January 13, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Careful Thought

As an artist, it is important to reflect on what we have done, what we are doing, and our thoughts on what we would like to do in the future.  It is crucial to have the opinions and critiques of those we respect, but we are inevitably responsible for the direction and implementation of our work. Though art can be spontaneous and occur through happenstance, a majority of art is formed and birthed within the mind before it is ever seen by the world.  We must edit our thoughts and our art work.  To be an artist is to be a thinker.  We must give careful thought to how we want to grow as artists, what we want to share through our art, and how we are going to get there. 

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways." Haggai 1:5 

We see in Haggai 1:5 & 1:7 the statement "Give careful thought to your ways." 
How often do we see this in our world today? We live in a society of reaction and denial.   Have we lost the art of thinking before speak, act, post, Tweet..etc?  Are we so driven by our emotions that we forsake our mind? We must get back to that place where we do give careful thought to our ways. We are not stifling ourselves...we are empowering ourselves to make good choices...to be better people....and to be good examples of what a Believer should be in our world today. I know that if we all slowed down and considered or thoughts, actions, reactions, and emotions...there would be things that need to change. The good news is that you aren't alone! Let's do better in 2019! 

January 11, 2019

Product Review: Cray-Pen

At our state conference I received a Cray-Pen from Nasco, and my in-laws gave me some additional supplies at Christmas for my Cray-Pen.
  However, I'm just now getting around to testing it out!?!?

  ha ha WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME!?!?  ha ha 

If you aren't familiar with Cray-Pen...this is what it looks like.  Crayola has come out with a product that is in the same neighborhood as Cray-Pen, but they do have their differences.   I personally like the Cray-Pen better (I have not used Crayola's version to be fair, but have watched several product review videos on YouTube.). Now the Cray-Pen brand has "pucks" of color, but you can use crayons as well!  Great way to use those end of the year broken bits!!!  Now I originally started on a canvas board surface, and I didn't really like it that well.  It seemed almost too slick to stick.  When I tried it on paper and cardboard...I LOVED IT!  This is a fun product, but I don't know if I'd ever get a class set. It might be good to use with an art club or small group of students. You do need to be careful with the heatedly tip & young artists(or clumsy older artists!).  I'm going to have fun using it though, and I might let my kids use it....maybe. ha ha

January 09, 2019

Changing Things Up!

Nine years ago my PTO purchased the 2 station tables( 2ft x 4ft) for my classroom. I had round tables previously, and was very limited about how I could set up my classroom.  Plus, those tables were old, and had been welded, re bolted, glued, and who knows else what to keep them from falling apart.  

At a previous school I had these 2 station tables & LOVED them.  I really loved being able to set my classroom up in a horseshoe/U formation.  Even though I wanted the versatility of these tables...I knew I'd probably stay with the horseshoe layout.

This year we've had some challenges with one of our grade levels.  All the special areas have been struggling.  I've been at a loss of what I can do to help the situation.  I decided I'd try changing the layout of my classroom to see if that might fix a few of the issues.  The horseshoe worked wonderfully for a majority of my students, but this group of kids can not handle facing all of their classmates...they just don't have the self control.  I decided to do groups of two.  This would allow me to separate students out from each other, have "buffer" students between groups that struggle, and have them turned in opposite directions.  I am hoping this will help create a better environment for these students to be successful.

These are my kindergarten students...
they are not the ones who prompted this change.

January 06, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Willing to listen...

Artists learn so much of their "craft" through listening, observation, and application. This truly goes for all fields.  We must be able to be teachable, and have a desire to grow & improve.  If I would have went into my studio classes with the attitude that I already knew everything....how much would I have learned? I would have missed out on so much from people that were truly experts in their discipline.  I didn't always like everything that my professors had to say to me, but I respected them enough to listen & contemplate what they were saying.  A majority of the time their thoughts, critiques, and advise allowed me to push myself far beyond where I had been in skill & concept.  As I create or teach even now....I hear the voices of those who invested in me.....
because I was willing to listen...observe...and apply.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put into practice.
 And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9

 I believe people come in and out of our lives that are able to model behavior, attitudes, actions, and disciplines that help us to grow in our faith journey.   I believe God places people in our path that can speak the truth we need to hear...when we need to hear it!  Are we willing to listen?  Are we willing to observe? Are we willing to apply?  There are many reasons that we do not do these things!  Pride,  misconceptions, and distractions can cause us to be less than teachable.  Over & over again in scripture we see God do amazing things through people that were willing to listen to Him.  I'm also extremely thankful that we have examples of people that didn't always do the right thing the first time around (David, Jonah, Sampson, Peter..etc) but God "helped" them to listen to Him!  We see relationships in scripture that also model for us what it means to listen, observe, and apply (Elijah & Elisha, Mordecai & Esther, Naomi & Ruth, Jesus & the disciples, Paul & Timothy). Who has God placed in your life that can help you grow in your faith journey?  If you don't have someone....ask God....and be willing to listen!  

January 04, 2019

Professional Development in Crossville, TN

For my last full day of Christmas Break I drove to Crossville,TN (hour & a half drive) to lead a professional development for their district's art teachers(It is a small district with 2 high schools & 8 Pre-K-8th).  They wanted to focus mainly on the new state standards & how they would "work" in the teacher evaluation portfolio. I also through in a studio project...because art teachers NEED the opportunity to make something! ha ha  It was a good day.  We went standard by standard looking at how or if a standard would be used in the portfolio, and what projects could best show such a standard.  My hope is that they felt heard, understood, and better equipped after our time together(and that they had a little fun along the way!). 

So I introduced the teachers to SmartFab...which I use for my stuffed critters.  I also showed them how I teach circle weaving...some got to it...some did not(they really loved making their soft sculptures).  

December 31, 2018

Make Your Mark On 2019

How are you at keeping your New Year's Resolution?


For the past few years I've really wanted to do better about creating my own art work.  There are just so many things that are priorities in my life: my wife, my three children, church, teaching full time, outside educational opportunities...etc..etc!  I DON'T HAVE TIME TO MAKE ART!!!  I can make excuses all day long for why I don't have time to make art, but in that same time...I could have been creating something! I'm so tired of making excuses.  I'm so tired of feeling guilty.  I'm so tired of not using my gifts, talents, and training outside of the classroom.


This is a no pressure challenge!! You don't have to post every day! If you miss a day or two...just start back up again! This is more of an encouragement to create/make! Maybe buddy up & have someone you can share what you're working on.  OR....I'll pin the above picture on my Art With Mr. E Facebook page (If I cAn Do ThAt?!?)...and you can post what you're working on there!! https://www.facebook.com/ArtWithMrE

I used my Christmas gift cards to Michael's to set myself up for success! 

I'm also thinking about reorganizing my
 art supplies so I can get to things easier!

Let me know if you are going to try to join in #MAKEYOURMARK19 ! 

December 30, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Words

 Though we think of art as primarily visual.....words play an amazing role!  They label it, describe it, promote it, compare it, emote about it, praise it, and condemn it. Art creates conversation.  Art is communication.  A title for a work can cause confusion or clarification.  A well written artist statement can set the scene for a work or series of works that will usher the viewer in to a deeper experience because of the context provided.  A scathing review can sway our opinion of a work, artist, or venue.  Friends discussing a work of art or an artist can raise one's curiosity & desire to seek out more information.  Yes, words have a power to impact art in a positive, negative, or neutral way.  

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Words have impact.  Do we really consider this in our day to day?  How much negativity have we allowed to escape through our lips?  How much do we entertain negativity in our ears, minds, and hearts? Sometimes we make excuses.  We call it "playing", "sarcasm", "truth", "honesty", "the way it is"...etc. However we choose to label it....the reality is that it does not build others up, it does not show God's love, and it does not reflect The Word to the world around us.  I love this verse in Ephesians!  We see the words HELPFUL, BUILDING, BENEFIT in relation to our speech. 
 Do your words do that? 

As you reflect on the year that was & the year that is yet to come...consider how you can change the words you hear, read, write, listen, and speak so that you might better reflect the person God has called you to be.  Do your words help, encourage, inspire, build, and benefit? Do they show love, grace, and hope?  Do others want to know why your words, your way, your attitudes, and your actions are different from so many?  Do you lead others to Jesus by your life?

December 28, 2018

Silk Screening/Printing Experiment

Sometimes you see things online & ya just have to give it a try!  
So let me share with  you my attempt at the silk screen project using pantyhose, embroidery hoop, and Mod Podge! I was pretty happy with the results, however...I'm not sure about doing this with a whole class...or whole grade level, but I can see this being an amazing project for small groups/centers/art clubs! 

1)  Buy some cheap Pantyhose! It really doesn't take much to cover a medium hoop.
2) Trim the excess off!  It will get in your way later if you don't.
3) Draw out your design.  You could place a pre-drawn image under the pantyhose, but I was afraid I'd slip and slide.  So I Sharpied it right onto the pantyhose.  
4) Paint on the Mod Podge (note: It is MOD Podge...not Modge Podge.  I did not realize that this ticks some people off when said incorrectly.  You've been warned! ha ha)  Remember that where you place the Mod Podge will remain white/paper color.  Also...pantyhose can be a bit challenging for young artists to "paint" on...so you might need to encourage them to make a thicker/bulkier design.  I think fine details would frustrate them when they apply the Mod Podge.
5) Allow to dry completely.  I did paint two coats of Mod Podge on my design just to make sure it had solid coverage.  One might have worked...but better safe than sorry!
6)  I used acrylic craft paint on mine.  I was afraid traditional printing ink would be too thick.  I placed it along the edge of the hoop.  Not sure how much that matters....but I was just thinking about traditional silk screening/printing.
7) I used an old gift card as my squeegee. You could use cardboard, cut down plastic lids..etc.  It isn't a large area, so use what will work best for the size hoop you are using.  
8)  I'm not sure what happened with my first print?  I printed these one after another...adding a little more paint when needed.  
9) Rinse the excess paint off the surface...CAREFULLY!  Well, that is if you want to use this "screen" again.  I washed mine off under slow running water...and just used my fingers to rub it to help get the paint off.  If you rub too hard or use too much water...you run the risk of removing the Mod Podge.  If you do plan to use it again...I'd recommend repainting it with the Mod Podge just to be safe. 


December 26, 2018

Snowpeople Selfies: K-2nd

I posted at the beginning of December about the day I had taken double classes (see link below)...
and here are the results of that day!  
They turned out super cute...and are now hanging all over the school. 
Their little personalities are undeniable!

December 25, 2018

Christmas Edition Devotional With Mr. E: Respond

I wanted to get this posted at the start of Christmas day...but that did not happen. 
I hope you enjoy this special edition!! 

It is amazing to see how different people respond to art work.  So many factors go into individual responses.  Personal preferences, mood, context, association, exposure, and historical background all play a part in how one will react/respond to a work of art, a collection of art, or an art movement/style.  While a painting may move one individual to tears... the same work may elicit no response from another.   It doesn't mean that the unresponsive individual is lacking artistic understanding or basic human emotion (too dramatic..I'm an artist! ha ha)...it is just their response (a lack of response is still a response).  It also could be that they are having an internal dialog/response concerning the work, but do not show it on the outside.  Not everyone is a verbal processor or wears their heart on their sleeve.  If they feel the need to share....they will.  

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.   Luke 2: 16-20

I love the dichotomy found within these verses.  We see the response of the shepherds after their encounter with the angels, and the response of Mary after giving birth to Jesus & hearing the shepherds share their story. 

The shepherds can hardly contain themselves! Do you blame them?  I think if angels visited me & shared this amazing news...I'd have a hard time being quiet too! 

 I also understand Mary's response.  Her life has just changed.  She is a new mom.  Her child is the Promised One.  She's in a stinkin' stable! Shepherds just shared the most amazing story with her.  Yes, this might cause me to turn inward & contemplate all that is going on in & around me. 

How do you respond when God does amazing things in your life?  How do you respond when you are struggling, confused, or hurting?  How do you respond when your life just seems to be coasting along?  There is no perfect/right answer......but there is a genuine response which comes from within you.  That response may be seen by others at times...or may be between you and God at times.  However, our world is longing for genuine responses to life....not over inflated...not under inflated...not fake....not covered up....just real people responding to real life. They need to see us in our good times...and in our bad.  Doing so allows others to see how a relationship with God impacts life for the believer.  How will you respond?

Merry Christmas 2018

Hoping you all are having a wonderful Christmas....and a well deserved break! 
Stay tuned...I'm still posting over the holiday.

December 23, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Content Not Constrained

Artists can be very emotional & passionate people.  Their artistic expression can be an outpouring of that emotion & passion.  They often create from the extremes they experience in their life.  However, if they were constrained to create only from those extremes, their body of work they would be limited in what & how they worked.  Art is a discipline that is cultivated over time & practice.  It is an ongoing journey that can pull from both the good & bad times of one's life, but often exists in the in-between.  This allows the artist to develop their skills and artistic behavior so they are able to sustain their artistic endeavors no matter their season of life.  They are content to create because it is who they are, how they process, and the language of their life.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

Our lives can, at times, feel like a series of extremes.  The highs are amazing.  The lows are devastating. However, it is in the day to day that we see the faithfulness of the Lord, and can develop our relationship with Him in order to make it through our times of extreme.  If we are constrained to praise him on the mountaintops or cry out to him in the valley....we are missing the beauty of a true relationship with the God.  He wants us to come to him with everything.  He wants us to trust him with everything.  He wants us to rejoice in the blessings.  He wants us to cry out to him in our pains & sorrows. No matter how big or how small the praise or the pain....he wants us to come.  When we develop this response of going to God in our daily life....we learn to trust him....we learn to rest in his arms.  Then...when life becomes "extreme"...we know where to go....we know what to do.  It is a part of our life....who we are, how we process, and the language of our life.  We can be content in knowing our God...in the good times & the bad times. 

December 20, 2018

Clay Project: 4th Grade

II tried something different with my 4th grade clay project this year.  I left it very open ended.  I gave them a lid to work on (which gave them a basic size requirement), and asked them to use addition, subtraction, coil, and texture.  This gave them an opportunity to apply the skills we've worked on K-3rd.  I loved seeing the variety in their work. 
They used tempera cakes to paint their clay after it was fired.