September 22, 2021

Anything interesting happen at school today?

 Oh...there was that one thing at bus dismissal. 

I've been at my school for 21 years.  This was a first!!! ha ha  
We think it is a TN River Otter. We are a good mile & a half from the river, but there are streams near our school.  

September 21, 2021

Inspired by Kev Munday

It has been challenging to record YouTube videos this school year! Lots of reasons, but I won't go into all that in this post!  If you have not looked at the work of Kev Munday...please check him out! 
My students LOVE his art. 
This project is great for reinforcing overlapping, theme, and host of other concepts in art! 

September 19, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Don't "Brush" It Off

 Most painters rely on traditional tools to create their masterpieces. Brushes are crucial tool for a majority of painters. The size, style, and quality of brush are of paramount importance.  However, brush maintenance is also a crucial element to a successful painting.  If you do not take care of your brushes, you will shorten their usefulness & life expectancy.  Allowing paint to dry can create an unbending non receptive surface for paint to transfer to or from. Paint brushes left 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. Improper storage of one's brushes can cause the bristles to bend in a way that causes great difficulty.   An artist knows that to be their best they must not neglect the "house keeping" aspect of their craft. It cannot be "brushed off".

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 have 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 at times, 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. 

Do you want to learn more about Christian Disciplines & deepening your walk with the Lord?
Check out Celebrations of Discipline by Richard Foster & 
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney. 

September 17, 2021

Scarecrows At Cheekwood: Nevelson

Cheekwood's annual scarecrow display is now up!!  If you are in the Nashville area...stop by and check them out. I'm hoping it lasts.  We've been getting a lot of rain in Middle TN, and it seems like that might continue for a few days.  Though I painted it, tapped it, glued it, and top coated it with quality the core it is still cardboard! The other one beside mine is my best bud's scarecrow. We decided to be inspired by the same artist (Nevelson), and are playing tug-of-war. 

 Here is what we contributed to the event! 


September 16, 2021

Staff Fall Paint Night

It has been 2 years since we had a faculty/staff paint night at my school.  I had cellulitis, we had a tornado, a global pandemic...lots of things kind of got in the way!  One thing I knew...we had to bring paint night back!!! It is such a wonderful time for faculty/staff to enjoy one another's company, decompress, laugh, and a whole lot more!!  I have my teacher donate a couple dollars and I furnish all all the paint and canvases.  I create stencils (this year with the help of my practicum students) that allow those a little less confident with their drawing skills to feel successful.  I encourage everyone to do their own thing, and I float around the room and help them if they run into trouble.  We have hair drier stations set up so that they can do a quick dry to get to their next layer.  If you aren't doing paint nights at your school...think about giving it a try!  It really allows others to see you as an art a new light! 

Ms. King was so proud of her beautiful painting!! She has always come to the paint nights but struggled to finish her work and get it to a place that she really loved.  This was her paint night though...she finished her work and it was wonderful!!! 


September 13, 2021

Louise Nevelson Scarecrow

 Have my students working on a Louise Nevelson inspired scarecrow that will be on display at Cheekwood! Praying my "construction" skills will be good enough to have it last for a month or two in the elements!! We are gessoing it, spray painting it, and polyurethaning it. Hopefully that will be enough. 

September 12, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Without Words

A work of art can tell a story that a book could never contain.  I have stared into a painting and felt like I was not only experiencing the moments being captured, but the back story that led to those moments. I've also returned to a work, and gained new insight & felt as if I had discovered more of the story that I thought I already knew.  I've pondered how time "dealt" with the subject within a given work, and what happened next.  It is also interesting how a work of art can bring peace to one, but challenge another.  It is a beautiful thing when art speaks to the heart...right where that person is at in their journey.  Without words... art can speak volumes to those who are willing to spend time in it's presence. 

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun

Psalm 19: 1-4

There are times in our life when we feel distant from God.  

There are times where we wonder if he is still there.  





What do we do when we feel like God is not there?  We acknowledge it! We tell him how we are feeling.  Once we've said all we have in our hearts to say.....we close our mouths & open our eyes.  We look to see God at work around us.  If we are struggling to see that....we look to nature (Which has always found a way to praise the Lord).  The Earth still spins.  The Sun still shines. The stars are still in the sky.  The moon still lends its reflection to show us the way in the night. Birds take flight.  Flowers dance in the breeze. God is still there.  We see his handy work. We see the master artist who took so much care in creation...surely he still cares for me and the things that concern my heart.  Without words...God speaks to me through his creation.  He reassures me he is still God, he is still on the throne, he is still in control....and he still cares for me. Without words...he reminds me my story continues and he is not done working in & through me. 

September 09, 2021

The Be(e) Mirrors

I found these great mirrors at Dollar Tree, and knew I had to use them in my class.  Students face the mirrors when they line up at the end my class. We've talked about what each one means, and what it looks like in the art room.  I hope that it is a good reminder to them each time they line up to leave and see themselves in the mirrors! 


September 05, 2021

Dollar Tree Find!!

 At my local Dollar Tree, I saw the 24 packs of  skin color crayons! That is better than most places I've seen. I don't know if they'll be in your area, but it's worth a check!

August 30, 2021

Projects This Rotation: K-4

In some previous posts I titled it Projects This Week/Lessons This Week, but that wasn't exactly right.  Our special area schedule is on a 4 day rotation. There are only 4 related arts teachers utilized in our schedule (library & guidance is not in our rotation). So 4 of our 5 grade levels are split 1 1/4 classes.  So every 4 days I have to have new lessons.  Anyways...if anyone is a regular reader, I didn't want you to be confused by my posts. 

Working on "I CAN USE SHAPES TO MAKE ALL KINDS OF THINGS"!!  We read another Pout Pout fish book to get us started (the kids love them!!), and then I showed them how to draw a variety of sea creatures using basic shapes. They are allowed to create their underwater world however they want.  After giving them drawing time...I showed them proper marker use!  

Last rotation we went over LANDSCAPES, and talked about foreground, middle ground, and background.  This rotation we're looking at cityscapes, and creating some colorful pictures using marker.  They could make a futuristic city, old crumbling city, or however they wanted as long as they had a foreground, middle ground, and background. I reviewed proper marker use with this group as well.  

We are continuing on with our collage landscapes.  Last rotation we focused on full covered of the sky & ground.  This week we are adding in our details. They could add animals, make it a farm scene, add a cabin, have people camping....however they wanted.  We also talked about how size & overlapping help show depth in a landscape.  

Last rotation we worked on basic watercolor techniques & vocabulary.  This week we looked at variety of fish, watched a video of fish swimming (I wanted them to know how a fish works, because though you might think you never hurts to see them doing their thing, & students created our own (or imaginary fish if they wanted to go in a unique direction.  The students worked on layering color, wet on wet, and wet on dry.  We are going to spend another class time on them to finish them up!  

August 29, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Different & Specific

This past week I was painting with my 3rd and 4th graders.  As I was doing a quick demonstration of the day's project, I told them that I'd be providing them a variety of brushes, and that they should use the right brush for the job.   As I walked around the room, I had to remind them that I had given them a variety of brushes, and that they should use the big brush for big spaces, medium brush for medium spaces, and the small brushes for small/thin/detailed spaces. After saying the same thing to several students, I asked the class to stop what they were doing and give me their attention.  I went to my document camera and pulled the brushes from my water cup to show the students exactly what they had.  I then showed the class why, how, and where I'd use each of the brushes.  Each brush served a different & specific purpose that was important in the creation of their paintings.  Without them... it would be more challenging and less effective.  Knowing the purpose and practice of the different brushes will yield a stronger work of art. 

 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12: 6-10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10

There are times that we do not realize or embrace how God has wired us.  We may look at others and feel they are truly serving God, but feel we have little to offer.  Each of us has been given gifts/talents/skills that the Lord desires to see used for his glory & to minister to/serve others. Our gifts are different & specific.  This is for a reason.  The body of believers is meant to work together to fulfill what the Lord has give us to accomplish.  Each has a beautiful and unique contribution.  Like the brushes I gave my students, one brush could be used to create the entire painting, but it would not be very effective.  The painting would suffer because of it.  We are all different. We have different personalities, skill sets, strengths, passions...just as God designed us.  We have a specific purpose in God's plan.  It may not look the same as mine.  It might not look like anything you've seen before.  THAT'S OK.  As we seek know him & serve him...we will see more of who we are meant to be.  As we grow in this,  we will grow in the confidence of who he has created us to be.

August 27, 2021

How Did Your Week Go??

 A local pool and spa business has a giant inflatable duck for advertising. We call him duck-duck. As I came over the hill on my way home today from school, I saw duck-duck and realized he was the perfect expression of how I was feeling from a very long long week! Thank you duck-duck for speaking for me when I had no words!

Also friends...can we please be about the business of encouraging and building one another up?  We will not always agree on everything, and that is ok.  We need to support, celebrate, and encourage each other to continue reaching students through arty goodness!!  

August 26, 2021

Learning Loss in the Visual Arts?


 Hello Friends!  I'm very curious to hear about what you are seeing & what you are doing in light of "learning loss" that has happened during the pandemic/virtual learning.    I know that it will be different everywhere because our situations are different.  I feel we need to be having these conversations so we can help one another as we navigate these waters! 

 Some students have not been in the building since the beginning of March 2020, and we had about a third of our population remaining virtual the entire 2020-2021 school year.  One of the first things I noticed once students were back in my room was that they have forgotten how to be together & how to work together.  This is going to take time.  We have to be patient with our students as they reacclimate to school life. Those of us who taught virtually know that not all the students were not always in environments conducive to learning.  Plus, they were often without social interaction with peers. A classroom teacher and I were talking about this, and felt that  if we could help them get back in the rhythm of school....that the learning would jump by leaps and bounds.  I truly believe this.

That being said, we are charged with educating our students.  We need to provide activities that meet our students where they are at, and not where they "should" be in a "normal" school year.  Now, many would say this should be what we do all the time, and to a point...I agree.  However, we all know that there is some expectations that we have of what students can do by certain points based on age/grade.  I know that many of my students did not have access to  art supplies (even though I made art supplies available at different points while virtual).    Lack of exposure/experience does cause us to reevaluate what we are teaching, how we are teaching, and when we are teaching.  There may be a project I LOVE doing with third grade.  It isn't that I can't do that project with them, but I may need to provide some projects that will lead them into that project so they are better prepared for the media, concept, and/or technique. I want them to be successful & feel confident in their work.  It might just take some time to "warm up" to those big heavy hitter projects we love so much!!  Also, consider how you can break a project down so the students can be more successful.  I usually do a landscape collage with my 1st graders.  However, they have had little opportunity to create collage, use scissors, and learn how to successfully apply liquid glue.  To throw them into the project like "normal" would not provide the best experience for them to be successful.  So I broke it down.  On day one I show the students examples of different landscapes, reintroduced the idea of foreground, middle ground, and background, and then had them create the "base" of their landscapes.  The base was a blue sky (unless they wanted to do sunset...had a few of those) & a couple different greens to create the ground.  They had to completely cover the picture starting with the sky color first.  The next class time students will be adding their details (trees, rivers, ponds, buildings, plants, animals, clouds..etc).  This will yield a better/successful result. I really want my students to feel confident in what and how they are creating!  

Most of all....your students need YOU!!!  They need your smile.  They need your encouragement. They need to feel safe.  They need our boundaries.  They need our expectations. We provide so much for our students that is not factored into testing/GPA's & such. They need us to gain back what they have lost. 

August 23, 2021

This Week In Art K-4

I love doing a fish unit with Kindergarten!!  It is a great way to review shapes and explore all the different media (crayons, markers, paint..etc).  I always read The Pout Pout Fish Books!! 

Landscapes with 1st!  Upping the expectation that students have a Foreground/Middle Ground/Background in the work.  In Kindergarten it was enough for their to be a Foreground/Background.  I use 3 lines to start the drawing & then let them build on it from there. 

Landscapes for 2nd Grade, but they did theirs in collage.  If you do attempt this...don't be surprised if it is a bit of a struggle.  I try to get my students to lay down the base (sky, hills, middle ground, foreground) before they add the details into their landscape.  With all the virtual and such that happened over the past 2 yrs....we will revisit this lesson later on to give them another chance at success!

3rd & 4th get some practice with watercolor.  A majority of my students did not have watercolor at home.  We are really starting a square one, and that is totally fine!!  I want to build my students up so they can have success in their future paintings.  They really did enjoy getting to paint...even if it was just an exercise! 

August 22, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: The Importance of Light

 Proper lighting plays an important part in the creation of art.  It is as important as quality supplies for an artist.  There have been many times that I've continued worked in poorly lit rooms thinking it was not a big deal.  Why would I not just get up and open the blinds/curtains or turn on more lighting?  My  eyes adjust to the condition of the room, and I believed that I was able to see just fine.  Sometimes, it was because I was too lazy to do a simple thing like flipping a light switch.  Other times, I thought I was skilled enough to create in the diminished conditions. It wasn't until the work was brought into the light that I could see the glaring issues precipitated by lighting.  At times, the issues were minor things that could be easily fixed.  However, there have been times that I'd have to start completely over because the issues were too great to be fixed.  

Allowing ourselves to believe we are "ok" to continue in the darkness will create issues that will have to be dealt with at some point.  

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life
Proverbs 6:23

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 toe 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 circumstances.  There are many times in our life where we think we can do things on our own.  We stop listening to the advice of those who truly love us and what the best for us.  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 job, your life, your relationships, and you see how you allowed them to become so much less than they should be.  You see that things don't appear as good as you once thought they did.

 The good news is that you can find your way when you turn to the Light.  Light doesn't just illuminate the negative(which we so badly don't want to see or acknowledge), but it guides you to the path of where you truly want & need to be. We need to surround ourselves with God's Word & those who know and follow God's Word. This light will allow us to see ourselves & our situations accurately. The importance of light can not be underestimated.

August 20, 2021

Lessons K-4 This Past Week

 I'm going to try to post my teacher examples for lessons I'm doing in my class with a quick case you need some inspiration!  I hope that is helpful.  Please feel free to message me with questions, but do not ask for the lesson plan.  We all do them differently, have different state standards, and focus on different aspects. 

Draw Your Fav. Animal
Using markers to color, but review the proper way to use markers at the same time!! 
(A lot of my students only had crayons virtually, so this is a great review/get back in the swing of things lesson!!!)

Animal Me!
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?  Give the animal human characteristics that will make it more like you (hair, bow, glasses, fav. sport, fav. place to be..etc)

I, Robot.
If you could have a robot do a job for you, what would it be?  Would you have it do the things you don't enjoy doing? (dishes, make your bed..etc)  Would you have it do things you like to do so you could do them together? Make sure the environment matches the activity!

Symbol Self Portrait
Pick a shape you like to make.  Now make it 10 times in a variety of sizes, and have them overlapping in places (a great review for composition and principles of design).  Inside each of the shapes you will make a symbol that represents something about you.  It could be a talent, something you like, or something that is important to you.  Group like things in one shape (if you like sweets...don't make 8 of the 10 something to do with sweet stuff?!?!).  Use markers to color! 

August 19, 2021

Have You Tried Mondo Llama?

 Have you tried the Mondo Llama brand from Target?  I've tested out their colored pencils, crayons, and markers.  They are pretty much the same as the Up & Up brand that use to be at Target.  I'm not sure if it is just a repackaging of the old brand or something totally.  I will say that I tend to break the crayons a bit easier than Crayola (Crayola has been snapping easier the past few years too I've noticed!)

I decided to pick up some of the Mondo Llama Acrylic paint to see how they performed.  I actually really like them!  They are a bit thicker/creamier than Apple Barrel (that you can get at Wal-Mart).  The finish is a satin, and I really love it!  They won't replace your professional acrylics, but they are really nice.  Get a few bottles the next time you are at Target and try them out!


August 15, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Anxiety

There are many times I'm anxious about sharing, submitting, or showing my art.  What is it that causes me anxiety?  I worry about my art not measuring up.  Are my concepts strong enough, are my ideas unique enough, or is my execution good enough? Somehow the rejection of my work would be a rejection of me. I'd rather pass up an opportunity than deal with not being accepted(in all the ways).  Yes, I've passed up way too many opportunities in my life because of anxiety.  Are my fears irrational? Yes & No.  There are always "reasons" for our fears. Dismissing them does not make that go away.  However, there are times we need to move forward in spite of our anxiety. We need to focus on the things that are true. We need to allow ourselves to embrace the positive that can be and not live our life by the negative that has been. I've tried over the past few years to share my work in different settings.  Sometimes I've been accepted & received positive feedback, and sometimes I have not.  It is ok.  I've realized that there are times that my work just doesn't "fit" in with what they are doing.  It isn't a rejection of me.  This has allowed my anxiety to mellow/subside in regards to sharing my work.  

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

Before anyone tries to dismiss this...anxiety is real.  There are many who truly need to seek professional help to deal with their anxiety and root cause(s).  There is no shame in that. Seeking help to become healthy in any way should be encouraged and supported.  It is not always about "have enough faith" or " just pray more". Those responses are too dismissive.  Anxiety stops so many from experiencing a full & meaningful life.  We all experience "anxiety" at different points in our life for a multitude of reasons.  God desires us to "cast" our anxiety on him.  What does cast mean?  To cast is to transfer ownership.  We surrender the "rights" to that worry/fear. This can alleviate the weight we experience and allow us to begin moving past or in spite of the cause of our anxiety. When we cast our anxiety upon the Lord (because he cares for us), we can begin seeing that we are loved, that we are secure, and that we are impowered. For many, this will allow their anxiety to subside.  HOWEVER, if you feel you need something more to see past/deal the things that are keeping you from experiencing the life God has given you.....please seek help. THERE IS NO SHAME IN THAT. YOU ARE NOT LESS OF A BELIEVER BECAUSE OF IT.  YOU ARE STILL A PERSON OF FAITH. YOU ARE STILL LOVED.

August 14, 2021

Squirrels in the Art Room?

 The last step for me to be back in the clay business (teaching "real" clay lessons) is for them to hook up the vent system in my new kiln room.  They showed up Friday morning....a little bit before my kindergarteners came to my room for the first time.  

And they drilled.

And they pounded.

And they drilled some more.

Now, I was trying to keep the goal in mind....we'll be able to do clay again!!!   It was a challenging hour.  You can imagine the attention span of my kindergarteners when all that racket was going on.  We made it through though.  At lunch, they told they would have to finish the job on Monday, because they had an emergency job that they had to deal with at another school.  I later went in to my kiln room to check out what they had accomplished.  There was a hole in the wall for the venting to go through.  WAIT A SECOND...THERE WAS A HOLE IN MY WALL!!!!  Ummm...a hole to the outside.  Now my room has courtyard type area outside of it that has trees and such.  The and such....a ton of squirrels.  These squirrels keep me from opening my window (no screen) because they look they want to get in & take over.  So...I knew I had to plug up that hole before they staged a coup!  I took two art shirts and shoved them in there the best I could.  I'm hoping when I go in Monday...that they did the trick!! ha ha  

August 13, 2021

Kindergarteners Are Savage!

                             Kindergarteners Are Savage!!                                
 I was having my students create self-portraits. 

GIRL1: I want to be like my mom. 
GIRL2: (looking at GIRL1's picture) Your mom has purple/red hair & a red nose. 
GIRL1: No, but I wish she did. 
GIRL2: You want your mom to be a circus clown?! 

Girl1 did not seem phased by the conversation, but it did allow for us to discuss how we should talk about the art of others.

August 12, 2021




August 08, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: DOUBT

(This devotional is from Sept 17, 2017. Due to a death in our family, I decided to revisit a devo from the past with minimal changes!)

I've met many involved in the arts that come off as very confident & secure.  However, confident & secure can sometimes come across as cocky & arrogant.  I've always been intrigued by such people.  Even though I've been involved with the arts for a majority of my life, I've always struggled with doubt.  I would see those seemingly "confident & secure" artists, and wonder how they were so sure?  What was it that made them think they had found the right way to create? What made them think/believe they were so wonderful?  I've come to realize that even those that seem so sure of themselves wrestle with feelings of doubt at time. The cocky & arrogant persona are often a cover up for their own insecurities.  In the arts, doubt is natural as we extend ourselves in new & challenging ways.  It is what we do with doubt that will define us in our artistic endeavors.  Will we allow it to destroy us?  Will we allow it to push us to new heights?

But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"  And God said, "I will be with you..." 
Exodus 3:11-12a

Moses doubted.  Peter doubted.  Thomas doubted.  Those of us that wrestle with doubt are in good company.   I think that we should take comfort in the fact that so many heroes of the faith wrestled with doubt at some point in their life. We all have weaknesses.  We all have struggles.  However, how we proceed changes everything.  It isn't that we move forward devoid of all doubt, but that even in our doubt we take steps of faith trusting in The One that has gone before us.  As we take those steps of faith our doubt will begin to diminish.  We will begin to trust God more with our "everything".  We will see He is faithful...even when we are not.  When Moses spoke to God of his insecurities and doubts....God did not tell Moses it would be all sunshine & roses.  God said, "I will be with you."!  There is comfort in knowing God is always there with us....even when we doubt. 

August 05, 2021

Oh No!

I've been so excited about my new kiln room!  It delayed the cleaning of my room (and me getting back in my room to set it up), but it would totally be worth it. When I was finally allowed back in my room....I found this! There were actually 3 places on the brand new wall that were gauged (but I didn't get a picture of the third spot).  MY BRAND NEW WALL!!  I was so sad.  I loved my lovely green new wall.  When they moved my stuff back in my classroom after waxing...this happened. I did not get to fill it in yet, but I did cover over it with paint for the time being so it wasn't as noticeable.  

I'm still happy that we're closer to doing clay again!!!   Yes...I did say closer.  They still have not vented the kiln. soon as that happens, I'm in business!! Stay tuned.