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.  

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.  

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


 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.  

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!

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!).  


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.  

 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)?  

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!  

May 24, 2016

The End is a Blob

So yesterday was FUN DAY at our school! Special area's did not have classes...just had to help out around FUN DAY & Lunch Duty(I'd rather teach classes!).  Most of the day I was taking down the art show(finally...just so hard to take it down after all that work to put it up!! ha ha).  I've shared in the past...I use the wall tack you can purchase almost anywhere.  I'm not brand specific...but the one with the yellow duckie seems to be the best.  I place tape in each corner so the wall tack down not damage the art work(it has an oil in it to prevent drying up).  So it pops right off when you pull the art down.  I know some of this blog is over 10 yrs old!!!  I add a few new packs to it each year. 

For me...this has worked the best to hang my shows/displays.  This year I did not even have one piece come off the walls!!  What do you use??

May 23, 2016

Concerning the Art Teachers Facebook Conversation

Hey friends!  I was made aware of the Art Teachers Facebook Group conversation that my devotional posts seemed to have sparked.  I am not going to apologize for them.  I know I've lost some readers because of them.  However, I saw a need when I started them over a year ago....and still see that need.  They are not for everyone.  However, there are art teachers out there that read them, share them, and use them in their classrooms (I've had many Christian/Catholic school art teachers ask if they could use them to open lessons).  I see many things on the Art Teachers page that I'd never use or might call into question the relevance, but never would I say that teachers should not post what they do.  We are a diverse group, and posts will strike a cord with some people & not others.  That's ok!  I'm thankful that people can connect on that group & help each other through lessons, situations, or just a bad day.  I love that the group comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and faiths!  We all bring a flavor to the amazing Art Teachers melting pot!!  

I blog & post because I love to connect with other art teachers...and hope by sharing my journey I can help & encourage others.  

 I actually loved that the conversation was happening....just because someone doesn't agree with us doesn't mean their view point is not valid!

If you comment on that thread...please remember to be kind...loving...and understanding.  We all come with different experiences, challenges, thoughts, and beliefs.....and can learn so much if we just take time to listen to people where they are in the journey!! 

May 22, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Just A Moment

Hey there friends!  Sorry I did not have the devotional posted last week....I made an unexpected trip to Ohio with my mom & sister to see my fav. aunt (she has always claimed me as her's) who is in advanced liver failure (unfortunately..it is  inherited *hemochromatosis*...and I'm going to need to be tested sooner than later!)  Drove 9 hrs up there Sat...and 9 hrs back Sunday!? I'm thankful I was able to make the trip.  Just wanted to let you know I didn't forget about ya'll!!!

Just a moment, a second, a story, an experience, an emotion....art often captures only a well crafted, framed, directed point in time.  There is much we can gather from any given work of art, but for as much as we see...there is so much more we do not see.   An artist can manipulate an image to be what they want.  Even a photograph can be cropped to remove the context of a work, changing the meaning entirely. 

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.  Ephesians 4:25 (NASB)

So often we conceal/hide our true thoughts and feelings.  We worry about hurting someone, offending others, causing waves, or being the one person to not agree or go with the group.  We put forth an image of what we think others want instead of being true to ourselves and what we know is right.  God's Word reminds us to lay aside falsehood & be truthful!  Now I'm not saying that we should say EVERYTHING that is on our mind.  A filter is good to have! (ha ha)  However, we live in a world that often prizes neatly packaged people pleasing pleasantries.  What the world needs though...is honesty...TRUTH.  Sometimes honesty isn't easy...or pretty!  Yet, honesty is what allows us to grow....as an individual & as a community.

As brothers & sisters in Christ, we must be real with one another.  "How are you doing" & "Fine" for our interactions is not acceptable.  We must get beyond the surface, and seek out real relationships that encourage & challenge us to be honest followers of Christ.  This type of relationship does not allow us to accept the well crafted version of one another.  It requires us to truly know each other...which takes time, energy, love, grace, and forgiveness.

For those who are not believers....they too need us to be honest...REAL!  They have seen enough examples of people that say one thing but live completely different.  What if we were real?  What if we were honest?  What if we acknowledged that we don't have it all together?  Could that be what catches the attention of the person who doesn't know Christ?

We can craft our art to say exactly what we want it to say....but we need to live our life out loud!  We need to be real.  What is holding you back from a life that is honest & true

Dear Lord,
Help us to be real.  Help us to live a life that is based on Truth & Love.  Allow us grace for ourselves and others....that we don't feel we have to live any other way.  Let us love ourselves & others enough to accept truth with it is spoken to us.
In Christ's Name

May 21, 2016

Rizzi Collage: 3rd Grade

My students loved the work of James Rizzi! 
(Be careful about what images you select to share!!!)
We created our pictures in collage, but I know people that have done them as drawings, paint, and even clay!  It really can be a fun and versatile inspiration piece

I love the variety of their work.  

May 13, 2016


Just a reminder that my summer conference/workshop is going to be June 20-22 here in Nashville,TN!  If you'd like to attend...please contact me and I'll get you all the important information.  We're not full yet, but I want to make sure it doesn't get too large...because I want to spend time with everyone!  

May 10, 2016

1st & 2nd Grade Self Portraits

I don't usually have two grade levels doing the same thing at the same time.  Our curriculum isn't really set up that way...and I'd get bored!   However..with the end of the year upon us...I love to do projects that show the students(and myself) their growth!  I've been so excited by the amazing work my students are producing!




May 09, 2016

Multicultural Fair Banners Complete: K-4th

Our Multicultural Fair ended up being a HUGE success!! We had so much wonderful parent participation...our school cultures were well represented. I was amazed how many people brought samples of their food...it was a delicious trip around the world.  The banners I had my student created turned out great...and everyone seemed to really love them.  Very proud of my kiddos for the work they did on the banners...as well as many art projects they did extra in their classroom to hang in the halls!