April 26, 2016

Art Dad

My son wakes up at the crack of down and starts playing!  As I was getting ready for work the other day, Eli comes into the room with Merc (character from a show he loves!).  "Daddy, can you fix Merc?"  I looked...he had snapped his neck off (4 yr olds & skinny necks are not a good mix). Not sure I could...I told him I'd take it to school and try.  I found some super glue when I got to my room & went to work.  I decided to have a little fun once I realized his neck was pretty secure.  Here are the adventures of Merc in the Art Room!
(If you haven't seen me use PicCollage in the past...it is one of my fav apps on my iPad!!!  I love creating things on it!!! It is super easy to use...check it out!!)

April 25, 2016


My baby girl turned two today!!  Caroline Joy is a fireball...so fun, adventurous, and loving! (she really gives the best hugs & kisses!!!)  We are so blessed by her in our family.
She keeps things very interesting!  

April 24, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Over Our Heads

Art history has always been a struggle for me. Most classes were set up as pure memorization and regurgitation of information. The volume of facts per test was like attempting to drink from a fire hose.  Coupled with the fact that a majority of my art history professors seem to speak only a language other art historians would understand, and you now know why my lowest grades in college were in art history.  I remember setting in class wondering how I'd approach teaching the information ( that's the kind of thing teachers do ).  The information felt inaccessible.   I wished that the professors would meet me where I was, and not speak over my head.  There was one time I felt completely lost, and I asked a question.  The professor literally said, "Let me dumb this down for you!" That was the last question I asked in art history.  

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters.  When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power.  1 Cor. 2: 1-5

Paul was a man of great intelligence. He was extremely persuasive in his speech.  He could have easily spoken over the heads of those he was trying to minister, and in doing so become completely ineffective.  However, Paul meet people where they were.  He brought his message down to the most crucial elements, Christ and him crucified.  He was not speaking down to people.  He was speaking to their need.  He showed them the Spirit's power, not his own.  He gave them Jesus, not Paul.  

Our testimony is one of the most important tools we have in sharing God's message with others.  We need to strip away all the churchy language, clever analogies, and "insider" information, and get back to the basics.  People don't want to hear how "holy" you are, they want to know what God has done for you.  They don't want to know all the rules and regulations....they want to know why/how Jesus makes a difference in your life?  They want to be able to see their story in yours.  

You don't need all the right words
....you just need to humbly share your story. 


Dear Lord, help us to be able to share our story of faith.
Lord let us remember where we were before knowing you, 
and be able to tell others how you've loved us & the difference that had made in our life. 
We ask that you also give us boldness to share our story & opportunity.  
In Christ's Name, Amen

April 22, 2016

Mayor's Art Show Selections...

The Mayor's Art Show is a big annual visual arts event at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts!  They break Metro Nashville Public Schools into two sessions based on clusters(we area  huge district...and it would be impossible to fit everyone in..art wise...parking...really in every way!!).  It is such a great event.  We are allowed to select 2 works of art per grade level(that is kind of hard!!).  In the halls of the museum they hang high school, middle school, and elementary side by side...and you are able to see amazing artists at every level  under their amazing art teachers  direction.  On the night of the official opening...the mayor of Nashville comes to speak to the students, parents, and teachers attending the event.  Then everyone is dismissed to the halls to mix, mingle, and look at all the amazing art.  The mayor will walk the halls...speaking to the students & getting her picture taken with them.  It is a great memory maker for the kiddos!!!  I will take pictures that night too...but for now...here is the work I've selected! 


1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

April 19, 2016

Evaluation Time W/ My Peeps

Spring is a crazy busy time for all of us in the arts! Programs, shows, squeezing in the last bit of learning before summer break....SO MUCH GOING ON!  I've got another layer added on to the craziness...I'm on the state team for evaluating visual art portfolio's for teacher evaluations.  I love doing it.  I get to be a part of helping teachers celebrate their strengths & find areas they might need to improve (Lord knows I have a bunch of areas to improve!!!).  This is our 3rd year in TN(not all of TN is doing it, but the larger districts are...and several smaller) doing this portfolio review.  I love that 50% of my score is no longer based on math/reading scores on standardized testing!!!!  

These are my friends...some I've been with since the beginning of my career!!
Some we've picked up along the way!! :)  

April 17, 2016

Sunday Morning Devotional With Mr.E: Plein Air

Many artists create in a studio.  A studio is safe.  A studio is comfortable.  A studio is controlled.  However, unless an artist gets out of the studio...their work will become stale.  "Plein Air" painters abandon their studios in favor of being in the elements.  They embrace the unpredictability of being outside to gain the benefit of creating in the moment.  There can be issues that arise.  Heat, cold, bugs, interruptions from their surroundings, wind, lacking a larger selection of supplies, lighting changes, and a host of other issues can cause "plein air" painting to be challenging.  However, the artist knows that the issues they face are worth the opportunity to embrace the moment for the sake of their art.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  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 4:11-13

Many people try to control every area of their life.  They create a false sense of security by attempting to plan, prep, and prepare for all things.  Their world does not embrace the moment because it is unpredictable.  Though planning, prepping, and preparing are all good things....we cannot isolate ourselves from life.  Life happens. We must learn to find contentment in whatever we face. Sometimes things do not go our way.  Sometimes things go horribly wrong.  Sometimes things are amazing.  Sometimes we are blessed beyond our imagination or what we think/feel we deserve. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds of "for everything there is a season".  Our contentment does not come from our circumstance, but it is founded in our HOPE!  We know that if we follow Christ, we have a hope & peace that passes all understanding in all situations.  In having this...we can embrace all that life has for us.  We can find the beauty in the everyday, the special times, and even in the trials we face(knowing that they are a time to trust the Lord in a knew & greater way...and that those trials build our testimony in which we can minister to those around us).  


Dear Lord, please help me to live life in You!
Help me to find my contentment in You!
May my testimony bring You glory because it is
Your story lived out through my life.
May I embrace today..knowing You are already there..no matter what I face!!
In Christ's Name, AMEN

April 14, 2016

Abstract Expressionism: 2nd Grade

I know many art teachers that are afraid to pursue classroom discussion with young artists about "WHAT IS ART"?  It is a big topic that might be hard to wrap YOUR mind around...let alone 7 yr olds?!?! ha ha  The thing about it...kids do love to share their thoughts....AND TRUST ME...they have a lot on what is & isn't art.  Facilitate conversation without fear of answers...let students express their ideas, but be there to ask them WHY?  

I love this abstract expressionism lesson.  The students were so awesome with their questions & thoughts when we looked at a variety of pieces from this style.  They were excited to get busy & EXPRESS themselves once discussion was finished! 

April 13, 2016

Matisse Inspired: 4th Grade

This year instead of doing clay house/building facades, I decided to do an interior space looking out.  We used Henri Matisse's Egyptian Curtain as our inspiration.  We discussed addition, subtraction, etching, and other clay techniques..and how they needed to apply them in their work.  

I had students paint their work with watercolor. I've shared this in the past...I do not have a vent or the extra funds for glaze. So painting them with watercolor works just fine for us! 

April 12, 2016


So this marks the 15th K-4th art show I've done at TGE! Time flies so quickly.  It is also pretty amazing how much you learn over time to help with such an enormous task (this year 530 pieces of art hung).  Unfortunately...there are also things I never seem to learn & stress out each year(I think I live on stress some times?!?!).

This post I'll show you the whole sha-bang!  My plan is to break grade levels down...as well as tips for putting on a successful art show, and I place that in a series of blog posts.  I'd love to hear how you handle doing an all school art show as well!!  This old dog likes to learn new tricks!!! 

I'm in charge of the main hall boards...self promotion at its finest!!

My kids acting silly in front of the inflatable robot (something we already had at the school... thought it was a great way to advertise for the show!!)  
We are a Title 1 school (80%+)...so it is important to keep records of how many people attend our functions.  Plus..I like to see how the numbers stack up to years past.  The baskets contain THANK YOU cards that the kids made for those who attend.  We only had two left over...pretty good!! 
Activity table!!  I started doing activities at my art shows a few years ago. I love seeing the kids make things along side their parents/grandparents!!  
Here is the end product of the activity table!!


Kindergarten did a mixed media project. They used crayon, water color, and construction paper.


1st Grade did tempera paint robots with a pattern background (construction paper crayons). 


There are three different projects I displayed for 2nd grade.  There was a real struggle for consistency in this grade level's projects.  I ended up doing several under the theme...and letting them select their favorite. 


I hate to play favorites, but this project was my favorite out of the whole art show. The variety blows me away...and level of craftsmanship is WONDERFUL!  The students spent about three weeks on it.
The first week we painted alien landscapes.  The second week they created a unique rocket ship.  The third week they used colored pencils to add detail and "FINISH" the picture off.  I want to take half of them home with me!!!! ha ha 


4th grade has two different projects they chose from.  I liked both lessons..and really was happy with their choices.  I feel it shows a great level of accomplishment, and that they are ready for 5th grade!