January 15, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Be Your Best & Do Your Best

Over the years I've seen many artists fight themselves.  They fight with their skill set because they think they should be better or different than they are.  They fight with their ideas because they feel it doesn't say enough or what the current trends in art are.  Even though it is good to strive to improve & question one's self....fighting with yourself usually ends in feeling defeated & being ineffective.  I was told my style was not appropriate for the medium I was using & my subject matter was all wrong.  I wrestled with what was said to me, and for a time I felt like giving up.  However, I realized that my artistic voice had a place in the midst of all the noise in the art world.  I had something to say & a unique way of saying it.  

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 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.  

 We all have skills that can be used to glorify God & reach out to those he has placed in our path.  However, we often find ourselves defeated & ineffective because we are trying to operate outside of how we were designed.  We see others who seem so skilled & gifted....and we want to be like them. We were created to be ourselves.  We need to look at the unique person God made us to be, and be the very best version of that.  We also need to make sure we are faithful with gifts & talents we have been given.  If we are not employing those skills they are not doing the kingdom, others, or ourselves any good. Gifts are to be given.  

Are you using your gifts/talents/skills to glorify God?  If not, why?  What is holding you back from being your best & doing your best for the kingdom? In this new year, think about what you can do to employ all of who you are for the service of the King.

January 14, 2017

The Patterns & Textures of Memphis

My wife & I celebrated our 10th anniversary by going to Memphis to visit the brand new IKEA & Graceland.  I found myself being drawn to all the patterns & textures at IKEA, our hotel (The Guest House at Graceland...highly recommend!!), and Graceland.  I think there is an art lesson here!!  Do you ever get fixated on things like this??  My wife was like..."ARE YOU TAKING MORE PICTURES OF THE WALLS?" ha ha

January 11, 2017


Kindergarten is a wild ride! It is amazing to see their independence, understanding, and ability grow by leaps and bounds!  If you are new to teaching & struggle with kindergarten...just wait!  After Christmas break is when the magic really happens!! 

I will say though...it is a struggle at times to have students help with cleanup.  It seems to take longer to have them do it than if you did it all yourself.  HOWEVER...you need to give them those opportunities to be responsible & be a part of the FULL process in the art room(which includes clean up!).  One of the things that drives me crazy is watching them pick up papers.  They have not mastered the art of place one piece directly on top of another!! ha ha  Even after you have showed them(over...and over...and over again!).  

I recently was at Dollar Tree(if you don't have them in your area...I'm sorry...THEY ARE AWESOME).  I found these larger tray/container/basket things(in my fav. color too!!).  I thought of how that could help the process a bit for kindergarten clean up.  Now this may not be revolutionary to you...but it really has helped my classroom out a great deal!!!  I have two students walk around collecting art work...the students at their seat place the work into the trey.  It sometimes is still a little off....but works so much better than the helpers dropping the art 10x!!  

It really allowed them to participate with clean up & feel successful! 

January 10, 2017

A Forgotten PD...

(I realized I never shared a PD that my 
friend Janet & I hosted this summer.)

Sometimes there are so many things going on...I forget to post!!!  I guess this one slipped passed me.  This summer, one of my bff's and I lead a PD on projects that could be turned into large collaborative projects.  It really was a hodge podge of awesomeness.  But do you know what is the greatest thing you get from professional development????  TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT YOU DO, GET WHAT YOU DO, AND DO WHAT YOU DO!!!  I love getting the opportunity to create with other art teachers.  It really becomes less about the focus of the PD...and all about that time together.  We rarely get such time to dialog with one another & share our experiences.  That can often be the greatest take away!!!!  So if you haven't been able to go to any PD's at the local, state, or national level...PLEASE TRY!!! It heals, encourages, and sparks the art educators heart!!!

January 09, 2017

Organization: Brushes

Why did I not think of this years ago?!?!

Do you have this issue?  Paint brushes stored in mugs/cups? 
Disorganized? Taking up precious cupboard space!


I found a shoe holder/organizer made out of the non-woven material they use for reusable grocery bags.  I had to cut it down to fit the size of my cupboard door.  Be careful not to cut too much away or you could cause the actual pouches to come off!  I used hot glue to attach it to the inside of the doors.  Be careful with high temp hot glue...the non-woven fabric will melt like plastic if you are not careful.  I hot glued it on the seams where the fabric was doubled up.  This will hopefully give enough strength to it so the weight of the brushes do not cause it to come loose!  Make sure that the door will still close as you are attaching it!!  The pouches will sag some with the weight...which will cause them to possibly hit the area where the doors close.  Also..depending on how much you pack them...it could cause the doors not to shut all the way.  This is easy to figure out though.  I still need to weed through my brushes a bit more...but it is much more organized!!!

January 08, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Choices

Art is all about choices.  What materials to use, images to convey ideas, colors for mood, size to create impact, location & lighting to display...and countless more before, in between, and after a work is considered "complete".  Even after completing a piece, an artist may go back into their art and make changes.  Each choice impacts how a work is perceived/interpreted.  There are times an artist might create a work multiple times in a variety of media because they are unable to decide which would be best.  Some artists have a very clear vision for their work, and their choices seem direct & unwavering.  They know exactly where they are going & what they are trying to convey with their work.  However, they still have made that choice.  Their are times when I'm creating that I have so many ideas, I find myself unable to proceed because I don't know which direction to choose.  I become paralyzed by choices.  What should I do? What would be best? How will it be perceived?  Does it say what I want it to say? Sometimes you need to just create.  You are able to learn things from completing a work that can be applied to future pieces.  

Many are the plans of the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

Choices are a part of life.  Some are easy & some are not.  As believers we can seek God's Word when we are unsure about the choices we need to make.  We can go to other believers that have walked with God longer & may have experience with the choices we are facing.  We also can pray, and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. However, even when we try to apply all of these in our life....we are still faced with choices that we're just unsure about. I have seen people place an unbelievable amount of pressure on themselves to choose what is right.  It is as if they think they are going to "mess up" God's plan.  They feel that somehow it all rests on their shoulders, and if they choose poorly, that God's will will not be done.  If God can use a talking donkey, a shepherd boy(David), a Christian hating/killing zealot(Saul/Paul)...I think He can carry out his purpose & plan!  He wants you to be a part of his plan.  He wants you to make the right choices.  However, his plans won't unhinge if you make a mistake.  It isn't about you anyways.  Seek him.  Seek his will/plan/purpose. REST IN HIM. 

January 01, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Fresh Starts/New Beginnings

Pencil can be erased. Acrylic can be painted over.  Oil can be wiped away.  Watercolor...well...not so much! However you can take a mistake and turn it into a happy accident in most cases.  Collages can be "collaged" over.  A weaving can be unwoven and rewoven correctly.  Clay can be reformed.  
There is so much forgiveness in art.  Perfect is not a prerequisite for creating....THANK GOODNESS!  There are sometimes you need to start fresh on a new piece of paper, a new canvas, or whatever materials you are using.  It might be a mental hang up.  It might be that the surface is marred by your previous attempts.  It may still very well be viable, but for you to continue creating...you need a new beginning.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
1 Corinthians 5:17

I'm so thankful we do not have to "reside" in our past mistakes, but instead are able to live "informed" because of them.  In 1 Corinthians we see that we are new creations & that the old has passed away! There are so many that live life defeated, disconnected, and doubting their purpose of being because of their past.  If we are in Christ, the past is the past.  Perfect is not a prerequisite. We must get over our mental hang ups.  We must see our scars as reminders that we've been saved from our past battles. We are given a new beginning in Christ.  It is a fresh start to live a beautiful life.  There will be ups and downs, and past mistakes will try resurface.  However, claim the truth of 1 Corinthians 5:17 and know that you are a new creation....and your past does not define who you are today!

December 31, 2016


Happy New Year!!  
In 2017, my hope is to post more projects, ideas, products, and art related content. 
 I want Art With Mr. E to be a place you all feel is a quality resource for art education..and worth your time to visit!  

December 30, 2016

ATC Swap 2016


You can check her out here...and she is always apart of my BLOGTASTIC ART BLOGS(look to your left & you will see the list!)!

If you don't know anything about the ATC Swap...you are missing out!!  Go to her blog now & look it up.  It is such a wonderful opportunity to connect with the world...and see amazing student art from a variety of locations, teaching situations, and grade levels!! Tulip Grove Elementary created 100 ATCs collaboratively to swap this year!  In return, we received 100 cards back!  Here are the amazing works that found their way to Nashville,TN!  

I try to make it a geography lesson as well.  I include a map with each set. I mark Tennessee in red & place a dot on Nashville so they have a point of reference.  I then mark where the cards are from in yellow.  In class we discuss how far the locations are from us.  

The teachers and student linger outside my room looking at the cards & locations.  

December 29, 2016

2nd Annual Art With Mr. E Workshop

Last summer I hosted the first Art With Mr. E Workshop!  We had 15 teachers from 5 states attend.  The group was made up of a wide range of teaching experiences...private & public...1st year to 20+ years...from Pre-K to College!  We had such a great time...there was no doubt  that we had to do it again!!  The details are not in stone yet, but I wanted to let you all know so you could start thinking about it!  I'm looking middle/end of June, three days of awesomeness, and the cost will be under $150. If you are wanting to keep up to date with dates, prices, and such...please e-mail me & let me know so I can keep you posted!

December 25, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: GIFT

When people talk about those who have a natural inclination for the arts....they say they have a "gift" or are "gifted".  Though I believe EVERYONE can grow in the arts & can become amazing artists....I do know that some people are just born with it.  However...I believe everyone is "gifted" in some area or another.  Maybe it is math, science, building, serving, communicating...that gift can take many forms, but everyone seems to be wired for something!  Those "gifts" need to be nurtured and developed.  Even if you have a natural predisposition for something you have to work at it to see it grow/flourish & make an impact in the world.  A gift that is given, but not received does no good.  A gift that is given, opened, and set aside never to be used benefits no one.  I know so many people that could be making such an amazing difference if they would embrace their natural giftings! I also feel they are not as happy in what they are doing & how they are serving because it is not how they were wired.  

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

God has given all of us a gift! Not everyone will receive it.  Not everyone will do anything with it once it is opened. What about you?  That gift that was freely given, that came to us as a baby, & left this earth having carried the sins of the world....how is that impacting your life & those around you?  If it is not...where is the gift?  Did you really open it?  Is it setting on the self collecting dust?  God's gift to us changes EVERYTHING!  I hope you all have an amazing Christmas.  As you journey into the new year, may you see the impact of Christmas & the Cross on your life.  

December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

I hope you all are having a wonderful break, a great Christmas with family & friends, and have great goals & expectations for the coming new year!  

December 17, 2016

No Devotional This Week...

Hey friends...devotional is not going to happen this week!!  
End of the semester, anniversary, non sleeping toddler, sick middle child(at the quick care/pharmacy till 10:30 tonight)....and now thunderstorm/tornado watch freaking all the kids out?!?! 
Oh my! :) 

Much love to you all...have a great Sunday!!! 

December 16, 2016

Mr. & Mrs. E : 10 Years

I could not do all I do with out the love & support of my amazing wife!
10 years have passed by so quickly!! 

This was how we celebrated on our anniversary!

December 13, 2016

Collaborative Winter Board 2016: Winter in the Smokies

Every year I do a collaborative board with K-4.  Each student makes a part of the board.  I've posted them since 2008 when I began my blog.  It is amazing how much they've changed over the years.  This year I picked the theme Winter in the Smokies.  This was before all the wild fires took place....so I feel it is now a nice reminder to keep that community in our thoughts!!  

Here is a close up of the main board!

Because of the number of classes I see.....the board is not big enough for all the students work.  So we have a display outside my room & in another hall way!  I really does give a great winter feel to the whole school. It has become something the staff & parents really look forward to seeing each year!