August 28, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Only One Place?

It is like a kid in a candy store when an artist visits their local art supply center!  However, it is rare to find a place that truly can supply "ALL" of your needs. "So & So" has better prices on X,Y, & Z...."Such & Such" carries the brand I like for ______.  You get the picture.  Now there are places that do seem to be "better" at meeting most of our needs, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find one stop shopping for everything.  That is probably why online stores have become such huge part of our society.  Even though you are going to multiple sites...you aren't overextending yourself to get the things you want from multiple places.  If you were asked to pick only one place to shop...you would probably struggle thinking about what the other store has...or the better price elsewhere (Even if there was a price match guarantee! ha ha).  

"I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
John 15:5  

One of the greatest struggles, as Christians, is not living a life divided between the things of the world & the things of God.  Being a person of faith does not mean we always get it right.  In fact, there are many times that we are so far off the mark that it might not look like we are people of faith at all.  We try to do things under our own power...our own way.  We think we might know better than God..and somehow our plans are more important.  God wants us to trust in him completely.  He wants us to go to him for everything.  He doesn't want us to shop around for what we think might be better.  Looking here, there, and everywhere will not fulfill our list of what we need.  That list can only be fulfilled in God alone.  Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches."  A branch can't say.."I think I'll go over here and grow".  It is in Christ alone.  The promise is if we remain in him...we will bear much fruit. Though we might think we can find something better elsewhere or on our own.....it is only when we go to him ONLY that we will bear the fruit we were created to bear!    


PRAYER
Dear Lord, help me to find my all in all in you!
I don't want to seek significance, love, sense of self in 
the things of this world.  May I see myself as you do.
In Your Name, AMEN

August 26, 2016

ART WITH MR. E WORKSHOP: DAY THREE

(This is my final post from my June ART WITH MR. E WORKSHOP)

AHHH!!! WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!?!
Honestly...I wish we could have had a full week together!  What an amazing group of teachers! We had so much fun...got to know each other..made some amazing art.....learned a few things...and had an awesome time doing it!!!!!

Day 3 was a lot of finishing up of projects we had started....and a whole lot of color!!!

Here are the Clay Carvings we did on the first day.  They finished them by using oil pastel & then dipping them in black paint that had been thinned.  I did the dipping so they could work on their next project....wow....maybe I need to use gloves next time! ha ha  I had black paint under my nails for a good week or so!! I loved how these turned out!! 

We also finished out plaster gauze reliefs!! WOW is about all I can say!  How many different directions could you take this project...versatile for any theme you might be doing in your class! We used acrylic paint for these.  The only struggle for younger students is filling in all those spaces that the texture from the plaster gauze creates.  I'd probably try something like this with 3rd or 4th depending on the group of students!  

I have to admit...I was a little disappointed with how washed out these were!!  I'm not sure if the paint had not had enough time to dry...the type of paint I used what not a good enough quality...I just don't know?!?! Live and learn I guess!!  

Our new project for the day was print making!!! Nasco provided awesome brayers, a flexible printing plate, paint....and more!!!  The teachers were excited to take home these goodies when they were done!!  I will say...the flexible printing plate does smell a whole lot like lemon Pledge! ha ha  



Jennifer Cole came to speak to us from the Metro Arts Commission.  SHE IS JUST AMAZING!!!!!!!!  She shared with the teachers the amazing things going on in Nashville with public art, and how they could find out more about public art in their own area!  THANKS JENNIFER..YOU ROCK!!!!!!!


I know I've left out some amazing things!!  We had such a great time...and I am going to try with all my might to make it an annual event!!!  So stay tuned in winter/spring to get the details about the 2nd Annual Art With Mr. E Workshop!


August 21, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Stereotypical Artist

Artists are so often portrayed as messy, unorganized, eccentric creatures. Though I often pride myself in not being the "stereotypical" artist...there are some truths to that we can't avoid.  I personally am not unorganized & don't consider myself "that" eccentric....but I think most artists would find it impossibly not to be at least a little messy.  When I come home from teaching art I usually have something on my face, hands, clothing, and/or shoes.  Unfortunately, I usually have already been to the grocery store, gas station, bank, or a variety of other places before discovering my appearance revealing clues to my profession. 


As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace 
Ephesians 4:1-3

As believers, we should have Jesus all over us.  When people see us, speak with us, interact with us...they should be able to see the signs of Christ in our life.  Though they may not know exactly what the difference is they are seeing....they know that there is a difference.  If people are not seeing a difference in your life then you must ask yourself "WHY?".  Becoming a Christian doesn't make you perfect, your life perfect(or easy), and does not give you all the right answers, actions & reactions.  The "marks" on a Christian are not of perfection, but of humility, gentleness, patience, and love.  The world needs this in the worst way!  Have you been living out your faith in a way that it is all over you?  Can others see the marks/signs of Christ in your life?

PRAYER
Dear Jesus
This Christian life can get messy!  I want others to see
you in me.  I want them to see the difference you make in 
my life.  May I live this life in such a way that it is 
undeniable who I am in You!
In Your Name
Amen

August 15, 2016

ART WITH MR.E WORKSHOP 2016: DAY TWO

(This is Day 2 of the first ever Art With Mr. E Workshop that happened back in June.)

DAY TWO
Our morning kicked off doing a few studio projects before heading to
the Frist Center for our "field trip". Some of them were projects that needed dry time..so they were perfect for field trip day!


We started our morning creating relief sculptures using canvas board and plaster gauze strips.  If you can not afford canvas board for your classroom...cardboard would work too!  If you are worried about too much moisture for cardboard..you can wrap it with aluminum foil before plastering!  You can take this kind of project in a million different directions!!  Still life, portraits, landscapes...it is very versatile!  Be warned though...plaster gauze strips are messy!  I think my 3rd & 4th graders could use them well...but this is for sure a great project for middle/high school!!


If you are overwhelmed with the idea of collaborative projects...here is an easy & quick way to get the whole school involved.  Use large tongue depressors or Popsicle sticks!  I do not recommend the small popsicle sticks...they have too many irregularities in them to place together!  Using pencil or Sharpie(though there is some bleeding with Sharpie)...draw a design/pattern onto the stick.  Then use colored pencils to color them in.  You can limit the color  pallet if you want a certain "look".  The project can be done in 15 min.  After you are done..you can glue them to a black mat board & frame it in a poster frame!  I've seen the poster frames at Goodwill/yard sales....or even pretty cheap at Wal-Mart.  Collaborative projects don't have to take a ton of time or space to have impact!  


I wanted to make sure we did some fiber projects because I feel that area often gets neglected in the art room.  This is an idea I saw done on a few different blogs...but I have seen it done extremely well on There's A Dragon In My Art Room by Phyl.  ( http://plbrown.blogspot.com/ )  She is an amazing resource...so if you don't follower her..PLEASE START NOW!!  The mixture we used for this batik is Aloe Lotion & Tooth Paste.  There are other versions out there that you can use, but this did seem to work well.  Old glue bottles would work best for this to get a controlled flow.  

FIELD TRIP TO THE FRIST

We went on a field trip to The Frist Center  ( http://fristcenter.org/ ).  The show that was up was "different"...but ended up being pretty amazing to see. I am not a "car person"...but seeing the color & design of these automobiles was breathtaking! I think everyone enjoyed it very much.  We also had a blast in Art Quest...the interactive "kid" section of the museum.  We talked about next year possibly doing a tour of some of the public art Nashville has(it is pretty amazing actually...Nashville has grown so much in this facet of art!)


That evening many of us got together for milkshakes!  It was great to be able to "chill" with art people.  I think we miss an amazing opportunity when we don't make time to fellowship with those that do what we do!  We had no agenda, but wonderful conversations came out of our unstructured time naturally!  Plus..those who attended my workshop were just a whole bunch of fun!!! We laughed...A LOT!  

Stay tuned...one more day of the workshop to share with ya'll!!

August 14, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Stay True To You!

 Art is a funny thing.  There are artists that approach their work as an expression of their thoughts, dreams, opinions, experiences, and beliefs.  If their art catches the eye of others...they can make a living from this work. However, they mostly are concerned with creating meaningful & expressive art.  There are also artists that make a living based on creating the work others envision. Though they may not be creating their own "personal" art...they can infuse commissioned work with their own style, and find fulfillment artistically while still getting paid.  Then there are artists that start creating from a personal approach,but begin listening to the opinions of others in order to help gain interest/sale for their work.  I do believe that we should seek the wisdom, opinions, and experience of other artists...we must be careful not to lose ourselves in the midst of others' thoughts.  We must stay true.  Attempting to please others by changing ourselves will leave us unfulfilled & ineffective.  In our attempt to speak to everyone...we will speak to no one through our work.  It loses its "heart" when we try to become more marketable by changing our artistic voice.



Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?  Or am I trying to please people?  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
  Galatians 1:10

As Christians, we have to be careful of not falling into the same "trap".  Some believers are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.  They are unable to connect to those around them, and therefore unable to share their story of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Then there are those who try to fit in so much with those around them that their testimony becomes ineffective.  Their is no difference in their life in relation to the world.  We must seek God first in our lives.  In seeking God, we are not alienating ourselves from the world, but equipping ourselves to be in the world but not of it.  In Matthew 22:37-39  Jesus says, " You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  Love God! Love your neighbor!  This will allow you to keep your priorities straight...and your life in balance.  Be true to who God made you to be...and you WILL glorify him...and bring honor to him.  Your life will be a praise to him!  

PRAYER
Dear Lord, thank you for loving me!
Thank you for making me unique.
May my life reflect your love for all, and may
my life be true to who you created me to be!
In doing so..may you receive all the glory, honor, 
and praise! 
AMEN

August 08, 2016

ART WITH MR.E WORKSHOP 2016: DAY ONE

(SORRY...JUST NOW POSTING ABOUT MY SUMMER WORKSHOP!)

June 20-22 the first ever ART WITH MR. E WORKSHOP took place!  I had been thinking about doing such a thing for many years...but the past couple years my wife really had been encouraging me to "JUST DO IT".  I hear from so many teachers they do not have access to face-to-face hands-on professional development!  Online is WONDERFUL...but there is something about being with your peers working through ideas, sharing experiences, and creating together!  I have always said  "WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER"....and these three days proved it!  We had 15 teachers from 5 states in attendance that represented K-College/University!!  I loved the diversity of our group because it provided for such wonderful conversation.  I'm going to break the workshop into three posts so that I don't totally overwhelm you!  So stay tuned for the other posts.  If you missed out this year....it looks like we'll be trying to do it again next summer!!  Many of those in attendance asked me what the dates were for next year!! ha ha  LOVE IT!

DAY ONE


So thankful for my principal & custodians working with me to get things ready!  I wanted to set my room up as if it were the start of the school year....which meant it had to get waxed first.  I didn't get everything totally start of the year ready...but close!!  That will be wonderful in a few weeks when school starts!

(THESE TWO?!?!? ha ha  Two of my fab former student
 teachers that now work in the same district as me!)


We kicked DAY ONE off with fibers & fabrics!  One of my new favorite lessons is soft sculptures.  I usually use SmartFab(which I do love), but because of time...I went to Wal Mart and found something similar.  It was about $1.50 a yard & came in amazing colors.  If you want to go the SmartFab route ....you can buy a bolt on AMAZON for a great price.  Go in with other teachers and then split it up so you can have a variety of colors!!  


Soft Sculptures are great!! They really can go from K-College!!  I loved seeing the variety in the creations.  This project captures the attention of students when they are allowed to design their own "creature".  It usually takes students about 3 class times, but could go longer if you have the time!  

    


They used felt & craft glue to finish their soft sculpture creatures.


To squeeze in a clay project I came up with this crazy idea!  We hardly ever address carving in the elementary classroom....but I may have came up with a way to do it!!  I pre-pressed these clay patties the last week of school so they'd be dry for the conference.  Each teacher drew an image, design, or landscape into the clay.  They then used pencils, clay tools(plastic), and scissors to remove clay to create relief sculptures.  Clay dust was a minimal issue...you just have to remind students NOT to blow the dust off!! ha ha


The last two projects we created during day one were our Sharpie projects.  We used glazed white tiles(less than 20 cents each), and colored them with Sharlies.  We then flooded the surface with 91% rubbing alcohol, and allowed it to dry.  The other project was tie-dye.  You rubber band your fabric (or whatever method you choose) like normal tie-dye.   You then color the fabric with Sharpie.  You then either mist the fabric with the 91% rubbing alcohol or dip it in a small container.  Allow the fabric to dry over night.


WHAT A PACKED DAY WE HAD!!!!  We also had a guest speaker about art advocacy(my former director  & friend..Carol Crittenden).  











August 07, 2016

Sunday Devotional with Mr. E: Taking Care of Brushes

Artists make something out of nothing all the time.  It is amazing to see what some artists use to create their work.  However, painters often rely on more traditional tools to create their master pieces. Brushes are crucial for painters.  Also, brush maintenance is crucial to painting.  If you do not take care of your brushes, you will shorten their usefulness & life expectancy.  Leaving paint in the hairs/bristles to dry or leaving brushes soak too long in water can ruin them.  Allowing paint to dry can create an unbending non receptive surface for paint to transfer to or from. Allowing paint brushes to soak to long can begin to loosen the hairs and cause shedding to occur.  It can also ruin the finish on the handle of the brush which makes it extremely uncomfortable to use.  An artist knows that to be their best they must not neglect the "house keeping" aspect of their craft.


All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  
2 Timothy 3: 16-17

With all my heart I have sought You: Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I ahve treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you.
Psalm 119: 10-11

Believers can become neglectful of important "disciplines".  Some believers may just not like "disciplines" of faith because they feel too much like work.  However, if we neglect reading God's Word, praying, fellowship with other believers....we are setting ourselves up for a life that does not have the power, impact, or the vibrancy God intended.  Like the ridged bristles of a brush that has not properly been cleaned....we become ineffective in our faith.  We are not able to be used by God as he designed us to be.   Even though discipline may feel like work in the beginning, you quickly realize the importance, impact, and joy faithfully seeking God out in His Word, through prayer, or even having a mentor relationship can bring to your life.  Like the artist knows they must be disciplined in cleaning their brushes to be able to use them to their full potential...so the believer must know that Christian discipline allows them to live out their life of faith to its full potential!  

If this is a topic you may not know a lot about...or would like to learn more about.....may I suggest the book Celebrations of Discipline by Richard Foster.  He also wrote PRAYER: Finding Heart's True Home (another awesome book).    

PRAYER
Dear Lord
Help me to be disciplined in my walk with you.
May I see the joy in knowing you through your Word.
May I learn to hear you voice through the discipline of prayer. 
What a joy to be able to talk to you!
May I be mindful of my need to seek you with all that I am...
and not just my left overs.

In Your Name, Amen






July 31, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Trust

We come to trust our training & experience.  We come to trust our favorite supplies & materials.  We even come to trust a select few to speak truth about our work.  However, that trust does not always easily occur.  I think we naturally question things.  It is hard to "just trust".  When it comes to our art....it is more than "just art".  It is a part of us, our experiences, our emotions, our thoughts, and our view of the world.  It is hard to trust others when we are sharing something we love & care about...and honestly feel is a part of us.  However, if we do not extend ourselves & have faith...we will never see the rewards of our efforts. 


Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb.  It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.  "Take away the stone," he said.  "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."  Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"
John 11:38-40

I've said it before..I have a great deal in common with Martha.  When Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening, learning, and adoring....Martha was too busy making sure everything was perfect that she missed out on what was best.  Now we see her once again missing out on what Jesus is doing.  She over thinks everything (totally me), and forgets the importance of trusting.  I understand her struggle.  She is focused on her loss.  She is grieving her brother's death.  This thing that Jesus is about to do doesn't make sense.   He reminds her though of what he has told her before..."Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?".  Trust sometimes takes reassurance.  If you struggle in trusting God with things in your life.....THAT IS OK!!!  He knows your struggle.  He knows your heart.  Be honest with where you are & share that with Him.  You can see example after example in the Bible of people wrestling with trusting God (Moses, Noah...etc).  You are not alone.  Just remember...if you believe...you will see the glory of God!

PRAYER

Dear Lord...help me to trust in you.
Help me to bring my disbelief to you.
Allow me to see you at work, and when I don't see you at work...may I still trust you to be God in all situations.  
In Christ's Name, Amen  

July 24, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Leave An Impression

Watercolor is my favorite medium.  My favorite thing to do in watercolor is create texture.  There are many traditional painterly ways to create texture, but I enjoy trying more unorthodox methods.  Tissue paper, plastic wrap, wax paper, bubble wrap, salt, rice, lace, and a host of other materials can be applied to a painted surface to create visual texture.  If you apply them too late...the paint has already absorbed into the surface of the paper and any materials applied on top of the paint will have little impact.  If you place them on while it is still wet, but remove them too quickly...the texture will not have "set" on the surface.  However, if you place the materials on while the surface is wet, and allow them to remain until the paint is almost completely dry...you will have a greater/stronger visual texture created.  It is amazing what can happen when the proper amount of contact is allowed to take place.


Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.  
Proverbs 13:20

As believers, we need to surround ourselves with like minded individuals that will encourage, challenge, speak truth, and model Christ like behavior.  We also need to make sure that we are spending time in prayer, reading our Bible, and connected to fellowship.  If we do, we will be like the texturizing material applied and allowed to remain...so that when we are not around other believers or engaged in Christian activities...it is still obvious that we are different.  So often people think they can live the Christian life with little to no contact with other believers.  I also see so many people trying to "get by" without spending time in God's Word or spending time praying.  If this is how we live, we will be like the watercolor that had the materials removed too quickly or applied too late.  There is little to no difference that can be seen between it and the watercolor that had no texturizing material applied. I've heard people say they don't need those things...that their relationship with God is personal.  It is true..your relationship with God is personal, but He has given you fellowship, His Word, and prayer so that you can grow in your relationship of Him!!  If we do not utilize these provisions....how are we any different than the rest of the world?  The difference should be seen in how we live our life, how we treat others, how we respond in the good & bad times, and our relationship with God.  

PRAYER
Dear Lord, thank you for allowing me to 
pursue a personal relationship with you.
Thank you for allowing me so many ways to know 
you...and grow in my relationship with you.  Help
me Lord to surround myself with brothers & sisters that 
will encourage & challenge me in my faith...and model 
what a life lived for you looks like.
In Your Name, AMEN 


July 17, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Slow Down


Many times I've heard artists & art students say that they've had ARTIST'S BLOCK. They look at a blank canvas/paper, and are unable to find the inspiration to create.  They look for something that will spark/reignite the creative spirit within them.  However, so often the true issue isn't a lack of inspiration, but a life & mind that is too cluttered & busy to focus on that which is truly important.  When everything is a priority...nothing can be a priority.  You become so busy trying to juggle it all that you are unable to do that thing you once lived & loved to do so naturally.  The artist must be able to focus their attention & de-clutter all aspects of their life so they can freely create.  


As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.  but Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed- or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."   Luke 10: 38-42

I have to admit that I'm a Martha in almost all aspects of my life.  I pride myself in being a human doing instead of a human being. I multitask pretty much every aspect of my life.  There is a part of that which is truly who I am & how I am wired.  However, I can lose site of what is important as I bury myself with all the good things I can do.  I've had very wise people in my life tell me..."Just because you can do it...doesn't mean you should!"  This is in regards to church, work, family..etc. That is so hard for me.  Because I feel if something is within my power to do...I should do it!  However, when we (I) lay things down...it allows others to pick them up.  God wants to develop others as well!  Plus, by laying things down...I am able to find more time to rest at the feet of my Lord.  I am able to listen (because lets just be real...when you are doing doing doing...you don't always listen real well!).  I am able to learn new things.  I am refreshed.  When all of this takes place, and I do go back to the "doing"...I am able to approach it with the love, heart, and compassion of God.  

PRAYER
Dear Lord... 
Help me to slow down.
Help me to realize this world will go on without me doing everything.
Help me to find my quiet place..even in the midst of the crazy life I live.  
And may I go back to living & doing with a heart refreshed from my time of rest at your feet.
In Your Name, AMEN

July 16, 2016

TAEA STATE CONFERENCE


 Join us for our state conference this Oct!   It is going to be a great time.
                                     

July 10, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: It Leaves A Mark

I ask my students to clean up after themselves...cleaning surfaces, rinsing out brushes, wiping off materials that may have picked up color or residue. It isn't just appropriate for one to take care of the messes they make, it is essential for those who come after them.  Work can easily be ruined by another not taking care of their supplies.  The student that follows comes in expecting a clean surface or clean materials....and the next thing they know their work is marked up & messy because of the actions of another.  I will say that personal responsibility should be taken on the part of all students to check their area & materials prior to beginning.  However, most just assume that the actions of another won't impact them. 

Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
1 Corinthians 15: 33

I have a very diverse group of friends & people that I associate.  I feel that just because I'm a Christian does not mean I must only spend time with other people that believe the same way I do.  How boring would that be?!?!  Plus, I feel that we must get outside of the church walls if we want to have an impact on the world around us.  Jesus made a point of spend time with those the "religious" people would not consider.  However, we must be very careful not to place ourselves in situations or with individuals that will have a negative impact on us. I would not place myself somewhere that I felt would cause me to struggle or would influence my ideas & attitudes in a negative way.  Many people will say, "But it is my ministry!"  The Lord would not place you in a ministry that would corrupt you & your character!  We must take responsibility....knowing ourselves, the people, & the situation well enough to know if we need to be in the midst of it.  Because if we are not careful...it will leave a mark.  So often people just assume they are unaffected by the company they keep and the places they spend their time.  Like the marks on a sheet of paper picked up from an unclean table....we pick up things when we are unaware.  We must protect ourselves & those that look to us for guidance by making wise choices in all we do.  

PRAYER
Dear Lord...so much in this world leaves a mark.
Help me to see what I need to avoid...where I need to invest...
and what you have for me.  I want to be where you want me to be.
In Your Name, AMEN 


July 07, 2016

Need a ArtEd Job?


Need a job? Willing to relocate to Nashville?  Email me!!  
We are looking for a few awesome art teachers!! ASAP

July 03, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Recycled/Trash Art

I love looking at artwork that is created from re-purposed materials. It is interesting how people try to "label" it.  Some people may call the work "Recycled" or "Trash" Art.  It might fall under "Assemblage" or "Mixed Media".  People aren't sure how to classify such pieces, but most would not consider it high/refined art.  However, this work can often yield an extremely powerful response from the viewer.  Everyday items with their own individual story are transformed into a larger/greater story by their connection/combination with other materials.  What once was ordinary or even thrown away...now makes an impact because of the transformation process through the artist's hands.  



He told them another parable: " The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.
Matthew 13: 31-32

People will often compare their gifts, talents, abilities, and training to others.  They may begin to think what they can offer is insignificant, unimportant, or even useless.  This negativity can truly defeat someone who wants to serve the Lord.  

Who did the Lord use to be the father & mother of the nations?
A couple who were well beyond the age of having children!

Who did the Lord use to free his people?
A criminal who had trouble speaking!

What did the Lord use to feed the multitude?  
The small lunch of a boy....who was willing to share!  

See...God does not use the perfect!  He uses those who are available.  No matter how small you may feel...God can use you in BIG ways.  He is able to use his artist's hands to transform your availability into his glory!  Through your willingness...you will grow...others will know...and God will be glorified.  A small seed can do big things!

PRAYER
Dear Lord...help me to see myself as you see me.
Help me to be willing & available to give all that I am...
because that is what you want from me.
In Your Name, Amen


June 26, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: It's Kinetic

Kinetic art captures the attention & imagination of the viewer.  There is something about movement that aids in creating/telling a story that stagnant pieces miss. It gives life to inanimate objects. Kinetic art possesses possibilities that other work does not.  I love mobiles.  It is interesting how the environment interacts with the work to create & change the movement of the piece. They can then be viewed from so many different perspectives.  However, imagine a mobile laying on the ground.  I know...what's the point?  It isn't doing what it was created to do any longer.  A mobile not ...mobile"ing" is just a pile of stuff.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Philippians 3:12

As Christians we can not set still.  If we think we've "arrived"...we have missed the mark, and are missing out on a constantly growing & changing(not that He changes..but we do!) relationship with our Maker.  Becoming a Christian is not the end of the journey...but the beginning.  We move forward in our faith by reading God's Word, fellowship with other believers, prayer, putting our trust in God & his plans, and much much more!  It is active....not still/stagnant.  We must never rest on what was because that will get us no where.  As we take steps of faith...we won't always get it right.  However, if we continue to walk humbly with our God...if we keep moving toward him & his plans for us....if we never stop seeking him first.....those around us will see what a vibrant real relationship with God is all about.  It is not perfect.  We are not perfect. But a kinetic faith...moving, active, going forward kind of faith will speak so much louder than a "faith" that looks perfect but is lifeless/inert.

Dear Lord..
Thank you for actively being involved in our lives.
May we actively pursue knowing you.
May our lives look as if we are walking closely with our God.
In Christ Jesus, Amen

June 13, 2016

Last Chance....

                              

              I have a few spots left!!!  The workshop is next week...so email ASAP!!
If you are planning on coming but haven't sent me your registration forms yet...email me!! I need to make sure I have enough "stuff"!!!  I'm so excited for our time together...we are going to have a blast!
  

June 12, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Portraits


When I started painting, I was very much into portraiture.  I enjoyed the challenge of trying to create an image that not only showed what a person looked like, but also emoted some of their personality.  There can be "issue" with portraits though.  You are telling someone else's story, and that story is the most meaningful to that person & those that know them. Others that see the portrait can appreciate the technical aspects of the work, theorize about the subject of the portrait, and draw connections between the image and their own knowledge base.  


However, when you are faced with the image of another person you do not know...there are natural limitations to your connecting with the art. "I don't know them. I don't know their story. I don't know their connection to the world. Were they nice? Were they funny?  Were they a good friend? Were they caring?"  I stopped creating portraits because I felt their was a disconnect between my work & the viewer.  I wanted to do things that conveyed meaning & connected to the deep parts.  

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down' you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.  You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.   Psalm 139: 1-6

Sometimes we feel like the forgotten subject of a self portrait.  We feel unknown, unloved, and alone.  Life has a way of beating us down at times, and these feeling can creep into our minds & emotions and leave us feeling forgotten. It happens!  Some people struggle with this more often than others, but I believe we all can say we've been their...if only for a short time.  Psalm 139 is a great reminder to all of us that we are known, loved, and never alone.  These are words we all need to hear....and some of us need to post around the house as a constant reminder of God's love!  God has a portrait of you...and he connects deeply with the person he sees in it!  He looks at you with the eyes of a father looking at his child.  Not only does he look at you lovingly...but he does that knowing exactly who you are, what you've done, your strengths, your weaknesses....ALL OF IT!  He knows you...he loves you....he is always there for you (even when you aren't "feeling" it!).  

PRAYER

Dear Lord, Thank you for loving us.
Thank you for knowing us.
Thank you for always being with us.
May we know it...believe it...and live it!
In Christ's Name, AMEN

June 11, 2016

Yeti Art?

I'm up in Ohio for my favorite aunt's funeral....and trying to find the art of the area.  While visiting the store where she was a cake decorator for many years...I found these beauties!!!!



Yeti Art?  Ha ha...I'm sure there is a reason/story behind why they have so many of them....and why they even exist, but for now I'll just have to wonder?!?!!?

....but I feel a lesson/unit plan coming!!!!!! ha ha ha

June 08, 2016

Zoo Art?

While at the Nashville Zoo today....I took notice of the "art" in the gift shop.  So many places have pressed/mold formed Tchotchkes that are pretty much dollar store left overs. I thought these were really great!  It is summer...so I'm looking for art every where I go! 









June 07, 2016

Short Term Summer Gig

I'm working today & tomorrow at the TN Department of Education!!  It's arty...never fear!!  I never thought I'd have the amazing opportunities I've been given over the years!  It is humbling to be trusted with such important work!  



June 05, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Emphasis

 Emphasis & Focal Point are two of my favorite design principles.  Emphasis has to do with bringing awareness to the content of a piece.  Focal Point is where you are high lighting a specific spot or place within a work of art.  There are many ways to achieve both principles, but the result is the same...something is elevated while something else is diminished. This allows the artist to have greater control over the meaning & impact of a piece of art on the viewer.  

"HE MUST BECOME GREATER;
 I MUST BECOME LESS." 
 John 3:30

John the Baptist had quite the following!  It was never his goal to be the center of attention.  He was just living out the calling he had on his life...to point people back to God & to tell them about the coming Messiah.  There John stood..face to face with Jesus...the one he had been speaking about.  He turned "his" followers attention to the one who should have their attention & adoration.  He became less...and placed the emphasis from what would be....to what was, is, and ever shall be! 

I feel that our lives can point people to the Lord if we'd just have the right emphasis.  A person's motives & priorities can speak much louder than their actions & words.  In Luke 21 we see Jesus share that the poor widow's gift was more than the rich even though it was less.  It wasn't so much the amount, but the heart behind the amount given.  A humble heart that loves the Lord & serves Him with their WHOLE life will have a greater & deeper impact on this world.  Their emphasis is not on themselves (a real struggle in this present age), but on the One who gave them LIFE.  

Does your life display the right emphasis?  Does it let the "viewer" know what's most important, or is it muddled and confusing?  What can you do to so the emphasis is clear to others (and yourself)?  

PRAYER
Dear Lord, help me to reflect on my life & see the areas 
that need to be addressed.  Help me to have a life that emphasizes the things that are truly important to me, and reflect you in all I do & say.
In Christ's Name, AMEN 

June 01, 2016

Summer Lovin'!

           
                What is your favorite summer tradition? Strawberry patch for us! 

May 29, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Brushes

In my high school art classes, we used whatever old brushes were available in the coffee can by the sink.  Our teacher never explained to us that there were different types of brushes and that they served different purposes.  Some brushes just didn't seem to work properly as I tried to paint with them.  The thick plastic haired brushes were ineffective in applying watercolor paint to a surface because they could not retain the liquid pigment. The extremely soft haired brushes didn't want to move the thicker bodied paint around the canvases.  I learned through trial and error what brushes to use or not to use.  It wasn't until I was in college that I had a painting professor actually explain to me all the ins & outs of paint brushes. The different types of hair, cuts, sizes....this information made so much sense to me,  and this knowledge allowed my painting to go to a whole new level.  Each brush had a purpose.  Each brush had a job that it was best at doing.  I could use whatever brush I wanted, but it would not perform as it was intended.  


There are different kind of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kind of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kind of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Each of us has gifts & talents that serve a specific & wonderful purpose.  God wants to use these gifts and talents to glorify Him & serve others. 

There was a man who wanted to do whatever the pastor did at church because he respected him & wanted to be just like him.  The pastor helped lead the praise team at the church.  So this man joined the praise team.  However, this man was tone deaf.  He sang loud & wrong.  It threw the rest of the singers off.  They could not do what they were suppose to do because this man was doing a job that was not his to do.  This also meant that the gifts and talents he had been given were not being used appropriately, and the church was not functioning as it should in the area of his true gifting.  Once he realized where he could best serve....and do what he was designed to do....he felt a huge sense of relief and fulfillment.  

If I were to continue to use the soft haired brush to push & pull around the thicker bodied paint...the hairs would start coming out & the brush would look a hot mess!  When we function outside of our gifts & talents, we find ourselves feeling unfulfilled, stressed, and at times even angry.  We all have a purpose here on this earth.  We need to seek out what that is & do it to the best of our ability.  It doesn't matter how "big" or how "small" it is....everything works together to create this amazing work of art we call life!  

Dear Lord, help me to know my gifts & talents.
Help me to use them to serve others & glorify You.
There is nothing too big or too small that You have called us to do.  In everything may I trust you as I walk forward in faith.  
In Christ, Amen

May 28, 2016

First Day of Summer...


       
So Friday was our first official day of summer break(kids' last day was Wed & teachers' last day was Thurs).  I however have a bunch of things to do to get ready for my upcoming conference I'm hosting in my classroom....and my wife is trying to finish up homeschooling(yep..she kicked me out cause she said I'd distract the children?!?! WHAT...ME??? ha ha).  You might notice my bullitin boards are switching to blues!!!(they were green & grey last year)  Stay tuned for posts through out the summer!!!  Mr. E never rests!!!


May 25, 2016

Hand Made Gift for Our Retiring Principal




In the fall I led a PD session on writing in the art room....and had a clay making component.  My principal even participated.  Little did she know she was helping make her retirement present!! I had all the teachers make a coil for the vase using a copied circle(so they were the same size).  They also made two leaves each with words that described our school.  After the session was done I assembled the coils & added a vine wrapping around with many of the leaves dealing with her on it.  SHE CRIED.  We will miss her so much...she has been here for 13 years, and has been so good for our school & community!