November 30, 2016

The Little White Owl: Kindergarten

I recently posted my "go-to" winter books for kindergarten!  
This week I'm reading The Little White Owl.

I have some amazing...I mean AMAZING kindergarten artists!!!!  I had them cut out the ovals for the eyes from white paper so they really POPPED on the page.  We drew our picture first.  They were instructed to make a fun pattern on the belly of the owls.  We then used construction paper crayons to color.  I really push "finishing" their work craftsmanship that it truly looks completed.  I love the results!!!

This owl has seen things!!!!

November 28, 2016

Practicum Students' Poster/Display

I've long worked with the art education department at MTSU (Middle TN State University).  I've had a majority of my student teachers come from there, and who knows how many practicum students!!!  They truly have a wonderful program that well prepares their student for the world of art education.
As part of their stay with me (they send me three at a time..twice a week... for about 5 weeks),  they have to create a bulletin board/display.  I'm kind of possessive about my bulletin have them make posters for my wall.  Here are this year's offerings!! 

November 27, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Strong & Weak

We don't like to exploit our weaknesses. We have a difficult time embracing our struggles.  However, both can fuel the artist with amazing inspiration!  The weakness explored through the arts can become a great strength.  The despair of one's struggle can find peace through the process of creation.  Sometimes artists get stereotyped as dark, brooding, moody, and always struggling with something.  Maybe they are just more in touch with this part of life & are working through it instead of glazing over the deep hurts that are apart of all of our lives. 

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

Unfortunately many believers live life on the surface.  They have become skilled at wearing masks to cover their struggles & masters of acting as not to appear weak.  Somewhere along the line the lie was accepted & adopted that Christians should be "perfect".  You go to church and find that everyone is "fine"(said with a shallow half smile).   People do not share their hurts, discuss their struggles, or admit their weaknesses.  Yet in 2 Cor. 12: 9-10 we are confronted with the fact that the very thing so many are trying to exactly what God wants us to bring to him.  When we can bring these things to the Lord & admit that we need him...his strength can be experienced.  The community of believers can become stronger when we live life together...sharing our struggles & weaknesses with one another.  We can experience the Lord in a new way when we can free ourselves of the masks & acting....and live an authentic matter how imperfect!!

November 23, 2016

Mini Matisse's ATC Swap 2016

Here are this year's offerings for the 2nd Annual Mini-Matisse ATC Swap!
I had all grades work on different aspects of the cards.  Can't wait to see what we get back from the swap!! The kids loved seeing other students' work from all over the world last year!!  

November 20, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Layers

I love creating & teaching collage. There is something so soothing to me about cutting paper. I also love the amount of texture, color, and pattern that can be infused in the work.  When I teach collage, one of the greatest struggles for young artists is planning the layers to their work.  They get so excited about one component that they forget that their are things behind & around it.  This creates greater challenges when things are done without considering the whole.  Even when the background is not what we would consider the "star" of the show, it must be considered for the overall success of the work.  Every layer of a collage is important to the larger picture.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, aa time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.  
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Our lives are all about the layers.  We have experiences that may seem to be something we'd rather forget, but those events allow us to value & embrace the good in our lives.  It isn't that we wish negative, challenging, difficult times upon ourselves & others.  Those times are part of all of our lives.  We will experience pain, sickness, and even death.  How will we deal this these things?  Often we return in our hearts & minds to the good times...when life was not such a struggle.  Remember such things gives us hope for tomorrow.  When our lives are going well & we are experience joy & do we reflect on those experiences?  We remember where we came from & the challenges we've overcome.  When life is neither high nor low....we look at our struggles to push us toward greater things....or the successes to motivate us to new heights.   We can not fixate on the positive, negative, or current situations.  Doing so denies the larger picture God is creating through our lives.  There is a season for everything.  Those seasons all play a part in knowing God & making God known. As we share our stories of his faithfulness in our lives(good & bad)...God is glorified.  The layers that make up our life are all important....and must be considered as we grow in him. 

November 19, 2016

Books in the Art Room: Winter

Fall has been fun..but it is time to turn our attentions to winter!  It will be here before we know it.  I do my best to have WINTER books & not CHRISTMAS.  I stay away from holidays as much as possible since they are a day...and seasons last for months (so the art is relevant longer!).  Plus..not everyone celebrates the same holidays...or in some cases..ANY holidays. 

So here are some of the winter books I use in my classroom! 

November 18, 2016

Winter Bulletin Board 2016: BEGINNING

I've been posting my winter collaborative boards for as long as I've been blogging.  Each year I try to tweek/improve/change things.  This year I was thinking about Tennessee (I teach in Nashville) we're going to make Winter in the Smokies!   Each class makes different parts of the bulliten board..and then we assemble it.  It will be up from the end of Nov. till mid Feb.  The kids understand they won't get the pieces back, and are totally ok with it!! (You just have to prepare them for that from the beginning!!)  

Here is a link to my past winter bulletin boards!!

November 15, 2016

Circle Weaving Awesomeness!!!!

If you have followed me for know I LOVE CIRCLE WEAVING!!!
It is truly one of my favorite projects of the year.  It has its frustrations...but the victories & successes are so much sweeter!!!! Here are a few of the awesome circle weaving so far (more to come later).  

November 14, 2016

Fall Festival Activity: Grateful Garland

I've participated in our annual Fall Festival in various roles over the years(16 yrs at this school).  I started painting faces for the first few years.  I really dislike painting faces.  Then for many years I did the "Hair Scare" booth...where I sprayed the kids hair with fun colors.  I liked it better than painting faces...but worried about the health risks of breathing in that stuff for three hours straight!?!?   So I think it was about 4 or 5 yrs ago I switched over to doing a craft/art project.  The first couple years they created individual items.  Three years ago I switched to doing collaborative projects that parents, grandparents, former students, faculty, and students could all participate in!  
This year I decided to do a "Grateful Garland".  With the "stuff" going on recently here in the good ol' USA...I thought taking a moment to focus on what we're thankful for would be a great exercise!!!  

I had people come in and write/draw things they were thankful for using Sharpies...and then tie it onto the rope I had strung in my room.  Still waiting for the faculty to come and create their's before I hang it up!!  

November 13, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: TOGETHER

One of my favorite lessons to teach the fourth graders is sewing soft sculptures.  Most of my students have never used a needle & thread before.  That really levels the playing field.  All the students are approaching the lesson excited...but nervous about doing something they've never done.  There are tears, frustration, excitement, success, and failures. It is rare for any negative words to be exchanged between one another during this project because they know that the struggles are real. THEY FEEL IT TOO!  The students start encouraging one another...helping those that might be advice for those who are stuck...and congratulating one another's successes.  Something about a shared experience like this to bring a group together.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4: 10-11

Our country....our world....seems to be more fractured than ever before.  Fingers can be pointed, blame can be spoken, heads can be buried in the sand....none of which will help the situation to improve.  So what can we do to help our community, our country, and our world?    I think 1 Peter 4: 10-11 gives us the perfect path to take. He has wired us uniquely with a purpose.  When we use the gifts/talents/abilities we've been given to serve God & serve others....we will begin to see things around us change.  It will hopefully start with our own heart!  Serving God by ministering to others is never about who deserves it....but realizing we are all in the same boat.  Sinners set free by the grace of God...not from anything we deserve..but by him alone!! When we see that we are all the same...reaching out, extending grace, serving, loving, becomes a whole lot easier.  It doesn't matter if they look like you, think like you, believe like you, vote like you....God can use your act of love & service to meet them right where they are at.  It is never our job to change someone...that is God's!  

November 11, 2016

#turkeyaday16 : CONTINUED

So I've not really had many people join in on the fun...but I'm still
cracking myself up!! HA!!  Never to late too join!  Just make a turkey on anything..out of anything and post it on social media(even on my Art With Mr. E Facebook page).  I'm doing an art theme, but it truly could be ANYTHING!!!  

November 06, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Too Tired

"What kind of art are you currently working on?" I asked my cooperating teacher.  She laughed as she said, "I don't have the time or the energy to create my own art work anymore."   I think she saw the horror on my face and continued, "You'll see when you start will not have the time, energy, or desire to create your own personal art."  I knew better!  I would never be too tired to create.  That is what we artists do.  It is who we are.  Even if I got married & had kids...I knew I'd still make time for my art.  Flash -forward 20+ years....I'm a husband, father of three young children, and an extremely involved art teacher.  I find myself exactly where my cooperating teacher foreshadowed.  
I try to convince myself that this is just a phase/stage of life.  I do desire to create, but fine myself too tired to do anything about it.  

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11: 28-30

Life is busy.  We find ourselves over committed, multitasking, filled with all the good things we can pack into it, trying to be the best at EVERYTHING, and taking little to no time to slow down & rest.  Though we often associate this with our work & home lives.....our spiritual lives can fall victim to this or the results of this way of living.  We can start consuming & managing our walk with God like we do the other areas of our lives, or we can find ourselves so exhausted from everything else...we don't have the energy grow & serve.  We could try to excuse it away as a "phase"...or that God understands that we're too tired for ________ , but is that what we should be doing as men & women who say we know the Lord?  If we find ourselves in this situation...God is calling us to re-evaluate & re-energize through these verses in Matthew 11.  He is telling us to take HIS yoke upon us (WHAT? That sounds like more work?!?).  He also is telling us that by doing so...we will learn from him.  I think what we learn is what is important to him.  We carry so much more than we were designed to do.  We have prioritized things in our lives that are not truly priorities.  These "priorities" distract us from what is truly important & what we were truly designed to do.   His yoke is easy & his burden is light.  Sounds like by taking this yoke...we will no longer be too tired or too distracted to fulfill the life God has for us.  

November 04, 2016


If you haven't joined in the Turkey-A-Day Art Challenge for the month of November...COME ON!!!  Don't worry if you can't do every day...create and share as you can.  I'm totally cracking myself up.  I've decided to go with a mostly art theme with my turkeys...but you can really go ANY DIRECTION, ANY MATERIALS, ANY SIZE!!!  Just create & post... use the hashtag #turkeyaday16 !!   Here are mine from the first 4 days!! 

Here is the promo picture I posted with all the info!! 
Don't wait...join the fun!