November 29, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: An Artist Gotta Art

I remember during my student teaching...asking my co-operating teacher what she was working on currently.  She said, "You mean art?  Honey, you will see that once you start won't have the time or desire to create any more!  The last thing you'll want to do is pick up a paint brush at home after teaching art all day long."  WHAT??  That seemed absurd to me at the time. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that would not be me!!! 

As artists, there is an urge/longing/desire to create.  It is at the fiber of our being, and if we are not creating.....there seems to be something out of balance in our lives.    As with all people...artists go through "seasons".  These seasons have us creating up a storm some moments.....but at other times walking through an artistic wasteland struggling to have even a creative thought.  At first, I was able to maintain that balance of teaching & creating.  I was sure that my co-operating teacher just didn't know how to organize her life in such a way that would allow for her to easily continue artistic pursuits. However, once I got married & we began having children....I realized how easy it was to "lose" that aspect of my life.  
Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
Colossians 2:6-7
I feel this same thing can happen in our faith as well.  We can get so busy with living life...that we forget who we are in Him.  We forget the training we received ...who He made us to be...what He wanted our lives to look like.  But how can we combat this?!?!  I feel if we embrace the last part of verse 7...we may have our answer.  OVERFLOWING WITH GRATITUDE!  Gratitude comes when we are aware of our position before Christ....and the true gift He gave us through His life, death, resurrection, and opportunity for reconciliation in & through Him!!  If our lives are grounded in the attitude of gratitude for all the things He has could we ever lose site of Him & who He made us to be in our day to day?  Others will see Christ in us & it will impact every area of our life because of the OVERFLOWING!!!

With my art, I've learned to keep an art journal or sketch pad handy.  I know that I might not have time to do large scale works of art....but I can still create small sketches/designs in my journal.  This helps to feed my creative soul. Through this...I've been inspired to create larger pieces or develop ideas for larger pieces. That would not be possible if I allowed the artist I was created to be to flounder in unrealized potential.   My  spiritual soul needs to be feed as well.  Not only do I need to realize who He is...and who I am in Him....I need to continually grow my relationship with the Lord.  It might be times of prayer, fellowship with other believers, reading a Christian book on my iPad, or reading the Word on an app (or the old fashion actual paper bible!!).  Whatever it is...for something to be OVERFLOWING continually...the source needs to be pouring into it!  

Dear Lord, Help me to not become so busy
with "LIFE" that I forget to nurture who you created
me to be!  My I continually seek to know you
and make you known in my life.  

November 18, 2015

#k12artchat w/ Mr. E


  Join me for the #k12artchat on Twitter tomorrow night at 8:30pm CST

November 16, 2015



So WEEK 3 is here...and I'm asking you to step out of your box a little.  More than likely your THANK YOU card will go to a stranger..or someone you only know very little about.  I figure many of us have spent time in the food service industry in some capacity.  I've worked fast food drive through, waited tables at a high priced fish restaurant, and managed a food court in college.  I know what it is like to have amazing customers and what it is like to be treated terribly.  Unfortunately, too often than not...these workers are not treated kindly even though many of the "issues" are not directly their fault.  The receive the brunt of people that are stressed, tired, or those who can't find what they wanted to find while out shopping.  A little kindness could go a long way for these people!  

Your card can be made with any materials...maybe you might want to do print making & have a few on hand to pass out as you go about your holiday shopping?  

Also try to figure out an extra that would be meaningful for that person.  Someone at Starbucks probably doesn't need a Starbucks gift card!! ha ha  Maybe you make jewelry or something else that would be a special gift during this season of gratitude & giving!!  

I can't wait to see what you come up with!

As on Twitter & Facebook using #ARTGIVINGNOV & #k12artchallenge  

November 15, 2015


So #ARTGIVINGNOV WEEK 2 is in the books. We focused on those who put their life in harms way for us!  I know that my kids and I really loved the chance to reach out to our local fire station(and will try to do things for them through out the year!!). If you forgot to post your pictures...tag me in them & I'll make sure to add them to this post later!  

Stay tuned for Week 3's Challenge Monday Evening!!  

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Pattern of Love


Growing up in Appalachia, I was surrounded by gorgeous hand made quilts!  My mom, my aunts, my grandma, the ladies at church, our neighbors....EVERYONE QUILTED!  Because of this..patterned  fabric was everywhere!  I loved looking through the fabric as a child....and still am very influenced by those patterns in my own art.  There is something about patterns that bring us great peace & comfort.  Knowing what to expect, how things will turn out, what will come all brings peace to our crazy messed up world.  I treasure those quilts made with scraps of dresses, aprons, or other materials created with love by hands so precious & dear.  Wrapping up in one of those quilts, I can feel the love  of my family holding me tight.  

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Isaiah 40:8

If we are faithless, He remains faithful- for He cannot deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:13

There is a pattern to our faith...the history of  God & man.  God loves us.  God pursues us.   God made a way for us to be in relationship with Him.  YESTERDAY/TODAY/FOREVER! Whatever your past, whatever your struggles/stresses/stumbling block is today, or whatever might come in the future....God is present.  You may not have seen Him in the moment, but He was there.  You may not "feel" Him in your current situation...but He is holding you tight.  The future may be unclear, but He is already there!  He is not only there....but loving you.  Our God is consistent.  Our God is a constant that we can count on.  He is the soothing pattern in this crazy upside down world of ours.  Knowing what He has done through out history(His faithfulness we see in the Bible!)...knowing what He has done through OUR history...knowing His promises...and resting in their truth....we can wrap ourselves in that that love...and find warmth, peace, love, and truth.  This can get us through ANYTHING! 

November 11, 2015

Abstracted Birds Completed

Today the students added the black into their work...and WOW...did it make a difference.  I had my  doubts about this project, but I'm loving it now!!  The kids really loved looking at the Inuit work, and connected to bold black lines they used in their work.  I first had students draw their designs before giving them their paint.  I provided extra fine brushes so they could do more detailed line work where needed.  I think the kids surprised themselves!! I can't wait to see how the rest of the week goes!!

November 09, 2015


Hello friends...we're now on WEEK TWO of the #ARTGIVINGNOV / #k12artchallenge!!! If you did not participate in WEEK worries!!!  You can jump in with WEEK TWO...or play catch up and do WEEK ONE this week as well!!  

This week I want you too consider those who put themselves in harms way for us...Fire/Police/Armed Forces! This could be a great challenge for you...your family...and/or your school! As with all our challenges this month...create a thank you card for the person or group you have selected...and consider an "extra" blessing to gift them with.  I spoke with our local fire department....and they said they love cards from kids & COOKIES!!   Some other "extra" ideas: pop corn, coffee, snack baskets with a variety of treats, coloring books/crayons(de-stresser!!).  However, I'm sure you can come up with some wonderful ideas!!!

This could become a beautiful tradition that you add to holidays year round...or just a monthly expression of gratitude for people that go above & beyond as a way of life!  

  • You don't have to run out and buy those pre-made blank cards to create on...just a good quality folded piece of paper will do!  If you need to mail it...think about the envelopes you have on hand so you don't create too large!  

  •  SUBJECT: Think about an aspect of their job, symbol for their profession, colors associated with their line of work. There is nothing that says it has to be "realistic".  Abstract art would be appreciated just as much.  It is the heart behind it what matters the most.

  • MATERIALS: Mixed Media: Pencil, Marker, Pen, Crayon, Colored Pencil, Paint, Fabric, Printed Paper, Photos...WHATEVER!!!

  • If you can't think of an "EXTRA" to go with your's ok!!  Just give a the card!!  A You goes a long way. (but honestly...cookies are easy to do & a favorite!)

  • AS ALWAYS WITH #K12ARTCHALLENGE POST!!  Twitter/Instagram/Facebook WHATEVER! :) The hashtags are #k12artchallenge &  #ARTGIVINGNOV  If you can tag me in it...that would be awesome(then I won't have to search!!)   @ArtWithMrE  

This can really make a difference in many lives!!
 A few moments out of your day...and you will do so much good!!

November 08, 2015


Here are some of the images collected from Week One of #ARTGIVINGNOV!
If you did not get to participate in Week can still join in the fun!  Play catch up or just start fresh with Week Two.  

The information for Week Two will be posted here on my blog Monday( some point?!?!  I've got my observation with my principal Monday morning!!)


Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Is This Happening?

Have you ever heard of a "Happening"?  They are an art event that has some aspects planned, but often with room for improvisation & audience participation.  They also usually involve multiple art forms.  Happenings sound like an amazing experience.  However, I'm a bit of a control freak...and would struggle as an artist to give up that control and embrace the moment which could yield unprecedented artistic expression & creativity.  There are so many factors that go into a Happening..location, other artists, audience participation, and the strength of the original idea.  One or more of these factors could throw the whole plan off it's original track.  However, that is what makes a Happening exciting...they may not turn out how you planned...but could be even better than you imagined.

Not being "flexible" can keep me from experiencing the blessings of faith as well.  I have an idea of what God wants to do...and how I think He wants accomplish it.  However, when it doesn't work out how I thought it should...I'm ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus.  He was carried on a bed.  They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people.  They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood.  Then they let the bed with the sick man down before Jesus.  When Jesus saw their faith,  He said to the man, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."   
 Luke 5:18-20

The full story can be found at Luke 5:17-26.  The men who carried the man on the bed were on a mission.  They knew if they could just get to Jesus...that He would be able to help.  Their plan was derailed a bit by the crowd that surrounded the Lord...which made it "impossible" to reach Him.  I wonder what went through their minds when they were so close..yet unable to reach Jesus.  I know I would have been the first one to say..."WELL, WE TRIED GUYS!  GUESS WE NEED TO TURN BACK & GO HOME.  OUR PLAN JUST WON'T WORK.  IT WAS A GOOD TRY THOUGH."  Somehow they were able to see past the conventional way of reaching the Lord, and put their faith into action.  They knew their mission...and they were going to see it through till the end...even if it didn't look like what they originally thought it would.  I really would have loved to have seen/heard the reaction of the men who carried the man, the man on the bed, the people who surrounded Jesus, and they lowered him down through the hole in the roof! ha ha  

They embraced the moment..and their faith was rewarded!  Things didn't happen like they thought they would, but they happened just as they needed to happen for God to be glorified!  We often forget this aspect of events.  Does it bring glory to the Father & draw us closer in our relationship with Him?  If things always happen as we plan/expect do we ever develop the faith needed to live the life God has planned for us?!?!  

Dear Jesus...
Let me embrace the HAPPENINGS of my life.
May I keep the mission before me, but allow the 
events to turn out as they need 
to in order to bring you the most glory...
and to draw me into a deeper/richer relationship with you.
In Christ's Name

November 06, 2015

Abstracted Birds

This is the second class time of working on this project.  During the first week we discussed abstraction & looked at images of abstracted well as examples of birds depicted in Native American work.  During our second class time, we reviewed the color wheel & analogous colors. Students selected their colors and painted their birds.  We plan to spend a partial class using black to add definition to their images.  This project is hit & miss for me.  Some of the students are really doing some interesting things...while others are just mixing their colors all together into one(even though we discussed this prior to painting).  I'm hoping the black saves the day!! Stay tuned...I'll be sure to share.

November 04, 2015

TAEA Elementary Division Project


I'm the state elementary division leader for TnAEA.  During our state conference...I'm responsible for leading a time with the elementary art teachers. This year I kicked off our time by having each teacher create an arrow.  I love arrows....and the symbolism they can provide.  They can show us where to go, where we've been, direction, confusion, and get to the point of things.  In education...we can feel like the arrow going in a bunch of different directions...right side up, upside down, over , under, and every which way!  When we are feeling confused, directionless, or even down...we must keep the main thing the main thing....THE CHILDREN! Keeping our students at the center will allow us to coarse correct when our direction seems unclear. Where is your arrow pointing right it spinning around and around? What do you need to do to get it going in the right directions:recharge your batteries, professional development, a mentor to come along side you, finding a group of like minded teachers to hold you accountable & encourage you?? You are not alone...we've all been there!  

November 02, 2015


WEEK 1 is all about family....and family comes in many forms!  I have friends that are closer than blood!!   So don't limit yourself to just spouse or blood relatives.  I already know that my wife does not receive enough thanks & praise for all that she she is one of my THANK YOU cards this week.  However...I want to go beyond just saying thank you.  I want to bless her!  I know that one of her simple pleasures is getting away to Starbucks I picked up a Starbucks card to place inside her card as an extra somethin' somethin'!!!  The extra blessing doesn't have to be something you buy could be time, an adventure together, watching their kids, cleaning their car or house, fixing dinner....WHATEVER!!!  All that I ask is that you share your art work & your extra blessing!!  If you want to share why that person was your THANK YOU this week...we'd love to hear!!

So now what?  Start by taking time to think about your family....and who may NEED a special thank you!!  I know we could be making a huge stack of cards this week...but don't overwhelm yourself.   Hopefully this is just the beginning of sharing the gratitude attitude & purposely letting those you love know you care!

You don't have to run out and buy those premade blank cards to create on...just a good quality folded piece of paper will do!  If you need to mail it...think about the envelopes you have on hand so you don't create too large!  

Pencil, Marker, Pen, Crayon, Colored Pencil...WHATEVER!!!

SUBJECT: Whatever would show a personal connection to the person you are giving it to!  (This week I'll do a coffee cup to go with her gift card!)

If you can't think of an "EXTRA" to go with your's ok!!  Just give a the card!! often do you receive thank you cards for just being you??  This will encourage and bless whoever you give it to....with or without any extras!

Twitter/Instagram/Facebook...WHATEVER! :)  
The hashtags are #k12artchallenge & #ARTGIVINGNOV  
If you can tag me in it...that would be awesome(then I won't have to search!


November 01, 2015



I love this time of the year!  Fall is my favorite season & Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  So I'm super excited that I've been given the opportunity to host #K12ARTCHALLENGE this month.  

I know many of you have been asking questions about what exactly GROWING THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE THROUGH GIVING would like like in an art challenge.  So let me share my vision for the month....and hopefully you will all be excited for the experience!  

I truly believe gratitude should do more than create appreciation for something or should change should call us to action.  If we practice the attitude of gratitude & put gratitude into action..what a difference we can make in our own life & the lives of those around us.  


Each week you will be asked to create Thank You cards for individuals/groups.  Some weeks may be more comfortable/easy than others.  I may be asking you to step outside your comfort zones in order to bring joy to the lives of others. Some tasks may require more than the artistic creation of a Thank You card....but you will be able to do as much or as little as you are able.  Each week will also feature a different media for you to use in the creation of your cards.


  • The "assignment" for the week will be given each Monday Morning.
  • The "celebration" will take place Sunday you a week to follow through with the assignment.
  • Use the hashtag #K12ArtChallenge & #ARTGIVINGNOV when posting on Twitter (@ArtWithMrE) & Instagram (ARTWITHMRE). 
  • Invite your friends, family(kids), and co-works to join in!  We could start a Gratitude Movement!

I hope so!  I'm so excited to see how everyone approaches #ARTGIVINGNOV !
If you have questions along the way.. please let me know!


Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Collaboration is an Art

For many years now I've tried to do collaborative art work in my school.  I feel that collaboration is a skill that will serve students in all areas of their life.  They need to be able to celebrate others' victories, help those that might be struggling, encourage those that might be behind, and many other important LIFE skills.  I also feel collaborative work builds unity & excitement as students come together for a common purpose!  Not everyone is on board at first.  Many students want to create something individual, don't care about the collaboration if they not the star of the show, or feel it is not their responsibility to help others who are participating.  However, when things start progressing & a majority of students begin getting excited about the work....those not on board will quickly follow suit.  Their pride, hesitation, and misconceptions fade away & they embrace the role they play in the bigger picture.

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:5-6

Could it be that the church is like the children not wanting to join in for the greater good?  Do people not participate for selfish reasons, desiring to be the star of the show, wanting to do things their way, or not really wanting to help others fulfill their purpose because they are to busy working on their own?  I also wonder if this keeps different denominations from coming together to serve the Lord in a more dynamic fashion?  If we'd lay aside our own agendas and embrace what God has for us...maybe we'd see amazing things begin to happen.  How can we encourage collaboration within the body of our own churches....but also in our communities(with other churches).  The Lord desires us for us to glorify the God with ONE VOICE!  Not that we'd all look the same, act the same, worship the same.....but have ONE VOICE.  How do we achieve that?  Put aside ourselves....and know the Father's plan!!  The projects you see above start with a plan!  The kids don't just start throwing things together....the "master" (teacher) has set before them the vision...and they are given the tools to fulfill it.  God's plan is simple....KNOW HIM..AND MAKE HIM KNOWN!  Can we not take that basic message and work together??


Lord, help us to set aside ourselves.  Help us to see your plan...and Lord help us to come together to live out that plan!!  Let us strive to glorify you....TOGETHER...AS ONE VOICE!