June 25, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: The Moment

. I will never forget the day I saw Vincent Van Gogh's work for the first time in person.  I was visiting a museum and turned the corner to come face to face with four of his paintings.  The placement was perfect.  The lighting was perfect.  It all seemed so perfect.  I sat down on the bench that was situated facing the wall of Van Gogh's work, and soaked in that moment.  I think I could have sat there all day. For a time I just sat in awe.  Then I began to observe the color, texture, movement, and subject matter of each piece.   I once again sat in awe.  I thought about all I had studied of Van Gogh, the history that surrounded the work, the life these paintings had lived, and the fact that Vincent himself had touched each painting with his masterful hands.  I went back to setting in awe. In that moment nothing else seemed to matter.  I was in the presence of greatness.

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  Psalm 27:4

Sometimes we get distracted with life.  Even when we know we should be living in the moment we can find ourselves thinking about what is next & all we have to do to accomplish that task.  We could be distracted by relationships, work, home, or play, and all the would have, should have, could have that wasn't regarding those things.  It seems rare that we can embrace "the moment" and be fully present there.  Our minds are preoccupied on the past, present, and future and it rob us of the moment.  I believe if we take the time to know our God, work on the relationship we have through faith, read His word, spend time talking to Him through prayer, and just "BE" in His presence...we might actually experience more of what the author of Psalm 27:4 is speaking.  If you read this verse and find yourself disconnected from the author's heart/meaning....maybe you need to slow down & get to know your God better.  If I hadn't known all that I did about Van Gogh, if I had not studied, if I had not spent time looking at images of his work....I probably could have walked by with just a passing glance. But because I knew Van Gogh & his work....I sat in awe.  Because I recognized the marks of the master....I had to set quietly in the moment & take it all in.  I see people pass by many things in our world today...not realizing the Master's hand in it.  I want to be someone who can embrace the moment, and praise the Father for who He is & what He has done.  I want to set in awe of Him.

June 19, 2017


In getting ready for my kids camps this week & my teacher workshop next week...I've been shopping!  I went to SMART (Scrap Made Art) Supply Store during their $25 a week sale.  LOOK AT THE FUN STUFF I GOT!!!  Worth so much more than the $25 I spent!!!  
Learn more about SMArt at the link below! 

June 18, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: You Can See It

Many artists are like walking billboards for their craft.  When you are so passionate about something, it shows.  It comes out in how you talk, what you talk about, how you live your life, where you invest your time & money, and even sometimes on your clothing!   Your home & the homes of your friends & family look like your personal galleries.  It will often be that those you are close with will also sing your praises everywhere they go, and share your gifts & talents with others.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1

The artistry of God is undeniable.  His amazing work is everywhere we look.   However, we can become numb to this fact as we go about living our lives.  We can become distracted with work, family, friends, entertainment, or a host of other things vying for our attention.  When life becomes challenging, bad things happen, or stresses/worries threaten to overtake us....we can be reminded of God's goodness through the proclamation of His creation.  If we were to just look up & outside ourselves for a moment, we would be able to see the fingerprints of God all around us.  This brings such a reassurance of His faithfulness in our lives.  It reminds us of His awesome power.  It shows us of His never ending love for us.  

If you are struggling...make the time to spend with God in the midst of His creation. Being surrounded by His handy work reminds us that we can trust Him with all the things that are troubling us.  Even during the storms of life...His peace is real.  He is there.  He will meet you where you are. 

June 11, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Lighting is Everything

There have been many times that I've worked in rooms which were poorly lit.  Lighting is as important as quality supplies for an artist.  Often though, eyes adjust to the condition of  a room, and one believe that they are able to see just fine.  It isn't until the work is brought into a well lit room that the artist sees their glaring issues precipitated by lighting.  Sometimes they are minor things that can be quickly corrected.  However, there have been times that I've had to start completely over because the issues were too great.  Allowing yourself to believe you are "ok" to continue in darkness will create issues that will have to be dealt with at some point.  

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  John 8:12

The imagery of light is used throughout scripture.  It is something that everyone can understand.  When you operate in the dark bad things can happen.  How many times have I kicked my toes on the side of the bed when I've tried to find my way in the dark.  I thought I could handle it....making my way from the bathroom to the bed with the lights out.  We think we can until we can't. We usually come to that realization because of negative outcomes.  There are many times in our life where we think we can do things on our own.  We feel that we know what is best, and we don't need the Lord's guidance.  WE'VE GOT THIS.  And you know what...we do have it...right up until we don't.  Then what?  Where do you turn when you realize the darkness you've been walking in has betrayed you. You look at your situation, your life, your relationships, and you see the holes in them.  You see that things don't appear as good as you once thought the did. The good news is that you can find your way when you turn to the Light.  That light doesn't just illuminate the negative where you find yourself , but it guides you to the path of where you truly want & need to be.  The lighting is everything!!

June 06, 2017

Reflecting On A Year That Was

So even though school has been out for over a week now...I've been back to my room 3 times!?!!?  
I wanted to finish cleaning my supply closet (my one place of disorder in my room), and wanted to start prepping my bulletin boards for next school year.  Today I'm back because I forgot something I needed for the summer.  In another week or so I'll be back to start setting up for my summer workshop?!?!?!  I promise...in July...I more than likely will not be back to my room (I think?).  

With my room looking like this...it makes me very reflective of what I've done, what I could do better, and what needs to change.  We all need to tweak things...even with 20 yrs under my belt...I know that I've not arrived & can not cruise on through till retirement (which is probably not in 10 yrs when I hit the 30 yr mark of teaching...because I'll only be 53 & I'll have an 18 yr old, a 16 yr old, and a 13 yr old!  Yep...Mr. E will be teaching till he is a 100!!! ha ha)  I had an especially odd year with my diagnosis and subsequent 101 trips to the doctors (I'll share an update soon on my health!!).  I'm looking forward to getting back to "normal" & being more mentally/physically present doing what I love!!!

What are your tweaks/changes for the new year?

(My room is going to be very colorful this year...after the past few years being more subdued)

June 04, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Smells Like...

I love the smell of art, art making, art supplies, and art places!  Smells have a way of transporting you to a time & place where your memories connect to your senses. I think these smells stick with me most of all because they revolve around where & what I've invested so much of my life.  I spent hours with my Aunt Bonnie coloring as a child.  She had an old cookie tin she would keep the crayons that she collected from the floors of the school I grew up going to where she was a custodian.   That cookie tin had such a distinct smell, but every once and awhile I catch a whiff of something that reminds me of it.  Instantly I'm back on the floor coloring with her.....my start in art.   I've used the same watercolor palette since I was in college.  Watercolors have a distinct smell about them as well. I smell the paint, see the colors, feel the palette....and I'm reminded of so many hours, ideas, works of art, successes, and failures.  It is just amazing how a smell can remind you of so much more than the object producing the odor.  

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ has loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.  Ephesians 5: 1-2

Is it odd to think God can "smell" things?  Ephesians uses the term "fragrant aroma" in regards to our offering & sacrifice to God.  This aroma is connected to our heart, mind, and effort as we strive to serve God.  He calls us to be imitators of Him. He calls us to walk in love.  He calls us to be like Christ.  The aroma is so much more than one "thing"...it is connected.  It should smell like...JESUS.  Our good works are like dirty rags(Isaiah 64:6).  I can't imagine that would smell very good to the Lord.  It is a reminder though that we can not live this life out of our own efforts. It is through Christ, in Christ, and because of Christ that we are sons & daughters of God.  The ultimate offering & sacrifice was the life & death of Jesus. (The ultimate victory was rising from the dead!)  I want people to see Jesus in me.  I want people to feel & know the love of Christ through my words, attitudes, and actions.  And I guess...I want people to smell Jesus too! ha ha    

May 28, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Done?

One of the most challenging questions artists & art students ask themselves is "Am I done?".  You don't want leave a work appearing unfinished, but you also do not want to ruin it by doing too much.   I think most of us err on the side of overworking our art.  We don't want to give up until we've given our all to communicated our vision.  So when is a work of art done?  Honestly, I've matted & hung a painting before, but then taken it down and worked on it some more. I believe there is a heart and head connection that happens when we know we've done our best, communicated our vision, and are ready to share it with others.  That's not to say we won't question its "doneness" again, but we have found a peace in the level of completion and effectiveness in our work. 

And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. -  While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.  But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, "Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well."  - Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, "Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep."  And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died.  He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, "Child, arise!"  And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat.  Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.  
The whole story can be found in Luke 8:40-56

Done.  How many times in your life have you questioned if you are done?  Done with a relationship, done with a job, done with something you thought you were meant to do or meant to be......just DONE!  Things didn't work out like you thought.  It wasn't as easy.  It wasn't as fun. It required effort.  It didn't happen like you thought it would.  In your mind the easiest thing would be to call it done and move on with your life.  I do believe there is a time to be done with somethings(or someone), but too often I've seen people give up exerting little to no effort. I believe we do have a responsibility to put in the time & effort, but we also have the responsibility to bring it to the Lord. There are many things we see as impossible that ,with God, are possible. Sometimes we will see Him do amazing things to change the situation.  Sometimes we will see Him change our perspective on the situation.  Sometimes He will lead us to move on.  No matter, all things can be used for His glory & His honor.

May 26, 2017

In the Art Room Jammin'...

Love jammin' to Mandisa in the morning!!! I've got so much still left to do to get my room summer ready!??!  Though...I'll be back in just three weeks for the 2nd Annual Art With Mr. E Summer Workshop!  Hope you all are having a great end to your school year...I know a few of you area already done!!  I'm actually prepping for next year as I am cleaning up! Already put up my fabric on my bulliten boards for next year(doing primary & secondary colors...it is going to be a BRIGHT year!)...and I'm putting my new chair footies on!  

May 24, 2017

Another School Year Ends

We are at the end of another school year!  It is hard to believe how quickly the year & years pass by.  I know that makes me sound old...and I kind of am.  This was my 20th year in Metro Nashville Public Schools (though officially 19 because I subbed one of those years).  So much has changed over the years!! 
However, what stays the same is 

 THE KIDS (even if they don't act like it) NEED YOU! 

I know that at this point in the year we are just tired...done...burnt out.
  You know why that happens?  

Because you care about what you do! 
Because you give all that you are! 
 Because teaching isn't easy!!!! ha ha  

Please know you are valued!!!  I'm so glad you are out there teaching art to children of all ages!!  The world needs more of you!  

Now go clean up your room...get yourself set up for next school year...and enjoy your summer.

May 21, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Changed

Clay is all about change. You can mold, roll, pierce, press, throw, bend, carve, and texturize clay.   After all of that, if you don't like it you can smash it and start all over again. Even if you let it set out and dry, it can still be turned back to a "mud" by placing it in water.  It isn't until you fire it that true change happens.  When clay meets the proper temperature & time....it will never be the same....it can never return to what it once was. 

Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way.  When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your hourse."  And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly.  When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the gues of a man who is a sinner."  Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much."   Luke 19:3-8

Those who knew Zaccheus knew who and what he was.  They had witnessed his crooked ways.  They did not trust him.  They did not believe he could or would change.  When Jesus not only acknowledged Zaccheus but invited himself to his home....it got people talking.  They couldn't believe Jesus would even associate with such a person.  I'm sure Zaccheus was a bit shocked as well. However, an encounter with the Lord changed this man...he would never be the same...he could never return to who and what he once was.  

Change can happen: in your life, in the life of someone who you love, in the life of someone you might think will ever change.  God can use anyone, anywhere, anything, anytime to bring people to that point of change.  He meets people where they are at...not where we or they think they should be. 

May 17, 2017


They loved circle weaving in 3rd grade!  They have loved weaving in 4th grade!  I hope that they have more opportunities to weave in middle school & high school art.  Here are a handful of weavings from this year.  I allowed theme to select 4 regular colors & 1 specialty yarn.  I'll try to post more as the last couple classes finish up this coming week!  

May 14, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: TIRED

When I was in college, the art building was just as active at night as it was during the day.  I'm not sure what it is exactly about us artistic type?  We seem to thrive creatively when we are exhausted.  Maybe the night offers the silence we need to create?  Maybe it is in the night we finally find our voice while all the other voices are at rest?  Or maybe it is when we are at our most tired, our minds can let down their guards enough to create freely. I remember one finals week where I went almost three days without sleep.  A mixture of procrastination, 18 credit hours, and working 20+ hrs a week probably had something to do with it. I'm not trying to romanticize it.  Trust me, it wasn't pretty!  Maybe that is why artists are often thought of as moody or brooding...THEY ARE EXHAUSTED! Such creativity seems to come at a cost at times. Such a pace can not be sustained.

He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.   Isaiah 40:28-29  

Though I do not keep the same schedule I did while in college, As a husband, dad, teacher, blogger and artist.....I'm tired A LOT!  I stay up too late.  I over commit. There just aren't enough hours in my day.  In the midst of all these other "responsibilities" (really they are joys/blessings/privileges)...I'm also a child of God.  I have been given these many blessings in my life so I could grow in my knowledge of God & make Him known.  In my "wisdom" (or lack there of)....I can not seem to make it all work.  BUT GOD CAN!  He meets me in my TIRED & He challenges me in my EXHAUSTED.  He reminds me... I AM ENOUGH!  I AM YOUR STRENGTH. YOU CANNOT DO THIS ON YOUR OWN......BUT I CAN!   Isaiah reminds Israel that though they may be tired & weak...God never will.  This truth brings such peace.  This truth brings rest for a tired & weary soul.  
How are you feeling today? Are you tired? Feeling faint?  Has life seemed to rob you of the rest you so desperately need?  Look where you've placed your faith.  Is it where it needs to be? 

May 10, 2017

2nd Grade Coil Pots: Completed

My 2nd Grade students are completing their coil pots this week.  I'm really loving how they look this year.   I do not glaze(no hood/vent & kiln in my room)...so I'm having them use watercolor on bisque clay.  Then I put a coat of tempera varnish on top to give it some shine & to protect the paint.  Some years I use acrylic or metallic acrylic.

May 07, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Not Exactly Perfect

When I was in college, I could always tell the graphic design students in my watercolor class.  Not only did they usually dress "preppy", but their work had a certain "quality" to it.  It was technically AMAZING!   Dare I say "perfect".  However, with that perfection came a lack of heart.  It would often look like wallpaper.  Over the years, I've noticed in my own work a lack of "heart" when I focus my attention on technical perfection.  Though skill & mastery of a medium are important, art without heart is just wallpaper.  When art attempts to obtain perfection it sanitizes & mechanizes the process of creation to a point that disconnects from the intent/heart of the creator.  There is power in the passion of an artist, not their perfection.

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  


Have you said or felt any of the above statements?  Have you heard others say them?  This comes from the lie of perfection.  None of us are perfect.  Some may seem like they have it all together, but that is only a perception(either projected or assumed).  Do we have strengths....yes.  However, God often wants to use as just as we are...right where we're at.  Sometimes that might be in our strengths, or sometimes in our weaknesses. He just wants us to have an open & willing heart.  When we become uncomfortable with our weakness...we start saying things like "I'm not ready...I'm not good enough...I don't have enough training...So & So would be better at this.."   As if we could somehow convince God that He got it wrong in wanting to use us?!?! ha ha  When we realize we are weak...that is when we are strong...IN HIM!  What have you been making excuses for?  What do you need to step forward in faith with & trust God?  In your weakness He will show His strength.....trust Him!!! 

May 05, 2017

Kinder-Awesome Portraits!

If you have been here at least a few times...you know I LOVE kindergarten!  I love them...their art...their honesty!  It is a joy and a privilege to teach them.  This week we've been using a mirror to help us draw self portraits.  I reviewed facial proportions & the shapes we use for the different parts.  Some of the students NAILED IT!! They are technically amazing for kindergarten! However, even the ones that weren't "technically" there...showed truly wonderful expression!  These portraits make my heart happy!

I saw this one & instantly thought of Flynn Rider from Tangled!
This kid has the "smolder" going on! ha ha 

I love the details of this..just precious!

This guy on the left looks like he is giving the stink eye.

I don't know if I ever look like either of these..but I have days 
I for sure feel like these!!!!

May 04, 2017

2nd Annual Multi-Cultural Fair At TGE

This is our second year for the multi-cultural fair at our school!  Last year it was a smashing success!  I still have my K-4th Art Show hanging...but wanted to join in on the multi-cultural goodness!!
K- USA    1st- AFRICA    2nd- SOUTH AMERICA  
3rd- ASIA  4th- MEXICO

I've included a link to last year's offerings!  

May 02, 2017

Training Day

What happens when friends that have been together for two decades go to a training day...

We had a training day for the portfolio system we use for teacher evaluations.  Though this kind of work can be dry at times...there is never a dull moment when you get our crew together.  There are always more than enough snacks...laughs...and stories to make for an awesome day together!!  OH...and we did our training too! ha ha

I hope you all get to enjoy training days as much as we do!!! 

April 30, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Accept No Imitations

After twenty years of teaching art, I've become very particular about the supplies I purchase for my classroom.  I know what works & what doesn't.  I know that if something says "WASHABLE" I  don't want it.  In theory it is a great idea, children & art supplies can become really messy at times.  From the outside the products even look the same.  However, when you go to use them for what they were intended....you realize it is a poor imitation of the real thing.  Washable glue is extremely thin & watery.  It warps paper & doesn't really create as strong of a bond as regular glue.  Washable crayons are spotty when you color and do not have as nice of a coverage.  Washable tempera paint is transparent, and takes multiple coats to get the color to become close to opaque.  Though "real" supplies can be messy at times...I will accept no imitations.  The risk of the real thing far outweighs the results of the imitation.

 "Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of traditions learned by rote."
Isaiah 29:13

There are several places in scripture that talk about those who "appear" to be people of God, but their heart & actions do not match their appearance.  Lets just say...it is never good for them!  Scripture is very clear that this type of imitation is not pleasing to God.  The Lord has never wanted our "appearances"...he wants our heart.  He doesn't want us to fake it...he wants us to live it.  That can get messy.  That can get ugly at times.  We can make mistakes.  However, the results are so much more beautiful & pleasing to the Lord than those who just appear to do the right thing & have it all together.  When we look at the "heroes of the faith" in scripture, we will see that none of them had it all together. They made mistakes, were selfish at times, doubted God...and so much more!  Yet God chose to use them. Why?  They were real with Him!  They came to Him humbly & broken hearted for their sin.  They knew that in & of themselves they could not do it, but with God.....ALL THINGS WERE POSSIBLE!  Sometimes in our world today...they say FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.  That is not what God wants from us.  He wants us to be real.  He wants us to come to Him as we are.  Bring Him your messy.  Bring Him your pain.  Bring Him your questions.  Bring Him Your doubt.  Bring Him your everything!  He is big enough to handle it. 

April 28, 2017

April 24, 2017

Story Book Forest Art Show: Kindergarten

I'm going to feature each grade level in a post so you can see their work a bit better!  
My kindergarten students created works off of Hickory Dickory Dock, Jabuti, The Nightingale, and Mary Had A Little Lamb.