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!!

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!  

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! 

August 08, 2016



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 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!


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 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 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 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).    

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