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.

April 23, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: What's Left Behind

We have so many supplies that we use in art making that we really don't pay much attention to because they aren't the "star" of the show.  However, if they weren't there, not in working order, or of very poor quality...it could impact the process or outcome of the work.  I GIVE YOU THE HUMBLE SINK!  Yes, a sink is a key element in art making!  As a painter, I'd be completely lost without a sink to obtain water for my water cup, for rinsing off my brushes when I'm through, or for helping clean up the mess when I've completed my work.  I've seen sinks that looked like works of art after the artist finishes.  I've seen sinks that look like they belong in a mechanic's shop & not an artist's studio.  Sinks tell a story of who was just there & what they had been doing.  This past week I'd been using clay with my students.  After we were through cleaning up...the sink had a film of clay.  You couldn't really tell at first when it was still wet, but the white "ish" film that appeared later when it dried..gave away that some type of work had been done in the art room.

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus.  Philemon 1: 4-5

As a believer, what are you leaving behind?  I'm not talking about tooting your own horn or receiving accolades for your accomplishments (for God). I'm talking about the personal impact that you have on people's lives in your family, with friends, co-workers, or strangers you encounter. In Philemon, we see Paul making mention of Philemon's love for God's people.  Philemon's life was so impacted by his faith/walk with God that it left an impression on those around him.  Now, it is possible non-believers might not have known what "it" was, but like the film left after clay day in the sink...there is no denying that something was at work that was positive & good.  Those kind of interactions are teachable moments.  I've had people ask me, "Why do you care?  Why do you want to help me?"  This is when I'm able to share why I do what I do...why I am the way I am...and who had left their mark on my life that made all the difference!

What's left behind from your interactions with others?  Are they encouraged, uplifted, informed, cared about, loved on...etc?  Or is it like you weren't even there?  

April 16, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Great Expectations

Text books, videos, articles, and online resources can give you an inaccurate perception of what a work of art looks like in person.  It might be dull, cracked, or just less grand than expected.  Expectations can sometimes cause our experiences to be less than we hoped.  One way to avoid such disappointment is to pay attention!  In art history books, images are always accompanied by information regarding artist, date, location, and size. However, numbers and text at times can provide only a glimpse without being able to see the work in a space.  You just can't substitute seeing something in person to truly observe, understand, appreciate, and ...."get it".

In the past, I've read the accounts of the women at the tomb & the disciples (basically hiding), and thought..."DIDN'T THEY HEAR WHAT JESUS SAID? WHERE IS THEIR FAITH?"  They walked with Jesus, they talked with Jesus, and they were with Jesus for several years.  How could they not understand what was going on?  There was an expectation on their part that got in the way of them truly "getting it".  No matter the preparation for what was going to happen, the repeated attempts of Jesus to get them ready, and the prophesy written in scripture that they knew...they couldn't imagine Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection.  They pictured things happening much differently.  They had an expectation that things should unfold as THEY imagined it. The things that they had read, heard, seen, and experienced were slanted to their idea of what God should do.  They were reminded in the midst of their disbelief because of their unmet expectation...."He is not here; he is risen, just as he said."  

How often do we do the same thing?  We expect God to work a certain way or do a certain thing, and find ourselves dismayed when it doesn't happen as we expected.  Our plans & God's plans don't always line up.  However, if we seek Him first...if our desire is to know Him & make Him known...if we can rest in the knowledge & experience that God is God and can be trusted...great expectations can be a healthy & beautiful thing.

April 13, 2017

...When Your Normal Is Off...

I shared awhile back about the health issue I was diagnosed with in Dec/Jan(I'll do an update post on that soon!).  The doctor visits twice a week for treatment...getting stuck...poked at..checked out over and over has really messed up my normal.  I'm not talking about being "normal"...cause who of us are?!?!?!  I'm talking about MY NORMAL.  I'm usually on top of things, very organized, type A personality.  However, with all that I've been dealing with....I'm just not myself.   This week I found something that slipped past me this year....something I don't think has EVER slipped passed me.  I've always ordered rectangular pre-notched looms for my 4th grade tapestry weaving project.  Thinking I had them in my supply closet...I walked in Monday to prep for the day's lessons...NO PRE-NOTCHED LOOMS?!?!?!  (I use these because 4th nine weeks is so hectic & kids are out so much with camp, awards, etc......it is a time saver thing!)  It was a sink or swim moment!  I remembered I had ordered extra cardboard circles for the 3rd grade circle weaving...and decided those would have to do! I created squares to put in the middle to trace...so that they had something to aid them in creating their looms.  They then used rulers to measure off their markings.  Kids really are terrible with ruler skills now-a-days...so I'm glad I could give them extra practice(but it was enough to raise my blood pressure).

I also relied on peer tutors to help out the students that were struggling!  This too is a good thing...kids need to learn compassion for the classmates & realize they can be a life line for the struggling learner!! 


April 09, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Rest

Selling, creating, deadlines, commissions, personal pursuits, too few ideas, too many ideas, revisions, reviews, and all the other things life throws our way.  Artists are not immune to stress, struggle, and lack of rest.  Though often painted as carefree, artists have more on their mind than making "happy little trees".  Life doesn't discriminate based on profession.  Life happens to all.  Each handles it in their own way, but the stresses life places on us all has a way of robbing us of the rest we all desperately need.  When you are just trying to survive (insert starving artist stereotype here), how can you find rest?  Can we move on from survival mode to thriving mode?
What role does rest play in that?  

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  
Psalm 23

We often hear Psalm 23 at funerals, but is it really about death?  When I read this passage I see a way to live. I will be the first to admit that I thrive on stress, deadlines, and over committing. However, over time that can wear on a person (even if it seems to be in their nature to be like this).  We all need rest.  We all need time to calm our heart, our mind, and our activities so that we can continue as the best versions of ourselves.  Sometimes we consider the physical need for rest, but we dismiss the need to calm our heart & mind.   We see in Psalm 23 that much of the stress & struggle that we experience can be relieved if we place our trust in the Good Shepherd.  Sometimes the  situations may continue.  However, when we place our trust in the one who leads us, we can find rest in the midst of the struggle. This passage reassures us of our God's strength, guidance, provision, and love for us.  This knowledge changes everything.  When we know the Lord, when we know the truth contained in these verses, when we know we can't do it on our own....we can find rest. 

April 07, 2017

Story Book Forest: K-4th Art Show 2017

My shoulders, back, legs, and feet are killing me today!  I'm tired & feel like I could crawl into a cave and hibernate for awhile.  Yes, it's that time of year again...ART SHOW!!!!  A labor of love!  The annual art show is a lot of work, but it is ALWAYS worth it.  It brings such amazing perspective to what we do day in & day out...having all that work on the walls  & inviting parents, community members, and co-workers to consume, connect, and enjoy the creative problem solving beauty of art!  I'm able to talk with parents & advocate for my program at such events as well!  Here is a video of the school...and I plan to do a series of posts of each grade level & the projects they created.

April 02, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Shine

Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists.  I love his work & am captivated by his life story.  Though we are left with an amazing collection of beauty that is a reminder of his brilliance, he spent his life searching for place/significance, falling short of ever finding true contentment.  He was a teacher, minister, missionary, and artist...he wanted to have impact on the world.  He wanted to make a difference.  He wanted to shine!  

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation." Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.  Philippians 2: 14-16

Our world seems to be obsessed with celebrity/fame.  People search for quick & easy ways to get their fifteen minutes(thank you Warhol), but forget about what it means to leave a legacy.  We do not have to wait for fame to have an impact on this world.  With each day we are given we can shine for the kingdom of God and make a difference in our world.  Philippians gives the believer an amazing tip for making a difference... "Do EVERYTHING without GRUMBLING or ARGUING!"  Our world needs people that are positive, hard working, and that don't put their own interests above everyone else's.  Having a servants heart that sings the praises of God can be the light this world needs!!  God has called us to shine in the darkness.  Can this admonishment from Philippians help us be that light? Can we leave a legacy by these simple acts?  Ask the Lord to reveal to you if these verses are being lived out in your life....or are needing to be lived out in your life.  

March 29, 2017


The all school art show is almost here, and I'm up to my ears in "prep".  How do you know when your up to your ears in "prep"....your classroom starts looking messy(for some of you..messier than usual...I'm a bit on the OCD side..so mine starts getting messy & it drives me nuts), you take tons of stuff home(sometimes it gets done..sometimes it doesn't), you start calling in favors of everyone you know (or just flat out begging for help on social media!!!), and your blood pressure slowly creeps upwards!  ha ha  Maybe you are an amazing planner/organizer...and this doesn't happen to you.  TEACH ME YOUR WAYS!!! ha ha  

  I hang 550 pieces of art work so that my K-4 students are all represented.  It always gets done, it always turns out awesome, but it is always a bumpy road to get to the art show!  I do a theme.  I know a lot of people don't do a theme....or have very strong feelings against doing a theme.....but that is your issue & I love doing a theme!!  I start theme"ing" my lessons as soon as I get back from spring break. I attempt to do the entire nine weeks in that theme so we have choices in which project will actually be in the show.  After the art work is selected...it must be trimmed down and mounted on construction paper(it just looks better in my opinion).  Then tape gets placed in each corner.  This is to keep the "sticky tack" from seeping through the paper.  There is an oil in it to keep it from drying out..and that can seep through and ruin the work.  The sticky tack works the best at my school..you might find something else that works.  I make class signs in the theme of the art show....have students make thank you cards to give out the night of the show...collect cookies for a cookie table(my teachers love to help by bringing a package of cookies in!!)...create some activity so parents/family can create with their student...etc...etc...OH...and hange 550 pieces!! :) ha ha

If you do an all school art show....I'd love to hear some of your tips and tricks!

March 26, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Fear Depicted

The depiction of fear in art takes different forms: rational, irrational, minimized, and exaggerated. The artist can tap into the deepest & darkest fears that plague humanity causing great anxiety in the viewer.  They can also take a humorous approach that mocks seemingly irrational fears.  Either way the artist connects with viewer through the shared human experience of fear.  Art inspired by this theme can often evoke uneasy/uncomfortable feelings, and the viewers will not tend to linger .  Most do not want to be confronted with their fears because they believe it reveals a weakness, deficiency, or personal issue.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

What fear(s) do you have? Are they founded in something that has happened to you in the past?  Do your fears have to deal with something you are presently going through?  Maybe your fears have to do with the future?  Though some fears can seem completely unfounded. Everyone has a "fear" of something.  The thing is...how do you handle your fears?  What we see in John 14:27 is Jesus promising a peace that this world can not provide.  How many times do we try to "resolve/solve" our fears through our own power and/or how the world tells us we should?  Jesus is not telling us we will not have problems.  Jesus is not telling us we will never have reason to be afraid.  He is telling us he offers peace in this midst of our trials & tribulations, and that we do not HAVE to be afraid.  The Holy Spirit gives us the power to not crumble under the weight of our struggles.  When fear comes upon us, we find strength in the Lord & his Truth.  Fear tells us lies. The Word of God & the Holy Spirit tell us truth.  When we succumb to fears, we are believing lies.  There is no peace in that.  Truth brings peace to our hearts & minds, and allows us to get through those times when fear would like to get the best of us.

March 20, 2017

Middle TN TAEA Spring Conference



March 19, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Understanding

Art comes in so many shapes, sizes, materials, styles, and meanings.  There are things that are "art" out there that most would not consider art.  As well, there are things out there that most would consider art that are but poor shadows of art that once was.  I've viewed conceptual art, and sought out artist commentary to gain understanding concerning their work only to find myself more confused than before.  Yes, even those of us with art backgrounds and training can find ourselves baffled by "art".  No one person can grasp everything there is to know about art, and that's alright!  Not knowing, not understanding, not grasping all there is to know about art means that there is still wonder & mystery.  Knowing you don't know it all means that you can still be in awe.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
Isaiah 40:28

Do you find yourself "in awe" much?  Search engines, social media, television, Wal-Mart at midnight...we have become jaded.  Because of this it leaves little room for awe, wonder, and mystery.  Anything we want to know is only a click away.  Has this mindset invaded our relationship with God as well?  Do we find ourselves thinking we know it all?  Do we think we understand all there is to know about God?  There was a time in my life where I felt I knew pretty much all there was to know about God.  I had him packaged in a nice little box with a bow on top.  Maybe you think that sounds ridiculous, but how often do we limit God because we think we already know what he is going to do & how he is going to do it.  If we read scripture we will see that God does not handle every situation exactly the same, every person in exactly the same way, and by predictable means. He does a "NEW THING".  If we accept the fact that we don't know it all, maybe he'll surprise us with how he answers our prayers, draws us closer to him, and works in and through our lives.  Not knowing does not mean you are ignorant.  Not knowing means you are human!  Not having all the answers is ok.  Not understanding means you have room to grow and an opportunity to be in awe.  Knowing God means that you know that you don't know all there is to know!   Wouldn't it be nice to have a bit more awe, wonder, and mystery in our lives?  To be amazed by God?

March 14, 2017

Magic Art Money = Supplies

I'm not sure where our Visual & Performing Arts Director for the district found this "Magic Money".  I've not really seen this happen in my 20 yrs teaching in Nashville......BUT.....don't question "Magic Money" and FREE ART SUPPLIES.  I'm a part of a team of art teachers for our district that help guide/direct some things.....and we put together a list of needed supplies for a majority of elementary art teachers(mostly the amazing Ms. Malone created the list...my dear friend/ little sister I never wanted ).  I volunteered my school for the supplies to be stored & distributed to the elementary art teachers....OH MY...WHAT WAS I THINKING.  We are talking about $6,000 in art supplies I believe?!?!?!?!  I had to check all the boxes, organize, unpack...blah blah blah.  Needless to say my planning times & lunch periods have been devoted to the task.  Being a busy father of three...it is hard to stay late at school.  So this is what it looks like!!!  

With an ever shrinking art budget...this is such a blessing.  Who knows if we'll find "Magic Money" next year or not...but I'm going to be thankful for it today!!!!!

March 13, 2017

Dollar Tree Art Robot Drawing Thingie

After seeing many posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from this year's NAEA Conference in New York City....I had to try my own Art Robot Drawing Thingie! I believe it was a part of a STEAM workshop at the conference. I saw on one of the posts that they obtained all their materials from Dollar Tree.  Well, you don't have to twist my arm to go to Dollar Tree...I LOVE THAT PLACE!!!  

So here is what you need to purchase:  POOL NOODLE, ELECTRIC TOOTH BRUSH(they even include the battery!!), RUBBER BANDS, AND MARKERS.  I decorated mine...not necessary, but sure does add to the fun factor!!  

I originally cut the pool noodle the same length as the electric tooth brush.  I found that it did not want to move/vibrate as freely....so I cut it so that the bristle  part of the tooth brush was exposed.  I'm not sure if it was a weight issue...or maybe I just didn't have the tooth brush placed inside the noodle exactly right.  There is a lot of trial and error when creating these.  I rubber banded three markers onto the noodle.  I first used thin markers, but switched to the regular conical tip Crayola marker.  I'm guessing almost anything would work as long as you have strong tips on them.  The markers are the trickiest part of the whole thing.  You have to make sure they are as level as possible...but sometimes when they aren't..they pevot...and it goes around and around in circles! ha ha  I may add a 4th marker later to see how it will respond?!  That's what is so fun about this..so many combinations..trials...errors...successes.  



Good question!  I think that it has many applications.  Engineering, Science, Prediction, and Aesthetics.  I really see this being a great discussion with my students about WHAT IS ART?  CAN SOMETHING WITHOUT A HEART?BRAIN MAKE ART? WHY/WHY NOT??    

This might be a project at this summer's ART WITH MR. E WORKSHOP!!!!

You can access the on and off switch under the hair!

Mine kept going around and around and around....
but I have gotten to work like a RUMBA and bounce off of things and head back in a different direction.

March 12, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Time

Spring has to be one of my craziest times of the year.   I have portfolios, art shows, grading, and other special projects that seem to converge at the same time.  No matter how much I try to stay ahead, nothing seems to help alleviate the stress/hecticness of this season.  Counting, compiling, checking, and preparing have no short cuts.  There is no way to "fake" the things that must be done.  Artists & art educators understand this extremely well. Maybe it is partially because we tend to be perfectionists.  It is obvious when things in the art world are not done well or rushed.  My heart races a little bit as I write this.  I am thinking of all that there is still left to do, and hoping that it will truly represent the work my students & I have invested into this thing called art this school year. If only there was more time.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.  Mark 1:35

Time is one of those things that truly is an equalizer.  Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. We all of those moments where we wish we could slow things down or "freeze" time.  Those moments that are so special we just want to hang on a bit longer.  We also all have those times we'd like to rush past because they are hard/unpleasant.  Like me in the midst of the busyness of spring, we would love to add more minutes in the day to accomplish all the tasks needing to be done.  However, time is set & we must make the most of what we've been given.  Good, bad, or busy days must be lived, and not wished away or prolonged.  Each moment we are given is an opportunity to know God & to make him known.  We are not to just know him in the good times, but in the bad, busy, and stressful times as well.  He is faithful in all.  He is never changing.

Jesus knew what it was like to be busy, have the weight of the world on his shoulders, and to experience the good a day had to offer.  He is our example for all things...including time.  If he felt that it was important to get away and spend time in prayer, why would we not make that a priority in our own life.  Maybe, if we "added" this into our day (whenever & as often as possible) we might find the moments we have maximized for God's glory. I truly believe if we took time to pray, submitting our moments, days, life to God.....he would reveal our priorities, strengthen us in our stresses, and draw us into a closer relationship with him.  THAT. IS. WORTH. OUR. TIME.

March 08, 2017

Dealing With Grades

Parents may questions you from time to time about your grading.  So what do you do when that happens?  There are a few things you can do before hand that will help you navigate the sometimes tricky waters of art grades.  I don't think I mentioned in the video about the importance of a strong BASIC rubric. It should be something that you, your students, your parents, and your administration can look at and use to assess the work with little question.  Of coarse you are the trained authority...and it is your job is to educate all involved about grades/grading if the question ever comes up!  No one is out to get you(most of the time)...they might just not understand that art can be graded objectively considering your standards & objectives for a lesson. 


March 07, 2017


I know elementary art teachers that are not fans of colored pencils in their classrooms.  I however...LOVE THEM!!!  This year I purchased some 12 Pack Faber-Castell & some 12 & 24 Pack Crayola.  Lets look at the two brands side by side.
We see some differences right away between Faber-Castell & Crayola.  Faber-Castell uses a triangular design for their pencil...which is nice for preventing pencils rolling off the table(common elementary issue).  The other difference you notice quickly is the colors in their 12 packs.  Faber-Castell does not include white(totally good with that!!).  It also includes peach & silver.  Crayola does have white, and includes a red orange.  Both companies(ARE YOU READING THIS???)....WHY DON'T YOU INCLUDE GRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I could do without silver & white...the need for them is not great.  Elementary kids want gray!!  THEY NEED GRAY!!!!  Lets count the ways we need gray...rocks, buildings, old people's hair, kitties named Smokey, gray houses, sidewalks...and on and on!  PLEASE HEAR MY PLEA FOR GRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is the Crayola 24 Pack....and it has GRAY!!!  I actually really like the color options in this pack of colored pencils, but my budget doesn't always allow for me to purchase the bigger pack.  I do wish it had a light version of gray...this one is on the dark side.  

This is the side by side for the 12 packs.  I found it interesting that the only major difference was between the violet in the two brands.  Faber-Castell is clearly a red violet & Crayola is clearly a blue violet.  I'll also say that Faber-Castell's red & Crayola's red orange are closely related.

SO THERE YA GO!!  I like both brands...I feel they hold up about the same  & the color is about the same richness.  You know how some of the cheaper brands have harder leads which equal a lighter color.  We all have our favorites...but with color pencils...I like both!!!

March 06, 2017


I love my classroom.  However, it is 30 yrs old & there are a few things I wish were designed differently.  In our district, all knew & renovated schools have an actual kiln room.  This kiln room not only has a confined space for the kiln...it also usually has amazing shelves for clay storage.  My classroom does not have such a thing....but as art teachers do...I MAKE IT WORK!  Here is my solution for clay project storage.  Easy lightweight shelves I can move around my room & even back to the kiln when needing to fire or after firing!!  Sorry for my face...I work with what I got! ha ha  Actually....I have a stye or something..and my eyelid is HUGE!

March 05, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Advice

There is a fine line between the artist and their art.  The nature of the artist is to invest their talent, heart, experiences, dreams, pain, and beliefs into their art form. When you have that much personal connection with what you do, it can be difficult to hear criticism of any form towards it.  It is as if they are attacking the artist personally.  However, criticism is a part of the growing process for anyone in the arts.   Our field uses the word criticism frequently & at times flippantly,  but at the heart of it is really giving advice or braking down the different aspects of the created work.  The general public often equates "criticism" with negative connotations, and though it can be delivered with negativity....it is meant to help the artist take a more objective look at what they are doing.  If the artists listens to the constructive criticism to look more objectively at their work, they can improve upon it and grow personally & artistically. 

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness
 of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27:9

Though I do not always receive advice & criticism well(who does?), I will always consider what is being said(often at a later date when I've had time to process).  I think it would be unwise just to listen to what anyone & everyone says to you as 100% truth, and then act upon it.  If you operated that way, you would lose yourself in the midst of trying to please everyone else. Though I will consider criticism/advice given by someone I don't really know, I listen closely to my confidants/friends.  The people that know me, my heart, my passion, and my vision will be able to provide perspective in light of that knowledge.  I have people that can literally say ANYTHING to me, and I will receive what they say.  They have earned the right to speak truth to me.  I know that they have my best interest in mind, and would never say something just to hurt me.  I really love the book of Proverbs.  It is all about dishing out sound advice.  It does it in a way that is not meant to hurt, but to encourage, challenge, and build up the believer.  We need people in our life that will speak like Proverbs does to us....clearly, practically, and with a heart to see us at our best.  To call us out when we need it.  To affirm us when we are unsure. To provide direction when we feel lost.  I am thankful for the book of Proverbs, and I am thankful for friends that speak to be as a modern day version of Proverbs.  I hope & pray you have that in your life.  If you do not, pray that God will bring those type of friends to you, or maybe that your heart would be receptive to those people He may have already placed in your life! It will change you for the better....and for God's glory!

March 03, 2017

Chinese Principals Visit Mr. E!

Well, they didn't actually come all the way from China for me, but it sounds good doesn't it!! ha ha  Wow...that would be a lot of pressure! Actually, my new principal was a part of an administrative exchange a couple years ago, and visited China to see their schools.  Now it was their turn to visit our schools.  So she asked me if I'd mind having them come through my room to observe....and then if I'd be willing to teach the principals an art lesson.  I'm up for new challenges....and I love being able to share my program with anyone & everyone who will listen!  





It was a wonderful experience! They were so sweet....so kind....so polite. Who knows...maybe MR.E IN CHINA could happen some day? That would be fun experience!!

March 01, 2017

Can't Go To NAEA 2017??

I've been blessed to go & present at NAEA twice, Fort Worth & San Diego.  I had the time of my life.  There is nothing like being around thousands of like minded individuals who love art, love teaching, and love life!  However, I'm a husband & father.  I am the only source of income for my family.  That requires me to make choices in life for what is best for the family...and not just myself.  I know there are others of you out there that are in the same boat as me....and look at the online photos & stories wishing you could be there also.  I GET IT!!! 

So...what can you do instead to bring a bit of the experience to your life?

CONNECTION!!!  I think the most impactful (is that a word?) thing about conference is the connection with other art educators.  Many of us are the only ones in our building, and we do not have the opportunity to hang out, bounce ideas off of, and learn from other people that are doing the same thing we are doing.  I'm fortunate to be in a large school district that has over 140 art teachers K-12.  I'm also extremely fortunate to have 5 professional days a year that I can use for workshops, conferences, or to go observe others.  I know that is not the case for many.  If you have a similar situation, do your best to use those days you've been given.  If you don't have the luxury of professional days...meet after hours!  I know it is cutting into your time, but the connection is worth it in the long run! If meeting up in person is just too challenging for your situation...try the online communities that are out there!  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs....there are so many great resources out there to connect & share with other art educators.  

CLASSES/SESSIONS!!!  NAEA allows you to have the amazing opportunity to select from a HUNDREDS of classes/sessions!  You can truly find anything & everything art and art ed related.  Your state association also offers opportunities for classes, lectures, and sessions that will help grow your skill set, feed your artist soul, and allow for you to connect with others.  Local gallerias, museums, and artist groups often host classes as well.  You just have to know where to look.  You can also find summer workshops! Make it a destination/vacation event.   I know a blogger that is putting on his 2nd annual summer workshop at the end of June!!! :) ha ha  I had 15 teachers from 5 states last summer attend my three day workshop....WE HAD SO MUCH FUN....and learned a lot from each other.  Also the ever popular Cassie Stephens is having her summer workshop with some other art teachers....and I know they had a great time last summer as well!!

Can you totally get the NAEA experience without going...not exactly. I highly recommend going to the NAEA Conference at least once in their life!!!!  It really is an amazing experience.  However, you experience some of the things that are at the core of NAEA if you make the effort!!  

February 26, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Sharp

Scissors, box cutters, paper cutters, X-Acto Knives, rotary cutters...art people are all about sharp things!  They are essential for the creation of so many works of art.  However, they often are a "supporting" player.  They get used & abused, and aren't considered until they no longer do (or do well) what they were designed to do.  I've had blades dull, rust, develop build up, bend, and break.  I'll get so frustrated when "they" ruin paper, destroy a mat, or hack a piece of fabric to bits. However, was it really the cutting tool's fault for the issue?  Not at all.  If I clean, sharpen, store properly, and replace when necessary, there won't be an issue.  I have to take responsibility, and look out for my tools.  If I don't take care of them...they will not be able to take care of the jobs I have for them.

Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Lone-Ranger Christian".  They think they can do things on their own.  They may be operating in their giftings, doing an amazing job, and fulfilling a real need. They look like they have it all together.  However, we were not designed to do this life alone.  More than likely, the Lone-Ranger Christian will burn out, become bitter, or fall into a sin pattern that will cause them to be ineffective in ministry & will distance them in their fellowship with the Lord.  We were designed to sharpen one another.  What does that mean?  You have to live life with other believers that will encourage you, challenge you, and hold you accountable for things you do & say.  You need to have people in your life that know you so well, they can see it in your face before you ever say a word.  Sometimes those types of relationships can be uncomfortable.  I think many of us like to hide our ugly.  We would rather people see the person we'd like to portray to the world...and not the real person who is struggling, tired, and doesn't have it all together.  The thing is...if we live life alone..we won't be able to fulfill the job we were designed to do.  A dull pair of scissors still looks like it can get the job done, but when you try to use them....you find out that they can not.  We need to sharpen one another so that we will be able to fulfill the purpose God has for us!

If you aren't sure about this whole "sharpening" one another thing....and feel you are better with just you & Jesus...... CONSIDER THIS!!!!

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:1-4

Maybe you need sharpened...maybe you need to sharpen others?? Either way...God has designed us to live life together.  

February 24, 2017

2nd Annual Art With Mr.E Workshop

Are you looking for a fun, laid back, hands on workshop this summer to refuel your art teacher fire??  Last summer was the first ever Art With Mr. E Workshop...it was a 3 day event with 15 awesome art teachers from 5 states!!  We had people that taught pre-K - College!!!!  Truly, it was such a great time...and we learned so much from one another.  I keep the price affordable...don't think you'll find a better value.  Here are the dates.  If you have more questions..please email me!!! 

February 22, 2017

Jack and the Beanstalk: Kindergarten

This week in Kindergarten we are reading Jack and the Beanstalk.  One of the reasons I decided to theme my art show and nine weeks(and maybe next nine weeks) on Nursery Rhymes & Classic Stories/Fables is because the kids just don't know them.  Only three students were familiar with Jack and the Beanstalk today.  That just blows my mind?!?  

So I had the students draw a loop-da-loop line from one side of their paper to the other.  They then had to make a second line right beside it so that there was something to paint inside of.  Then students added leaves to help fill in the empty spaces on their picture.  I gave each student Blue & Yellow tempera paint.  During my demo, I made sure to show them how to mix a lighter green & a darker green.  My kindergartners seemed to want to "scrub" the paper with a dry brush instead of redipping it into their paint.  I had to stop the class and reteach this part of painting to them.  I basically show them how the brush should flow across the paper, and how that looks compared to scrubbing the paper with a dry brush.  

February 19, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: My Issue With Art History

I know I've written about art history in the past.
 It could probably inspire a whole devotional book! ha ha  

I love art.  I love history.  I do not love art history. I know that sounds completely random & contradictory.  However, art history was truly a struggle for me during my college days.  There was so much information, so many works of art, so many names, so many dates...I truly felt crushed by the amount of information I was expected to know.  The fact that I had to have four semesters of art history compounded my disdain.  It wasn't till I was out from underneath the weight of it all that I started contemplating how I'd do it differently.  How would I teach someone like me that struggled with the conventional way of instructing art history.  I feel/believe the best way to learn is by applying the information given.  If I were to have a sketchbook/project & create/recreate in the style of an artist, movement, time period...I'd have greater retention of the information.  When you put into practice what you are learning....you go from knowing about something to truly KNOWING something.  

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it- not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it- they will be blessed in what they do.  James 1:22-25

I think there are many people setting in churches today that are hearing a great deal of information, but are putting little of it into practice.  They might be able to quote scripture.  They might be able to sing every hymn...and know the page number it is on.  They might even be able to pray eloquent prayers.  However, the information is in their heads & not in their hearts.  They know...but don't KNOW.  I am guilty of this in my own life.  I have information that should move me, motivate me, call me to action...but I do nothing with it.  I know that I'm called to love others...but there are many times I hardly like others...let-alone "LOVE".  Yet we are told they will know we are his disciples by our love(John 13:35).  DO THEY?? Can they see that in me? Am I living it out, and going from knowing to KNOWING?  The church needs to be about the business of living out our faith...and not just knowing about our faith.  I am writing this as much to me as anyone else who might stumble open this devotional. I hope in my preaching to myself...you might be able to take away something as well.

February 17, 2017

Dollar Tree Love

I'm pretty sure I've talked about Dollar Tree in the past on here.  I truly think it was designed with teachers in mind!  We've been having MAJOR issues with the outsourced cleaning crew at our school.  I walk into a dirty classroom that has not been swept..trash has not been taken out...and forget about any other kind of cleaning that might occur.  TOTALLY AWESOME! is my favorite cleaner there.  That stuff is totally awesome!!  I've cleaned the hallway walls with it...taken writing off the bathroom walls...A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  I've bought other clean products there as well that have truly been a blessing.  These are my latest purchases.  YEP...$1 A PIECE!!!!!   Are they the highest quality...nope, but they get the job done!!  That dust pan on a stick sure helps and old fat man like me!!  ha ha  I hope you all have Dollar Tree near you...it is a teacher's dream!!! (I'm not being paid or supported by Dollar Tree...just love 'em!!!)

February 16, 2017

Clay Bridge Relief: 4th Grade

In our curriculum, we have 4th Grade creating clay facades.  Though I like this project...the past few years I've tweaked it a bit. I've been leaning more toward structure...using Monet's bridge & Egyptian Curtain by Matisse as inspiration.  Since we are doing nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and fables this 9 weeks...and my students have been doing bridges for The 3 Billy Goat's Gruff....I decided to have them create a bridge with a landscape background.  They are doing a pretty good job.  Sometimes it is hard to transfer the concept of 2-D into a 3-D Relief.  We also are pulling concepts/techniques from each of their clay projects they've done K-3rd as well: Texture, Coil, Addition, Subtraction. Here are a few of the results in progress.

February 15, 2017

Martina The Cockroach: 1st Grade

Have you ever read Martina The Cockroach?  It is a weird little book that was included in a set of fables, fairy tails, and stories I bought many moons ago.  I am using it as our inspiration for this week's first grade lesson.  I'm really trying to help them get control of their coloring & craftsmanship.  Not sure why this group has been so "messy".  These are not yet finished, but are turning out super cute!!