January 31, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Freely Give

There is a wonderful movement happening in major cities across the United States called FREE ART FRIDAYS.  The idea is simple, artists "hide" artwork in a public area in their city & leave clues on social media of where to find it.  The recipient then posts their find back on social media (hopefully).  There is no financial gain from this experience.  It is possible there won't even be the satisfaction of having someone post & show their appreciation for the artwork found.  It is simply another outlet for artists to share their gifts and talents. There is a joy & excitement in giving a part of what you have been given, with no reciprocation. 

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said:  'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'
Acts 20:35  

We all have gifts, talents, training, and skills that provide a living, meet needs, or gives great joy. Some of us are blessed to have all of that rolled into one.  However, we can look around our neighborhoods & communities and see that there are those not about to make a living, needs that are going unmet, and people that seem so far removed from joy.  We can be so caught up in our own world that we do not see those struggling around us.  We may be jaded from past negative experiences, and feel that people need to take care of their own issues.  We may be overwhelmed by the enormity & level of need/distress that we feel unable to make a difference.  God has not called us to solve all the problems in the world.  He has called us to be available to do His will..and to use the gifts/talents/training/skills He has given us for His glory & honor.  

All that we have is a gift from God.  He has modeled for us how to give.....because He came & gave His life on the cross for our sins.  We can't out give God!  As Him what He would have you do.  Can you cut back on eating out so that you can give to a food pantry?  Can you give up going to the movies on the weekend so you can volunteer at the homeless shelter.  Can you take family time and put it to good use helping out the refugees in your community.  How can you use your gifts & talents to help your community?  Pray about it.  Step out in faith...and JUST DO IT!!  


Dear Lord, help me to see the need around me.
Help me to take my eyes off of myself...so I might see with Your eyes & Your heart.
Allow me to use the gifts & talents You have given me to glorify You.
Allow me to invite others along as we step out in faith!
May our giving be an overflow of the reality of what You have given us!

January 28, 2016


This "bath" is long over due!!  Yes, I'm giving my watercolor cases a bath.  It is true, I'm a bit OCD....but this is more than wanting them to look nice.  Washing your cases serves a couple purposes.  We want students to respect our supplies...because when they do...they last longer!  When you have cases that are "dirty"....and paint is in the lid, around them lip of the paints, on the back hinges of the paint sets....students will begin thinking this is "ACCEPTABLE".  They will treat it as you have allowed it to be treated.  You need to hold your students to a higher level!  They WILL rise to your expectations if they are clear, consistent, and practiced.  
The other benefit of the bath....the cases will last longer.  A build of watercolor on the hinges will cause them to get stuck, pop off, or even break.  Semi-most watercolors like my PRANG(which if you are not using...you really should...they are sooooo much better than other brands serving the elementary age)......are kind of "sticky"  That yields great color, but causes a lot of build up if allowed to accumulate.  A little work will ensure that they last a long time!!  

January 27, 2016

BLAST OFF: Kindergarten Mixed Media

I'm happy with how these kindergarten mixed media pieces are turning out.  I am going to give them part of one more class to finish them up...adding stars or planets on the black...and any details they may want to add on their rockets(construction paper crayons).  When you are doing mixed media for kindergarten..you need to remember to break things down...keeping them simple with one or two steps per class time.  If you try to do too much...you'll end up with a hot mess!  

On the first class time...I had my students start with line drawing.  I then had them trace using construction paper crayons(I just liked those colors for this project...regular crayons would be fine too).  Last, I had them do a watercolor wash on top.    During the second class time...students added the black paper for space...and created the rocket shops in collage(limited to 2 colors).  They ended it by adding glitter glue to the fire/smoke coming out of the bottom of the rocket ship.  

January 25, 2016

Breaking Down Mixed Media

This is the first step for my third grade Mixed Media piece.  Thinking through what you want to accomplish within a nine weeks(or whatever your break down is) could yield an interesting mixed media work.  They can be new elements your introducing or skills you are revisiting.  So many times mixed media projects at the elementary level are lacking because some are afraid of the time commitment or how to challenge students to create meaningful & magnificent works.  If you break down the elements you can assess each aspect as well as the whole.  Stay tuned as my kiddos take these to the next level!! 

January 24, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Time & Tiny Little Dots

To excel in art, one must be patient. 
 Skill takes time to develop. 
Work can not be rushed. 

One artist that exemplified patience was Georges Seurat.  His style of pointillism (applying small dots of color) took an incredible amount of time.  The scale & style of his most famous work ,Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, required the artist two years of his life to complete. So many of us have a hard time waiting 3 minutes for a bag of microwave popcorn to pop!  Seurat had a vision.  Seurat had determination.  Seurat had a plan.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Colossians 3:12

Many Christians are lacking some of the basic life "skills" God has called us to have.  We lack compassion, our kindness depends on our mood, humility is a bad word, gentleness is for the weak, and patience....who's got time for that?!?    Yet these skills are important enough to be mentioned in scripture as something we're suppose to cover ourselves in.  I could probably do a whole series on this verse, and each of the attributes mentioned.  However, I want to focus on patience.  Patience is truly something the world is lacking.  We want everything NOW!  We don't have time for patience.  We don't have patience in our own skill development...so we make ourselves sound better than we are, we don't have patience to climb the ladder of success...we want to bounce on up to the top, we don't have patience for others in our life to grow & mature...we want them where we need them to be now.  This is not the life God has called us to live. Patience should permeate ever aspect of our life: our relationship with God, His people, our job, family, friendships, daily interactions...EVERYTHING.  They say you shouldn't pray for patience because God will give you something to be patient about.  I feel patience is more of something you develop in the every day, and then when you are faced with something that TRULY requires patience...you are ready.  We need to be patient with ourselves.  Sometimes we want to be somewhere we just aren't.  We have to be ok with where we are, but trust God with where He wants to take us.  Like Seurat, we need to have a vision, determination, and a plan.  If those things are in place...patience will be a tool in our development and not a trial.

Dear Lord, Help me to grow in patience.  Allow me to see the need to develop this area of my life as I grow deeper in my relationship with You.  May patience be a witness to others of your impact in my life. 
In Christ's Name

January 21, 2016

What An Art Teacher Does On A Snow Day...

Snow days in the south are not like snow days in the north!!  There is little snow...and talk of BLACK ICE!!! (as if they are the only ones that get ice?!?)  Anyways..I came into school because I had received my supply order, but there were many things wrong.  Frozen glue, missing items, damaged items.....not good!  So I came in today to call the company and let them know the situation.  I'm so impressed with how they handled things!!  They listened, expressed their concern, and got to work replacing the items!!!  Big shout out to SCHOOL SPECIALTY (Parent Company of SAX Art Supplies).  You all are a joy to work with, and I truly appreciate how you stand behind your products and service!! 

January 19, 2016

Kindergarten Self Portraits


Kindergarten always amazes me with their ever growing skills!! Here are a couple of the mid-year portraits.  I review proportion, "parts", and placement.  I encourage details & personal touches so their portraits don't all start looking the same (as you may have seen in the past).  

January 17, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: A Clean Sheet

Sometimes an eraser is not enough!  Have you ever been working on a drawing, and seemed unable to get things right?  You end up spend more time erasing than actually drawing.  Finally you start over on a new sheet of paper, and "magically" you are able to do what seemed impossible just moments before.  Erasing usually gets rid of what's on the surface of your paper, but often the hurdles we encounter go beyond the surface.  We develop a mental block in our drawing because of the mistakes we were making...and so often that snowballs into feelings of frustration and defeat artistically.  Somehow a fresh start on a clean sheet gives us the freedom to create like we were unable to before..more so than just erasing.  

So often we don't live as the "new creations" God has made us to be.  We allow our past to keep us from living out the life God has given us to live.  We allow the mistakes we've made to keep us from moving forward in what God has given us to do.  We allow those who knew us before to speak untruth into our lives about who we are.  The devil uses these things to defeat us before we've had a chance to fight.  However, this is what scripture says is true.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;  old things have passed away & look, new things have come. 
 2 Corinthians 5:17

Turn the page....get a new sheet....mentally, emotionally, and spiritually!  God has made us new IN HIM!  The mistakes of the past are just that...THE PAST.  We can get hung up on our past mistakes and allow that to rob us of the joy we have in Christ.  We need to see ourselves as He sees us.  We need to accept this as truth to the very core of our being.  God did not just "erase" our past...he made us NEW CREATIONS....no mark or blemish.  Through Christ...we are spotless...a clean sheet!  How does this truth impact your life?  What are you doing with this gift?  What lies are you believing that are keeping you from embracing 2 Corinthians 5:17?


Dear Lord, Thank You for the fresh start!  
Thank You for the forgiveness sins.
I praise You for making me a NEW creation in You!
Please help me to let my past be my past, and not listen to the lies that try to keep me from living the new life You have for me. 

In Your Name

January 14, 2016

TGE+ATC=Art Around the World

 Did you participate in MiniMatisse's Global ATC Swap??  If not...you have got to do it next year!!  It has been so much fun to participate, create, anticipate, and finally receive!!!  

If you have no idea what I'm talking about....RUN DON'T WALK over to MiniMatisse's blog & find out all about it!!!! (After you read this post on Art With Mr. E first!!! ha ha)


So I used the ATC as a warm up for a unit I was doing with 4th grade on birds. You can approach it a million different ways...you just need to find out what works for you in your situation.


(I attached a map to each collection so students could see where they were from in relation to Nashville,TN ...where we are!)

January 10, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Hard Work

To be an artist, one must be willing to put in the time & energy to develop and refine their skills.  Though "natural" talent helps, there are no short cuts in life or art.  During my time in college, there were classes I took that truly were a struggle.  Ceramics was one such class.  At one point I had two professors who had dedicated their lives to the subject matter watch me throw on the wheel.   Neither could figure out my "issue".  They watched me create a bowl(or should I say attempt) over and over again, but could not pinpoint where I was messing up. I never gave up though.  I wish I could say that I magically became a master potter after my early struggles, but I can not.  Sometimes we can work with all that we are, and the end results aren't sunshine and roses.  Work isn't always about the outcome, but the attitude with which we work that matters. 

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.  Rejoice in our confident hope.  Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
Romans 12: 11-12

This journey of faith we are on takes work!  Things don't just happen.  If we want to grow in our relationship with the Lord, we must put time, effort, and energy into it.  Sometimes we neglect our spiritual life.  Maybe it is because we've never been challenge to work at our faith?  Maybe it is because we feel we don't have enough time? Maybe we don't feel it is that important....isn't being saved enough? The idea of sacrifice, time, and discipline are foreign concepts in our microwave society, but the investment is worth it.  It doesn't mean that our life will always go smoothly, or that we'll love where we're at physically, spiritually, & emotionally at all times.  Hard work isn't always about the outcome  However it does allow us to know & trust the One who will be with us through it all. God has called us to know, grow, give, and go....and this takes work. Are you willing to give up being comfortable....to be who God has called you to be?  


Dear Lord...
Help me to be work hard in all I do!
May I work hard at my job...my marriage...my friendships..
in order to bring glory to you.  Help me to work hard at my relationship with You so that may know  You & make You known!  May my work bring you glory & honor!!

January 06, 2016

It Begins...

Every year I pick a theme for my all school art show....that is just how I roll.  I know many of you do not do it that way...and that is ok!!  Many of my friends hold back art work throughout the year, and put together a best of the best type of art show.  LOVE THEM!!  The themed art show works for me...and my school.  I love that it doesn't get "old"...I try to come up with new/fun ideas each year.  This challenges me in creating new lessons to fit within the theme, meet the requirements for our district curriculum, & fulfill the state standards!!  This year we're doing ROBOTS & ROCKET SHIPS!  With this being the first week back...I've just started into the lessons which we "might" use for the art show.  I say might...because I usually do at least three projects per grade level within the theme so I have choices!!!  I also start as soon as we get back...because you never know how many days you'll be out for snow/ice...or how many days kids will be out with colds/flu.  

Anyways..just thought I'd get you thinking about the spring art show early! 

January 03, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: CHANGE

Change is an important part of the artistic life.  As we experience life, explore new facets of self, and grow mentally &emotionally, it is natural for our art to change with us.  We explore new media, new colors, new content that helps to express where we find ourselves & the ideas we wish to convey.  Picasso is an artist that we can easily see his artistic changes over time. Blue to Rose, Cubism to Neo-Classicism...we see Picasso changing. He could have fallen flat on his face as he changed his style of visual communication.  Change can bring reward, but it can also bring failure.  However, if he would have remained the same throughout his entire career, he would have been labeled ONE NOTE or ONE HIT WONDER.
 Changes grows us...we can learn from successes & failures.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43: 18-19

Sometimes change is scary.  We get use to things being a certain way.  Even if they aren't perfect...knowing what to expect brings about a certain level of comfort.  What if things change and they aren't any better? What if things change and they are worse?  What if things change and I don't really like it?  What if things change and I'm not good enough?  Change is a part of life that we must learn to embrace.  As Christians, we can approach change differently.  We don't trust in change for our joy...because it can bring us sorrow.  We don't trust in change for our significance...because it can leave us feeling insignificant.  We don't trust in change for life to be better...because it can make life worse.  Our trust is in the unchanging God...WHO WAS, AND IS, AND IS TO COME!  When we place our trust in the unchanging truth of God's love...we can approach change without fear.  Sometimes God wants to do a "new thing" in our lives.  A "new thing" is an opportunity to trust God in new ways...to grow in our knowledge of Him...and to let others know about Him.  We may face failure or we may face success.  No matter the outcome God is still God, and He is still in control (even if we feel we are not).  We need to embrace change and trust God.  Each experience allows us a fuller picture of who He is....and how much He loves & cares for us.  

Dear Lord, Thank you for never changing in this ever changing world.  Thank you for being my rock...my firm foundation.  I can embrace change knowing that my foundation is strong.  I can grow in You by trusting You with "new thing"(s) in my life.  Help me to turn away from fear's lies..and allowing Your truth will see me through any and all of life's challenges & changes.
Thank you Lord for this life You've given me.