May 22, 2022

Sunday Devotionals With Mr.E: Enough?

Do you really think your good enough to be an artist? Is your art good enough? How does it compare to other artists? Are your themes relevant? Are you you technically superior? Where do you fit in the current art movements?  Are you evolving? Are you being sought after? Can you actually make money as an artist? 

Do these questions make you sweat a bit or give you heart palpitations? Does your stress/anxiety levels raise when you think through these things? As artists we are faced with these question both externally & internally.  They are a reality in a field that has "ART CRITICISM" as a foundation. Though these questions can be beneficial if reflected upon in a constructive manner, they can also squelch the insecure (and don't we all have a bit of insecurity).  A statement such as, "Am I good enough?" can cause one to question not only the artistic worth of their creations, but their own personal worth and value as an artist. There is something about those words that can derail even the most confident and seasoned artist. How do we continue when we are told we are not good enough? Rejection is a reality. How do we handle rejection?

  1. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:9-10


Artists are often extremely critical and self deprecating, and we are bombarded by the negativity in our world today through social media. If we allow this negativity into our hearts and minds....we can become "defeated" before we have the opportunity to succeed or not.  We can also unwittingly perpetuate the negativity that has been given us. This cycle prevents us from fulfilling what we were designed/called to do. God does not look for "good enough". He desires men and women who have an open heart to love him and serve him with abandon.  We cannot hold on to the negative self talk or the deplorable comments (and/or actions) of others.  We must embrace the truth of God's Word.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10 is a great reminder that our Lord's grace is sufficient for us.  Our weakness is opportunity for his strength to be on display.  When we wrestle with insecurity and doubt...we can hold onto the truth that our God loves us and desires to meet us in our struggles, and show us a better way. It isn't that we give up, but because of his grace & love...we continue on for God's glory. 

May 20, 2022

Mayor's Art Show 2022

 We did not have the large gathering/opening night for the Mayor's Art Show at the Frist Museum (Covid Precautions). However, it was up...and students were given passes for their family to go view their work & see the other shows going on at the museum.  Super proud of my students and excited to get their work up at the Frist after two years hiatus because of the pandemic. Most of these projects were done after returning from Christmas Break.  I did a huge unit on Abstract Art with all the grade levels. (I'll post pictures from my all school art show soon & you'll see the others done in this unit!)

KINDERGARTEN


1st GRADE
 

2nd GRADE 

3rd GRADE
 

4th GRADE

May 18, 2022

Crayola at Wendy's!

So yesterday I took my 3 kids to Wendy's to spend some quality time enjoying a Frosty.  THAT WAS MY ONLY REASON FOR GOING TO WENDY'S.....REALLY!!! (wink wink)  

I was so impressed!  NOW THIS IS A KID'S MEAL TOY!!!  It comes with 3 colors related to the container (here you see red violet, blue violet, and purple), and it comes with an activity sheet that goes along with that theme!  HOW FUN!  I was really hoping yellow would contain dandelion, but it did not (yellow, yellow green, yellow orange).  I feel like they missed an opportunity there! ha ha 




 

May 14, 2022

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Direction


Art is all about rebellion.  There are no rules.  Anything & everything goes. 
Many believe these statements to be true.  I'll concede to the fact that art often pushes established ideas, concepts, and boundaries. However, art is also full of rules, processes, and procedures that are paramount to creating.  Without the establishment of these norms, some art forms would not be possible.  Knowing & practicing the rules & directions for a given medium do not impede the artist, but allow them to find success as they imbue their work with their adaptations, stylistic choices, and unique voice.  Following the directions are important!  Not warping a loom correctly, firing at improper temperatures in ceramics, removing enamel from the kiln too soon, using spray adhesive in an enclosed non-ventilated space (umm, this might have happened to me the first time I used the product and did not read the directions)......when you don't follow the directions you often deny the integrity of the art form.


It is God's will that your good lives should silence those who foolishly condemn the Gospel without knowing what it can do for them, having never experienced its power.  You are free from the law, but that doesn't mean you are free to do wrong.  Live as those who are free to do only God's will at all times.  Show respect for everyone.  Love Christians everywhere.  Fear God and honor the government.  1 Peter 2: 15-17

Many view Christianity as a list of do's & don'ts.  It is made up of rules that must be followed, but that no one seems to follow well.  The "Commandments" can come across big, scary, and unobtainable.  Those that view it this way are missing an important thing...GRACE.  The idea of grace is a major component within the Christian faith, but is often misunderstood.  Grace is unmerited favor.  It is a gift we are given freely that we do not deserve and are without the ability to "earn".   In Ephesians 2: 8-9 it says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast."  However, God's grace transforms us.  Some may think grace is a "get out of jail free card" or a license to sin, but I wonder if they have truly experienced God's grace in their lives.  When a person truly is impacted by the grace & love of the Lord, they want to live a life that is honoring and pleasing to God.  They want to apply what the Bible says in all areas of their lives. The list of do's & don'ts become the heart's desire to honor God, know Him, and a way to make Him known.  The "directions" make sense when you understand grace.




May 13, 2022

4th Grade Weaving

 We spent five class times on our weaving before moving onto new projects.  However, I've opened my room up when the first bell rings at 7:45am.  Students can stop in and weave for ten or so minutes in the morning before the second bell rings (I'm on the same hall as the 4th grade!).  I'm averaging about 10 to 15 students each morning.  I love seeing their excitement for weaving!  









May 12, 2022

Student Sketches for Yard Sign Monsters


Some of you wanted to see the drawings the students created that inspired the yard sign monsters! 
Small changes may have been made in a few of them, but for the most part they were created as close as possible to the original design! 

May 11, 2022

Collaborative Yard Sign Monsters!

 I'M SO EXCITED!!!

We've been working on this project since last nine weeks, and this week it made a grand appearance in the front of our school for the world to see (or at least our neighborhood!).  

This year we received a "grant" from Lowe's.  We were asked what we wanted for our school, and the teachers/staff were able to make suggestions of how to use the funds.  I asked for yard signs.  I use to do a lot of our door projects, but as the community changed...I realized I was no longer able to do so (things would get completely destroyed!).  I figured if we created some collaborative projects on yard signs, I could put them out in the morning & bring them back inside at the end of the school day!  

I had all the students (K-4th) create sign monster drawings(with color).  I explained that I wanted them to have personality & express an emotion. They also had to keep them in a rectangle format.   I then went through the classes and pulled the best of the best.  I then narrowed down the designs based on color, expression, and grade level representation.  I transferred the design to the blank yard signs  as exact as I could (You could also put it on the projector and have students do it if you wanted...and had the time.).  I then had 3rd and 4th grade students paint the signs according to how the students colored their original design.  I went back in and did some black outlines & put an outdoor varnish on top of the acrylic.  

This is the 3rd day of me putting them out for the community to see, and we've gotten some amazing positive responses!  

"THEY JUST MAKE ME SMILE!" 

"THE KIDS DID AN AMAZING JOB!"

" I WANT TO TAKE ONE HOME WITH ME!"

Each day I've moved them to different places in the front of our school.  I want to make sure that everyone coming either way will get a chance to see them.  

If you have questions....please feel free to email me/contact me on social media.


May 05, 2022

Yard Sign Monsters Almost Finished!

 Here is a super fun collaborative project we've been working on since last nine weeks!  It is almost done & I can't wait to share it with you all!!  STAY TUNED! 




May 02, 2022

SUMMER WORKSHOP SIGN UP!

The school year is almost over and the summer is before us!  Would love for you to consider joining our three day workshop this summer.  We have a great time and learn along the way.  Located just 30 min. east of Nashville, TN. E-mail if you have any questions! 


 

May 01, 2022

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Giving Encouragment

Artists can be extremely critical of their own work.  Because so often they create in isolation...they begin to believe their inner dialog of negativity. They have no one to stop the wrong thinking. Though they must have an honest & critical eye, be able to self reflect, and edit their own work....negativity rarely yields the positive results that are needed to build momentum in creative pursuits. Internalized negativity stunts one's ability to progress fluidly. Self doubt, frustration, and dissatisfaction are stumbling blocks.  The stereotypical self deprecating, angsty artist is not the picture of health & productivity.

 As in all areas, the artist needs to have individuals in their life that will be honest, yet provide encouragement. No one needs someone lying to them or throwing out worthless platitudes. A person who can give honest feedback and at the same time  encourages the positive in their work is a treasure.  They help the artist to see the good, and help to prevent them from going down a destructive path of negativity.  We all need encouragement as we step out, try new things, and desire to better ourselves.  Words of affirmation go a long way in changing our perspective.  


So encourage each other and build each other up,
 just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Our world has become obsessed with negativity. Spewing hate, hurling insults, and divisiveness creates a toxic environment where no one wins. People feel more disconnected, dissatisfied, and disenchanted. Growth & progress are hard to come by in such an environment.  Love, kindness, connection, and encouragement are needed so desperately. 

 As believers, we must live differently. We have been called to be & do not as the "world".  We need to look at situations & individuals through the eyes of Christ. Our response should be one of love & compassion. 

How would things change around you if you made the choice to encourage someone, make mention of the good you see them doing, take a moment to listen to them(without offering your opinion), or ask if they need help with anything(All the while refusing to participate in fruitless negative talk!)? 

 Could your encouragement show others the love of Christ during these dark times? Could your attitudes and actions help to turn someone's day around?  Could your refusal to participate in the negative help someone else get out of that vicious &  destructive cycle? What has God called you to do? How is He going to use you to encourage others? 

April 30, 2022

GO VOTE: VANS

 Please go to this Vans link and vote for Central High School Knoxville, TN !!! Their art teacher is a friend of mine!!!!  https://customculture.vans.com 


April 27, 2022

Finished Weavings & Background

I’m thrilled with the circle Weavings my third graders are making! I’ve been doing this lesson for 24 years…it never gets old! I’m as excited as the kids. 
I’ve you’ve not tried this lesson…you can check out my blog(search circle weaving) or my YouTube channel! 



 

April 22, 2022

Clown Faces

 


What is the best way to get over fears/phobias...desensitize!! ha ha  
I thought it would be fun to create a board of clown faces using markers & collage. I did ask for happy clowns(though a few students were not feeling especially happy the day we created the clowns). We looked at many examples of clown makeup, hair, and accessories.  It is amazing once I started putting the clowns up how many teachers shared with me how they were creeped out by them.  I have never associated anything with clowns but fun! Maybe this will help some people get over their fear.  






April 20, 2022

Circle Weavings in Progress...

My 3rd graders are a class or two from finishing their circle weavings.  Over all, this has been a pretty good year for circle weaving.  A majority of my students did a great job on their work, and made few errors.  I was a bit concerned.  This year has been a struggle with basic direction following and focus on work (I think connected to the pandemic & online learning prior to this school year.).  



 

April 16, 2022

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: What is Your Story?

Narrative art tells a story.  I love challenging students to create interesting original narratives. They have to truly think through what their story is, and how to best share it with the viewer.  A narrative is at its best when it considers the setting (environment), main/minor characters (people that it involves), and plot (what's happening).  I ask students to periodically stop and share their work with their neighbor.  If their neighbor is unable to convey what is going on in the story, then the artist knows they must reconsider/rethink what they are doing so that they can have their work tell the story more effectively. 


      But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  1 Peter 3: 15-16

Have you ever been asked to share your "testimony" (your faith story)?  For some, the idea of doing such a thing scares them.  Others might think they could do it with ease, but quickly realize when doing so that they lack direction/focus, and are unable to effectively share their journey of faith.  No matter where you find yourself on this spectrum, being able to share your story is an important "tool" that the Lord wants to use in your life & the life of others.  Like the narrative art work I have my students create, you must think through your story and consider how best to share it with others.  You don't want it to sound scripted/canned...but we must be ready in & out of season to give account for our hope!  Writing it down, sharing it with a friend, and thinking upon what you are sharing will allow you to refine it & effectively convey your story   I also feel it will allow you to reflect on God's love & faithfulness in your life. That is a WIN-WIN situation!!  

The Easter Story is on our hearts & minds right now....
but I want to know how the
Easter Story has impacted your story!  

Dear Lord...you have blessed me with a story to share.  Thank you for the testimony you have given me.  I know it your story of grace, love, and hope.  Something our world needs to hear.  Allow me to effectively &fearlessly share the reason for my hope.  Help me to glory you through the story of my life.  And may I see that it is not finished, but still unfolding as I go & grow in you.
In Christ's Name, Amen

April 09, 2022

Stained Glass Window Cling

I have always wanted to do this.  My window looks out to an unkept courtyard & a brick wall. I like the light…but not the view. I had seen them at Home Depot/Lows, but the selection was small and nothing that I was really excited about.  I'm a little late on the Amazon bandwagon (just this past year ordered my first item), but they had a TON of options. You have to be careful though because of size vs price...they can get ya if you aren't paying attention!  This was not my favorite design(that would be a roll that cost $50 and would not have covered the whole window!), but I really liked this one and felt it would work well in my room.  OH MY GOODNESS!!  I was not thinking about the light it cast into my room.  IT IS SO PRETTY!!!!!  We need happy spots in our day...and seeing my floors glowing with beautiful color....LOVE!!!!!








April 08, 2022

April 07, 2022

Testing Jolly Rancher Scented Crayons

I love FIVE BELOW!  Their arts and crafts section has some...SOME....great products.  Not everything is worth your money though.  They currently have Jolly Rancer, Mike & Ikes, and some other "scented" crayons.  I did not read the label and thought that each crayon would have a unique scent.  Not only do they each not have a unique scent(the box was suppose to be watermelon), but there really was no scent at all?!?!?  SAD!!!  Then I tried them out on paper.  Check out my review. 
 

April 06, 2022

Yarn Storage & Distribution

Some have messaged me and asked how I handle the "yarn situation" in my room.  How I do things is not THE way....it is just a way.  You need to figure out what works best for you in your situation.

Many years ago I asked our "carpentry team" (I'm not sure that department exists any more?) to build me some wall shelves in two places in my room.  One I keep supplies on that we use frequently and I need to be accessible to students.  The other is used for storing student art(I have baskets for each class). I purchased Sterilite shoeboxes and drilled a whole in one side(using sharp "adult" scissors...be gentle when you push it in...because sometimes the boxes crack).  If you are on a budget.. collect 2 liter bottles and cut the bottom off them & feed the string through the top.  You can hot glue them together to stabilize them. I teach the students to go up (2 at a time) and get their yarn as needed. They pull a wing span out (finger tip to finger tip arms wide opened) and cut the yarn at the lid below the box they are pulling from.  I have little issue with this...my students are respectful and do a good job(because they LOVE WEAVING!!!).  

My specialty yarn...I keep it in a 10 gal plastic box.  When we use the specialty yarn, I spread it out on my classroom counter top so they can see what I have available to them.  Once again, two students at a time are allowed to go up to get their yarn.  I have a cup with scissors next to the specialty yarn.  They are allowed to select one specialty yarn that they can use up to 4 times in their weaving (I tell them it isn't special if they use it a bunch! ha ha)

 

April 05, 2022

4th Grade Weavings: IN PROGRESS

Before we started with our weft string, we talked about "themes" using color that students could use in their weavings. They needed to select five "normal" yarn colors.  Once they had woven the first five, they were allowed to select a specialty yarn to add to their weaving(they also could chose not to use a specialty yarn).  We talked about how different yarns can cause "challenges" while weaving(pompom yarn, eyelash yarn, blanket yarn..etc). I collect specialty yarn in odd places...and only when it is on sale!! 

This is our second class time working on our weavings. They hate when I say time is up!! Weaving is something that really reaches students in a way other mediums do not. We will work two or three more class times to finish these.  If students don't finish...I open my classroom to them in the morning after the first bell & before the second (about 15 min).  There have been days in years past where I've had 40 students in my room weaving.  

Here are a few examples from my students.