August 18, 2017

Teaching Tip: Avoiding the Copy Cat Trap

I've heard new & seasoned teachers talk about the problems they have with students copying their examples.  This is a normal "issue", but there are ways to curb students desire to copy cat.  

I create teacher examples during demo, but as I'm working....I let them know they are not allowed to create what I'm creating.   It is often met with...."BUT I WAS ALREADY PLANNING ON DOING THAT!!!"  I just simply say..."I'm sorry, but you cannot create what I'm creating.  I'm sure you will come up with an amazing idea all on your own!"  During the Mixed Up Create/Animal Collage I did with 1st grade this week...I made it clear that no one was allowed to create a flying turtle!  Each day that I demo the project...I create a flying turtle(but in a variety of ways).  If you are consistent with your expectations...they will know right away what you want from them!

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If they are "stuck" on your idea...then you need to encourage them to take it in a totally different direction.  This isn't hard to do, but will take you having a conversation with them.  Ask them what things they like, what are they good at drawing, or things they felt successful with in the past.  Encourage them to take those ideas, and create something new and wonderful!  

Don't accept a copy of your work...they need to be independent thinkers & artists!!!

August 17, 2017

Hangry for Art


So this grosses me out a bit!  ha ha  I've never had a student actually chew on a pencil so hard it snapped(up by the No.2..snapped through!!).  This child was obviously HANGRY for art!!!

August 16, 2017

Dear Parents: COLORING BOOKS

I think I might start a series of blog posts over the next year called Dear Parents....it will be things I wished parents knew or did more of to help their students be more prepared for success in the art room. So here is the first installment.
(If nobody cares for it..then it might be my only installment! ha ha)


I'm in my 21st year of education, and I've seen many changes over that time.  One thing I've noticed is that students have less control & strength in their hands.  Their grip on their writing utensils are often weak and improper, their handwriting skills are not as strong, and their line quality in drawing has diminished.  The world of tablets, game systems, and watching TV seems to have replaced drawing, coloring, crafting, and creating.  I don't want to come off as an old fuddy duddy reminiscing about the "good ol' days", but there were tangible benefits to those activities.  I spent hours as a child coloring, creating chalk draw cities on my sidewalk for my Hot Wheels, and crafting with my mom.

I know times have changed.  In many situations both parents work or a single mom is doing her very best to provide for her family & raise her children.  It can be challenging to find time to do all those hands on activities.  However, just a few minutes, a few days a week coloring with your child will truly help improve those hand skills/strength.  Plus, they really love that time being close with you as color & create.  I know many art teachers are not fans of coloring books, but I feel that they are such a positive reinforcer of  needed skills.  They are affordable, easy to store, and come in a variety of styles & themes that will surely capture your child's interest!  As a father of three young children, I know that I should probably be spending more time with my own kids coloring.  The benefits go beyond the artistic & written...it is such a great opportunity to slow down and talk with your children & have them share about their days, hopes, dreams, fears, friends...and a host of other things!! 

August 15, 2017

Take Me Home Country Road

I've shared on here before about my upbringing in the middle of a forest in southeastern Ohio.  This YouTube video I found is taken about a half hour from where I grew up.  This is the town where my high school was(yes..it was at least a solid 30 min. to get there driving by car...school bus...it was 1 1/2 hr drive!!!!)  Where the drone is flying is Hannibal, Ohio...the small city you see across the river is New Martinsville,WV.  That is where we had to go grocery shopping.  It was a great place to grow up, but I'm not sure I could ever go back.  There are almost no art education jobs in that region.

August 13, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Inspiration

Artists draw upon different sources for their inspiration. Family history, relationships, experience, questions, conflicts, joy, suffering, collections, friendships, favorites, fun, fear, and a host of other things can inform an artist's work.  Some artists will build a career focused on just one of these topics. While other artists may spend a brief amount of time exploring a single topic.  Inspiration is as individual as the artist themselves.  Having purpose & meaning to one's work will helps the artist move beyond just showing their skill and reveals a part of the artist's heart.  This often allows the viewer to connect to the artist in a more tangible way because they will connect that point of inspiration to their own life experiences. 



Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

We all know people that seem to live their lives focused on the negative situations that have happened to them.  I'm not trying to diminish their pain, trials, and challenging circumstances, but when we elevate the negative we give it a place in our life that permeates everything.  It impacts our work,  relationships, and our perception of the world around us.  Though we must not go to the other extreme, and play off the pain & challenges of our life. That is not healthy either.  Those people that ignore such things are perceived as ingenuine, superficial, or out of touch.  This too can cause difficulties in their work, relationships, and how they perceive the world.  In Philippians, we see a challenge to focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.  It doesn't say to ignore the pain.  It doesn't say to glorify the negative.  It is calling us to change our focus.  When we focus our attention on the things of God, the rest of our life seems to fall in line.  The bad things aren't so hopeless, the good things are tempered with humility, In all things we can see that God is with us, loving us, and guiding us through.  When we allow our heart & mind to dwell on the things of God, it is reflected in the life that we live, the relationships we have, and the choices we make.  Others will see our inspiration being lived out.  When they do they will either be able to connect it to their own life or begin to ask questions to why they don't feel that same connection.  The door will be open to share the Good News for our joy.  Our life is a canvas that allows others to see our inspiration.

August 11, 2017

Kindergarten Self Portraits

I love teaching kindergarten!!  They are my favorite grade to work with.  Though...I will be the first to admit that the start of the school year is always a bit of a challenge.  So many students have never been in a pre-school program, and struggle to adjust in the beginning to the structure of school.  Soon though...they will "get it" & thrive in it!!!   Here are a hand full of self portraits my kindergarten students created on the first day of art.  They are untaught/coached...I just tell them to draw a picture of themselves on the first day....so I can see where they are at!  The variety is amazing...and there is so much joy in some of them!! LOVE!!!!











August 08, 2017

FIRST WEEK BACK

The 2017-2018 School Year is underway! 
(I'll have my room & bulletin boards posted soon!)  

A few years ago I started kickin' off the year with a little RAZZMATAZZ!  
I wanted to get away from the same old rules/procedures, and get the kids excited about the upcoming year in art.

It really is a hybrid kind of day.  I still briefly run through THE ART ROOM WAY & classroom procedures(less then 10 min!)  I still have the kids create a full body self portrait (something they can work on while I'm working with small groups painting).  

This year's "razzmatazz" is a collaborative banner.  I cover the table with a plastic sheet(Tape it down so it doesn't scoot too much!).  They are painting on a cotton fabric(I think it might be duck cloth...I believe that is what I've heard it called in the past).  I have each class create a new "layer".   Groups of 4 to 6 students at a time work on the banner...until all students have contributed. We use an acrylic paint..which dries quickly when spread thin.  By the time the next class runs through rules/procedures & begins their self portraits....it gives it will be dry enough for the next layer.  Make sure students have art shirts on!!!   Each day creates their own banner.

(Kindergarten's contribution is not added yet...they have half days the first two days of school.  I'll have them start adding to the banner's tomorrow!!  I'll share the finished product in a later post)

DAY 1's WORK
1st grade painted in the background color for the banner.

2nd grade added vertical lines on top of the background color.


4th graded added zigzags on top of the other layers.

3rd grade brainstormed a list of words about school.  
They each selected a word to add to the banner.

DAY 2's WORK
1st grade painted in the background color for the banner.

2nd grade added horizontal lines on top of the background color.

4th graded added curvy lines on top of the other layers.

3rd grade brainstormed a list of words about school.  
They each selected a word to add to the banner.

August 06, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Will It Last?

Fads fade quickly.  Non-archival materials will cause art to deteriorate.  The sun /lighting can cause damage to the color and/or surface of a work.  If let outside in the elements, weather can ruin even that which was designed to be outside.  Excessive handling of art can cause issues due to naturally occurring body oils for the skin being deposited on the surface.  Artists go in and out of style. A bump, clumsy act, or even a natural disaster can cause a work to be damaged or destroyed.  So much of what we do in the arts is fragile.  Any number of things can cause the demise of a work.  I create because it is in me to do.  However, once something is created I only exercise so much control over the longevity of work.   


 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 17-18

How much of our life have we invested in things that aren't going to be in our life (or even exist) in a relatively short period of time?  How much do we worry over things that truly don't matter?  Although, does worrying about things that do matter benefit anyone?  We must use our time, talents, and attention on those things that matter most.  When so much is out of our control...we must be wise in those things that are within our control.  We each have been given this life to live by God, and I want to do so getting to know him, praising him, and making him known.  I want to invest myself in the things that matter most, the eternal.  How much are you investing in the temporary?  What can  change in your life to have a more eternal focus in your everyday?  

August 02, 2017

1st Day Back for Teachers

The 2017-2018 school year is just beginning! What are you looking forward to? What are some new projects or ways of doing things are you excited about trying.? Facing any challenges? Would love to hear from you...leave a comment or connect on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! 

July 30, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Imitation


Individuality is encouraged in my classroom.   I want students to be original.  Never do I want to find my students copying my work or the work of other students.  Part of the problem solving in art is how to infuse yourself into your work.  When you copy you are denying your voice within your work.  However, there is a time & place for imitating others in art.  I try to model for my students proper technique, focus, and creative processes.  I will work along side them once they are busy on their projects. I feel it is important for them to see me creating with them.  By doing so, I can reinforce technique, proper posture (kids will often work with their face laying on their arm on the table..inches from their pictures), work ethic, and I'll verbally process through if I encounter issues so they can witness me dealing with problems.  


Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

Discipleship is key for Christian growth.  We need to find people that we can watch, question, interact with, and be a part of their lives.  Not because they are the "perfect" example of what a believer is, but because they live a life that imitates Christ, humbly seeks him in all they do, and strives to bring honor & glory to the Lord.  They are people that walk with integrity, and know the Word of God.  Having these type of people in our life to model the Christian walk is incredibly beneficial.  Seeing those who are imitators of Christ, as we too seek to be imitators of Christ, helps us to navigate this world we live in with a reference point from someone who is a bit further down the road.  In turn..we can be that for others.  We can not live this life on our own.  We were meant to be in relationship with other believers.  God designed us that way!  Who do you have in your life that is someone you desire to imitate?  Who do you have in your life that would want to imitate you & your walk with God? 

July 29, 2017

My Helper!

Margaret wanted to come help me today at school (yes..I went in on a Sat).  I wasn't sure at first because I knew I'd be nonstop busy...and wanted to be able to focus on getting stuff done.  However, school is starting soon...and I knew it would mean a lot to her to be able to hang out with daddy in the art room.  We had such a great time.  She drew, colored, built with Legos...clean up some things for me...got papers from the copier in another part of the school...and helped paint the knight in my room.  She's awesome..and I wouldn't be surprised if she went into something creative when she grows up!  

July 28, 2017

A Pre-Preview To 2017-2018

It is a work in progress!!  I still have a lot to do, but thought I'd shoot a short video to show you all what it's going to look like in Art With Mr. E's room this school year.  


July 23, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: A Different Level

I've seen artists churn out work to sell, but the quality is lacking.  This should not be a surprise when you mass produce anything.  Quality suffers. Mediocre is acceptable.  If you ask the same artists to create work for a gallery/museum...you would see them approach it completely different.  They would take time with the work in pre-production, production, and post-production making sure everything was as close to perfect as possible.  They would want the work to represent who they were as an artist.  Mediocrity would have no place in such a situation.  However, shouldn't we approach all things with same fervor? If our name is on something...shouldn't we attempt to have it be the best it could possibly be?  I don't want just certain work to represent what I am capable of doing, but everything I do to be a reflection of who I am as an artist.


Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ. 
Colossians 3:23-24

It is not about trying to impress God.  He does not need us acting like a child trying to get there parents' attention (LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!).  When we attempt to get his attention by doing something "good" we are approaching the Christian life all wrong.  In fact, I'd say we don't truly understand the Christian life.  When we come to know the Lord we bring all that we are: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  He wants all of who we are.  The good we should want to do for God is born from knowing him.  It is born from knowing what exactly he has done for us.  It is not to get his attention.  We have his attention.  The Lord of All lives with in us. He is waiting for us to spend time with him.  He is waiting for us to speak with him.  We have his attention...not because of the great things we can do...but because he loves us & desires a deep/real relationship with us.  This is our motivation for wanting to serve God with all that we are...to the best of our ability. When times are tough, when we feel like we are far from God, when our prayers don't seem to be answered the way we expect....continue on in the Lord.  Do not lose heart or be deceived by your "feelings".  Know that he is with you..he has never left you...and you can continue to go forward trusting him to be the God he has always been & will always be. 

July 21, 2017

REVIEW: Dollar Tree Marbling Kit

Dollar Tree is one of my favorite places to explore!
You just never know what you'll find!!!
A week or so ago I found a paper marbling kit.  
I was curious, but not so sure what to expect.

You fill a container with regular tap water, and then squeeze & swirl the color onto the surface  (note: you have to clip the ends...or risk causing the tube to blow!)  Don't stir/swirl too much or it will muddy the color.  Once it looks as you wish...lay a piece of paper on top of the water.  It doesn't need to rest there for long.  Place the paper on a flat surface to dry.  

It turned out surprisingly well!  It could be a fun art club project, at home with your kids, as a reward for a small group....but the shaving cream with paint is a better bang for your buck when working with a larger number of students (though a whole lot messier than this Dollar Tree kit).  

July 16, 2017

REVIEW: Elmer's Purple Liquid Glue

Have you seen this?


I purchased a small bottle for 99 cents so I could try it out.


YEP! IT'S PURPLE!  ha ha  So it delivered on that front.  It was very "wet".  I noticed after the fact that it is "Washable". I'm almost never a fan of "Washable" products.  This seems more watery than regular washable glue.  I'm not sure if how they make it purple causes that or not.  I also noticed that the "feel" of it is different as well. It isn't "tacky" feeling?!?!?! I got some on my figures when I connected the paper together...can't really describe it how it feels other than different.  


It delivered on drying clear as well!  I do feel it warps the paper a little more than regular ELMER'S GLUE ALL.  I don't use Elmer's Washable on a regular basis(because of it warping paper & not being a strong as Glue All)...so I can't compare.  I do think it might be a good investment for Kindergarten so they can learn better glue control....though I'll probably stick with good ol' regular Elmer's Glue All.  


Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: DEADLINES


Some people thrive with the addition of an external deadline. Others do not.  The pressure of having to create with time restrictions can motivate some artist to be more creative because of the challenge & purpose.  It is a form of accountability. For some it can cause them to shut down in frustration because they feel constrained by the time frame.  I have the luxury of my art being a creative outlet and not how I provide for my family... so I rarely have deadlines.  However, I should probably set more for creating & be more purposeful so that I keep myself actively engaged in art making. An artist who has no deadline can at times flounder directionless.  Being aware of time can motive you to do more so you can accomplish your personal goals.


Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
James 4:14

Life has deadlines.  I'm not just talking about THE deadline.  Death is not the only end.  We have a limited amount of time to impact/influence others.  We may move.  They may move.  Relationships shift. Jobs change. Schooling comes to an end. A chance encounter slips through our fingers.  I fear I've allowed too much time to pass by without realizing these deadlines.  God blesses us with opportunities to share his love.  However, we often think we have all the time in the world to do so.  It usually doesn't occur to us until the "deadline" has passed and we have failed to share the most important thing our life.  Missed opportunities should not bring condemnation, but should motivate us to utilize the time we have been given to share his love. Don't allow deadlines to pass you by.

(speaking of a missed deadline...see the picture below!)
(This past week I've been working very late every night on some paintings for an artshow I've been asked to be a part of...and it caught up with me. Yep, this deadline got me good.   Last night I could not stay awake to write this.  You can see how I fell asleep with my hands on the keyboard! ha ha)

July 11, 2017

Art With Mr.E Summer Workshop 2017: Weaving


The AMAZING people at NASCO ( https://www.enasco.com/artsandcrafts/ ) provided looms, fabric strips(how amazingly handy to have precut fabric strips!!), and long plastic needles. THANK YOU SO MUCH NASCO!!!  We loved getting to use them & trying out the different size pre-notched looms.  Several of the teachers did multiple weavings during our three days together. They did a mix of the fabric strips & yarn.  You could just do fabric.  I'm in the process of working on a rag rug that I'm doing in sections so its easier to work with(more on this in another post!!).

I do like the idea of having different size looms for students that might finish early.  I've had some SUPER weavers in the past...as well as students that want to come in extra to weave more.  Having the different sizes might be a nice to keep on hand!

https://www.enasco.com/product/9737015



          

July 09, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Name Recognition

In art, a name can change everything.  My name on a work of art would not have nearly the impact of Van Gogh or Picasso.  People would look at my name and think, "Well, that's nice."  If it had Matisse's name on it....they would start talking about the historical significance, what stage in his career it was from, and the financial worth. However, a name alone does not bring the value to a piece of art.  The name is attached to the person.  THE PERSON would imbue THE NAME with their work, passion, experience, subject matter, skill, consistency, risk taking, invention & innovation, persona, and exposure.  The name is attached to the Master artist, and in that there is power. 




God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I  AM has sent me to you.'"  
Exodus 3:14

Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." John 8:58


I've always loved the names of God found throughout scripture.  "I AM" is my favorite.  When he tells Moses to let the sons of Israel know "I AM has sent me to you." .....WOW!  Why is there so much power in I AM?  Because they knew him.  They knew who he was.  They knew the promises he made to their fathers.  They knew the power of I AM.  They knew the heart of I AM.  They knew the Master.  Fast forward to Jesus saying "before Abraham was born, I am."  WHAT?  If there were any doubt in who Jesus was...he made it clear in this statement.  "I AM"  We are not following blindly someone we do not know.  We are following Who Was, Who Is, and Who Is to Come! I AM. This name brings peace, empowers, changes, challenges, and encourages.  This name allows us to go, do, and be more than we ever could have imagined.  I AM.  In him I can claim who I am because of who he is!  His love letter to us is signed... I AM. AMEN!

July 03, 2017

ART WITH MR.E SUMMER WORKSHOP 2017 RECAP

June 26 kicked off the 2nd Annual Art With Mr. E Summer Workshop!  I want to start by saying I'm so blessed to be able to host/facilitate this time.  The art teachers attending are AMAZING, and I do not take for granted that they give their time & money to attend.  I hope they were all encouraged, inspired, laughed a lot, made some new friendships, and will go back to their classroom with some new ideas. The next few posts will be all about the workshop, projects, and experiences!  Maybe next summer you will join us! 

July 02, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: STAND

During my freshman year of college I had a make it or break it moment.  I was wrestling with one of the assignments in my 2-D Foundations class.  I just could not figure out what to do, how to do it, or even why I was doing it. I wanted to give up.  It was the only time an art project made me cry (other when I smashed my finger off in sculpture and they thought they'd have to amputate half my hand...but that is a story for another day).  I even contemplated quitting college and moving back home.  I thought that if a project in my very first studio class my very first semester stressed me out so bad that there would be no way I'd ever make it through the program. Somewhere in the midst of the struggle, I decided that I'd not let this assignment get the best of me.  I pressed onward and complete it to the best of my ability.  I would love to tell you in the end it was an A+ work, and that my professor and fellow students were in awe of its beauty & inspiration.   However, I can not. Though it wasn't my greatest work of art...it holds a special place in my heart.  It showed me that I could push through the frustration, insecurities, lack of understanding, lack of skill, and exhaustion to complete whatever task I found myself facing.  


Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not the vain.  
1 Corinthians 15:58

There have been times in most of our lives where we have cried out to God and told Him we're done...through...we quit.  Whatever we're facing seems to have gotten the better of us, and we just can't do it any more.  Work, family, friends, health, or even things going on in the church(An imperfect place with imperfect people...you better believe the struggle is real in the church as well!).  God wants to hear from His children!  Even when we are crying out in frustration...He wants to hear our heart!  We don't need to put on airs.  God wants to hear it all, but he doesn't want our two weeks notice.  He wants us to push onward.  He knows the ending, and He knows it is for our good & His glory that we continue through the pain, through the frustration, and see it through till the end.  We must stand firm & let nothing move us away from God's plan & direction for our lives.We must remember that nothing we do for the Lord will be in vain, but will reveal to us & those around us the goodness of God & His glory.  

June 25, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: The Moment

. I will never forget the day I saw Vincent Van Gogh's work for the first time in person.  I was visiting a museum and turned the corner to come face to face with four of his paintings.  The placement was perfect.  The lighting was perfect.  It all seemed so perfect.  I sat down on the bench that was situated facing the wall of Van Gogh's work, and soaked in that moment.  I think I could have sat there all day. For a time I just sat in awe.  Then I began to observe the color, texture, movement, and subject matter of each piece.   I once again sat in awe.  I thought about all I had studied of Van Gogh, the history that surrounded the work, the life these paintings had lived, and the fact that Vincent himself had touched each painting with his masterful hands.  I went back to setting in awe. In that moment nothing else seemed to matter.  I was in the presence of greatness.


One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  Psalm 27:4

Sometimes we get distracted with life.  Even when we know we should be living in the moment we can find ourselves thinking about what is next & all we have to do to accomplish that task.  We could be distracted by relationships, work, home, or play, and all the would have, should have, could have that wasn't regarding those things.  It seems rare that we can embrace "the moment" and be fully present there.  Our minds are preoccupied on the past, present, and future and it rob us of the moment.  I believe if we take the time to know our God, work on the relationship we have through faith, read His word, spend time talking to Him through prayer, and just "BE" in His presence...we might actually experience more of what the author of Psalm 27:4 is speaking.  If you read this verse and find yourself disconnected from the author's heart/meaning....maybe you need to slow down & get to know your God better.  If I hadn't known all that I did about Van Gogh, if I had not studied, if I had not spent time looking at images of his work....I probably could have walked by with just a passing glance. But because I knew Van Gogh & his work....I sat in awe.  Because I recognized the marks of the master....I had to set quietly in the moment & take it all in.  I see people pass by many things in our world today...not realizing the Master's hand in it.  I want to be someone who can embrace the moment, and praise the Father for who He is & what He has done.  I want to set in awe of Him.

June 19, 2017

GET SMART!

In getting ready for my kids camps this week & my teacher workshop next week...I've been shopping!  I went to SMART (Scrap Made Art) Supply Store during their $25 a week sale.  LOOK AT THE FUN STUFF I GOT!!!  Worth so much more than the $25 I spent!!!  
Learn more about SMArt at the link below! 

June 18, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: You Can See It

Many artists are like walking billboards for their craft.  When you are so passionate about something, it shows.  It comes out in how you talk, what you talk about, how you live your life, where you invest your time & money, and even sometimes on your clothing!   Your home & the homes of your friends & family look like your personal galleries.  It will often be that those you are close with will also sing your praises everywhere they go, and share your gifts & talents with others.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1

The artistry of God is undeniable.  His amazing work is everywhere we look.   However, we can become numb to this fact as we go about living our lives.  We can become distracted with work, family, friends, entertainment, or a host of other things vying for our attention.  When life becomes challenging, bad things happen, or stresses/worries threaten to overtake us....we can be reminded of God's goodness through the proclamation of His creation.  If we were to just look up & outside ourselves for a moment, we would be able to see the fingerprints of God all around us.  This brings such a reassurance of His faithfulness in our lives.  It reminds us of His awesome power.  It shows us of His never ending love for us.  

If you are struggling...make the time to spend with God in the midst of His creation. Being surrounded by His handy work reminds us that we can trust Him with all the things that are troubling us.  Even during the storms of life...His peace is real.  He is there.  He will meet you where you are. 

June 11, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Lighting is Everything

There have been many times that I've worked in rooms which were poorly lit.  Lighting is as important as quality supplies for an artist.  Often though, eyes adjust to the condition of  a room, and one believe that they are able to see just fine.  It isn't until the work is brought into a well lit room that the artist sees their glaring issues precipitated by lighting.  Sometimes they are minor things that can be quickly corrected.  However, there have been times that I've had to start completely over because the issues were too great.  Allowing yourself to believe you are "ok" to continue in darkness will create issues that will have to be dealt with at some point.  



When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  John 8:12

The imagery of light is used throughout scripture.  It is something that everyone can understand.  When you operate in the dark bad things can happen.  How many times have I kicked my toes on the side of the bed when I've tried to find my way in the dark.  I thought I could handle it....making my way from the bathroom to the bed with the lights out.  We think we can until we can't. We usually come to that realization because of negative outcomes.  There are many times in our life where we think we can do things on our own.  We feel that we know what is best, and we don't need the Lord's guidance.  WE'VE GOT THIS.  And you know what...we do have it...right up until we don't.  Then what?  Where do you turn when you realize the darkness you've been walking in has betrayed you. You look at your situation, your life, your relationships, and you see the holes in them.  You see that things don't appear as good as you once thought the did. The good news is that you can find your way when you turn to the Light.  That light doesn't just illuminate the negative where you find yourself , but it guides you to the path of where you truly want & need to be.  The lighting is everything!!


June 06, 2017

Reflecting On A Year That Was

So even though school has been out for over a week now...I've been back to my room 3 times!?!!?  
I wanted to finish cleaning my supply closet (my one place of disorder in my room), and wanted to start prepping my bulletin boards for next school year.  Today I'm back because I forgot something I needed for the summer.  In another week or so I'll be back to start setting up for my summer workshop?!?!?!  I promise...in July...I more than likely will not be back to my room (I think?).  

With my room looking like this...it makes me very reflective of what I've done, what I could do better, and what needs to change.  We all need to tweak things...even with 20 yrs under my belt...I know that I've not arrived & can not cruise on through till retirement (which is probably not in 10 yrs when I hit the 30 yr mark of teaching...because I'll only be 53 & I'll have an 18 yr old, a 16 yr old, and a 13 yr old!  Yep...Mr. E will be teaching till he is a 100!!! ha ha)  I had an especially odd year with my diagnosis and subsequent 101 trips to the doctors (I'll share an update soon on my health!!).  I'm looking forward to getting back to "normal" & being more mentally/physically present doing what I love!!!


What are your tweaks/changes for the new year?

(My room is going to be very colorful this year...after the past few years being more subdued)



June 04, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Smells Like...

I love the smell of art, art making, art supplies, and art places!  Smells have a way of transporting you to a time & place where your memories connect to your senses. I think these smells stick with me most of all because they revolve around where & what I've invested so much of my life.  I spent hours with my Aunt Bonnie coloring as a child.  She had an old cookie tin she would keep the crayons that she collected from the floors of the school I grew up going to where she was a custodian.   That cookie tin had such a distinct smell, but every once and awhile I catch a whiff of something that reminds me of it.  Instantly I'm back on the floor coloring with her.....my start in art.   I've used the same watercolor palette since I was in college.  Watercolors have a distinct smell about them as well. I smell the paint, see the colors, feel the palette....and I'm reminded of so many hours, ideas, works of art, successes, and failures.  It is just amazing how a smell can remind you of so much more than the object producing the odor.  

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ has loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.  Ephesians 5: 1-2

Is it odd to think God can "smell" things?  Ephesians uses the term "fragrant aroma" in regards to our offering & sacrifice to God.  This aroma is connected to our heart, mind, and effort as we strive to serve God.  He calls us to be imitators of Him. He calls us to walk in love.  He calls us to be like Christ.  The aroma is so much more than one "thing"...it is connected.  It should smell like...JESUS.  Our good works are like dirty rags(Isaiah 64:6).  I can't imagine that would smell very good to the Lord.  It is a reminder though that we can not live this life out of our own efforts. It is through Christ, in Christ, and because of Christ that we are sons & daughters of God.  The ultimate offering & sacrifice was the life & death of Jesus. (The ultimate victory was rising from the dead!)  I want people to see Jesus in me.  I want people to feel & know the love of Christ through my words, attitudes, and actions.  And I guess...I want people to smell Jesus too! ha ha