September 28, 2016


I decided I'd "TRY" to do a post a week of my favorite books to read to Kindergarten.  This week I'm sharing my favorite dinosaur books with you.  The kids LOVE dinosaurs(I love dinosaurs!!!).  There are some great quick videos online that you can add to your lessons...the kids love when you bring more to the lesson that will capture their imagination!!  These are not all of the dino books I have...but the ones I go to most when I do an extended unit!!!  

Because Underpants cracks them up!!! ha ha

Great story...kindergarten needs this!! 

Fun pictures...great movement!

Great retelling of a classic!!

I mean really...look how cute the illustrations are!!!!

Love these books(there are several!).

Great lesson starter!!!!

September 26, 2016

Random Awesomeness

I do a portfolio review at the end of each 9 weeks. In doing so, sometimes I catch pictures that might have escaped me previously.  While grading this past 9 weeks I've been snapping some of my favorite works!!  GOSH I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!!!


September 25, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: GROWTH

What does growth look like in art?  Is it a more realistic figure, a landscape that shows an understanding of atmospheric perspective, or a still life that shows a mastery of values/shadows/highlights?  Is it being able to capture emotion that translates to the viewer?  Is it the artist gaining a greater understanding of their work & why they create as they do?  Growth can take so many forms in art.  Whatever type of growth...there is one thing that is present for it to occur....HARD WORK!  My students ask me all the time how I became a good artist.  I always tell them that it has taken a long time & a lot of practice.  If you want to become great at any art form or profession (sometimes they are one in the same) must invest yourself in almost every way to accomplish it!  However, growth will happen differently for everyone.

AUG                                       JAN

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.  Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  1 Timothy 4:13-15 

Paul is writing to Timothy, encouraging him to continue to do the things needed to grow in his faith & so that those around him will come to know the Lord and grow in their faith.  He uses the words DEVOTE & DILIGENT when writing Timothy.  These are not words of a passivity.  They are words of action/work. There are many believers that do not invest themselves into their faith.  They said a prayer, go to church, and own a Bible, but not much more than that would indicate their belief.  If you want to grow in your relationship with God, see Him work in & through you, and impact those around takes effort.  I'm not promoting a works oriented faith...because we can not "earn" salvation/God's love.  That is a free gift!  I'm with any have to invest in it!  Paul was telling Timothy that very thing here in this section of scripture.  The growth that happens should not be compared to those around you.  We are all at different points on our journey.  Our journey may not be the same as those around us.  Our strengths, struggles, and gifts will grow/develop/change as we pursue (another action kind of word) our God.  As we spend time in the Word, pray, fellowship with believers, give, sacrifice (oh we don't like that word), serve....we will see growth!  That growth might not look the same in me as it looks in you....but it is beautiful no matter! 

Dear Lord, thank you for growth.
Help me to pursue you with all of my heart so that 
I might grow as I go through life!
May I never be satisfied with average, but desire
to be my best for your glory & honor.

September 21, 2016


Here are the books I used this 9 weeks for my kindergarten unit on fish/under the sea! I often am asked about the books I'm reading to my students that go along with the lessons I teach.  I flip themes from year to year with kindergarten...and this year I went back to fish!  So if you are looking to add to your classroom are some books for you!

One of my favorite books to read to the kids!!!! 
 If you don't have have to get it!!

I'll probably get every book that ever comes out of the Pout Pout Fish!! 

A CLASSIC!  Actually this was my favorite book as a child!!

Beautiful book, the writing is wonderful, and hidden numbers on each page!!
(there is also Somewhere In The Garden...get both of them!!)

Super cute...great colors!!

If the 3 little pigs went underwater..this is what you'd get!


September 20, 2016


There is not an official theme for ARTOBER, but here is an idea for you to consider.  I know most of us elementary art teachers love a good here is an idea you might want to use! 

City Scapes: 1st Grade

I've been doing a city scape unit with my 1st graders. The kids really enjoyed this project a lot...getting to cut out the skylines & creating the details on the foreground!! The following week I put a twist into the project..the kids started by finishing the details & then tracing with Sharpie.  I then showed them Starry Night.  I asked the students how they could incorporated some of Van Gogh's ideas into their picture.  The brought up colors, lines, and time of day.  The end results were pretty great!  Now these are good examples....I did have a few students in every class struggle with cutting the skyline out to stretch clear across the paper(no matter what I showed them...what I said...or that I stood over top of a few and tried to help!?!?).  

September 18, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Purpose

Why do you create?  

The answer to this question drives the artist to create, impacts their work, and motivates them to continue onward when life may challenge them to do otherwise.  I've asked many artists/craftspeople over the years why they create, and I've gotten a novel's worth of answers.  "I come from a long line of creative people."  "I have been trained in ______, so that is why I do it."  "In creating, I've found my true voice."  "It keeps me out of trouble."  "I want to be famous"  "I can say things in my work I could never say otherwise."  .....and their are so many more responses!    However, the reason that always captures my attention the most..."I was born to create."  What an amazing, unshakable, specific purpose for one's life!  If you knew you were born to do something....what could get in your way of accomplishing your goals?  Sometimes people know such things from an early age.  Some may not discover it till later in their life.  No matter, when this purpose is influences the choices in many areas of that person's life so that they may fulfill what they were born to do! Life does happen & can distract one from what they were meant to do, but if it truly is at the core of who they are....they will return to it.  

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" 
Esther 4: 14

The Book of Esther is one of my favorites in all of scripture.  If you have not read it....or read it recently....take some time to do so.  Esther is AMAZING!!!   We find Esther in an amazing position in this verse.  She has just become the queen...and her family/her people are being threatened.  Her cousin, Mordecai, asks her to consider the purpose of her position, and that it might be to save her family/her people.  Now I doubt we will ever find ourselves in such a dramatic situation, but we should consider our positions, purpose, and passions.  God allows us amazing opportunities to glorify Him, help others, encourage others, and make our world a better place utilizing our position, purpose, and passion!  We need to look at those God given things within us....because they were given for a reason!  I feel my teaching is my ministry.  I'm able to love & encourage so many through being a teacher.  It is something I was born to do(I have known since 1st grade that I wanted to be a teacher).

What about you?  Are you living out your purpose?  Has God placed you in a position/place that you might not yet have "seized" the opportunities?  You don't have to be a Queen like Esther....or a teacher!  You might be a neighbor, a friend, and artist, a customer.....if we see our lives as purposeful for God's purposes....He will use us!  

Lord...let me not only see the position, purpose, and passion you've placed in my life, but allow me to use it for your glory & honor!  May these things you've placed in me...made me...may I use them to make this world a better place!  
In Your Name, AMEN

September 12, 2016

Thinking About Being An Art Teacher?

If you are thinking about being an art teacher...please watch my video & know there is an amazing community of us that will be there to cheer you on, encourage you, and help you when you are struggling!!  We are better together!

September 11, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Gotta Have Hope

Artists are often portrayed as being melancholy, aloof, and raging against conventional thought/norms.  There is some truth to some of these characteristics for some artists.  Stereotypes such as these rarely can be applied across the board.   I have a stereotype of artists that might challenge most.....HOPEFUL!  I believe artists are some of the most hope filled people you will ever meet.  They hope to convey their ideas, opinions, dreams, and beliefs through their work.  They hope that they will be able to share these works with others in a variety of settings.  They hope that others will "get" their point of view.  The hope that they can make a living doing what they love.  They hope that they will be respected for their work.  They hope that they will be able to continue to grow & develop as artists.  They hope their work will be known.  They hope they will be known.  They hope they will live to see all the previous hopes!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   Romans 15:13

As believers, we should be known for our hope.  If anyone had a reason for should be those of us who know God & know that we are His.  Unfortunately, I often find that many believers are known for their worries, stress, and negativity.  Hope can not thrive in an environment of worries/stress/negativity.  The hope we have does not exist because we will get everything we want & never endure struggle.  Our hope is in trusting God.  Not only will we have hope in Him...but our hope will OVERFLOW by the power of the Holy Spirit.  If we can overflow with hope, those around us will be impacted by that hope!  Don't we want that?  Shouldn't our lives make a difference because of the hope that we have?  

Dear Lord, 
Help me to find my hope in you.
When worries, stress, and negativity try to overwhelm me...
may I remember who you are & who I am in you.  
May my life reflect that hope & impact those I come in contact.  

September 09, 2016


I love circle weaving...and 3rd grade will be creating their's next nine weeks!!  This summer I received this amazingly huge cardboard circle from an art teacher friend.  I knew I had to create a giant circle weaving!!! I JUST HAD TO!!!!!!!  So it has begun.  I'm sure I'll not finish this year, but I am going to have fun trying!!!

September 08, 2016


This year we don't have a "formal" ARTOBER plan for the elementary schools, but if you want to participate....I have an idea for watch the video below!!!!!
I'll have more information in a later post!!!  

September 04, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Processing

Artists often use life events/situations to inspire their work.  The beauty, pain, joy, and sorrow of the day to day all can change the direction of their art.  Sometimes it is the process of creating that allows the artist to truly deal with life's ups & downs.  After my father passed suddenly from a late diagnosed cancer, I had sketched many drawings depicting the disease as a villainous monster chocking out the beauty of life.   However, when I finally sat down to create the work...I was in a different place, and could no longer paint the image I had originally thought I would.  My heart & mind were no longer obsessing on what took my father from me,  and I could only focus on the life he lived that impacted myself & others for good.  My perspective on cancer had not changed, but I realized through my sketching & processing that I could no longer allow the disease to rob me of my memories or cast negativity on my thoughts of him.  I ended up never creating a finished piece from this time period, it was more about the journey it took me on & not the final destination. 

So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

Being a believer is not about having a "perfect" life.  Accepting Christ as your Lord & Savior does not mean that you will get a "pass" on life's difficulties.  We see in Isaiah that there will be times that  cause fear, situations that will try to knock us down, a need for greater strength than we have, & that we will truly need help.  We can not wish away the struggles of this world.  However, God says....I AM WITH YOU!  Knowing that God is with me in every situation allows me to process the hard times differently.  There will be times I ask Him if He is really there.  I will tell Him how unfair it is & He is.  I will stomp my feet and cry.  And when I am done with all of that..He will STILL be right there with me in the midst of it all.  God being with me through all life's ups & downs allows me to process things differently.  I know I am loved.  I know I am not alone.  This knowledge is comfort.  This knowledge is strength.  This knowledge is peace.  I do not look forward to the difficult times, but I know that I can get through them because HE IS WITH ME!

Dear me to be real as I process through
life's ups & downs.  Allow me to turn to you quickly, and not
rely on my own strength.  May I share the process with those
around me so they can see you in my life in the
good times & the bad.
In Your Name, Amen

August 31, 2016

Fence Project 2016

This is the 3rd year for the Fence Project!  It all started because my old pastor called me up and said that his condo was getting rid of their old privacy fences...and he thought I could do something creative with them.  I am always up for a I got four of them so I could make a "box" of sorts.  The first year we did Kandinsky Circles.  Last year we created The Four Seasons. This year....well....see for yourself!  

It is kind of a team spirit "ish" creation. My AP was like..."I don't get it?" ha ha It is more abstract, but I think super fun & the kids loved making it!!
Our school colors are black & red.

I had 1st - 4th each take turns painting different portions of the piece.  I used a non-woven indoor/outdoor fabric to paint on with acrylic.  I had painted directly on the surfaces in years past, but this summer....and this school year...some of the middle school kids(the middle school is right next to our school)....kicked in a bunch of the boards.  So I thought to give it new life...I'd wrap it!!!  

I had to use heavy duty staples/staple gun...and went overboard making sure it was secure!!  I also sprayed a UV protection coat of acrylic on it to help seal it all in.  I'm not really sure how long it will last, but as with most of this big projects...I'll give it a try & learn from my mistakes!! 

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 aren't overextending yourself to get the things you want from multiple places.  If you were asked to pick only one place to 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 is only when we go to him ONLY that we will bear the fruit we were created to bear!    

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


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

Honestly...I wish we could have had a full week together!  What an amazing group of teachers! We had so much 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 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?

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

August 15, 2016


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

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 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 can wrap it with aluminum foil before plastering!  You can take this kind of project in a million different directions!!  Still life, portraits, 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 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 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.  ( )  She is an amazing 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.  


We went on a field trip to The Frist Center  ( ).  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 more day of the workshop to share with ya'll!!