painting "rules/procedures", I started playing some instrumental music....passed out supplies...and let the students begin.  It was a magical time in the art room.  



January 09, 2018


Several years ago I did an all school art show on the theme of BUGS! It was so much fun!! One of my favorite projects from the art show was a first grade lesson I called SPLAT!  I had the kids imagine a cartoon book just splatted on their windshield.  What would it look like?  How would it's body be?  I made them stand up and try to pose like the bug(hysterically funny!!).  Then I had the kids trace with Sharpie & paint with watercolor.  This time we made it a marker project.