January 30, 2018


Here is a sneak peek at Tulip Grove Elementary's Artist Trading Cards for Mini Matisse's #ATCswap this year!!!  I'm having a hard time parting with these...some are so beautiful I want to frame them!  We do them a little different than others participating in the swap.  The past couple years I've done them as a collaborative project with different grade levels.  This year I had my kindergarten students pain the backgrounds(they were doing a tempera project...so I passed these out as they finished up).  My 2nd graders cut out leaves.  My 3rd & 4th graders cut out the flowers and did the oil pastel color on them(they both were using oil pastels in their main project for the day..so as they finished they were allowed to make the flowers).  I also had 3rd graders match up pattern paper with the painted backgrounds and add the strips onto them.  

January 29, 2018

Monday Motivation With Mr.E

Back By Popular Demand....ha ha
Well, maybe back because I enjoy doing them! 
Monday Motivation is a quick video of wisdom (quotes by wise people) & encouragement!


January 28, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Through The Chaos

We've all seen the stereotype of artists being extremely messy people. Half completed work, supplies everywhere, ideas & inspiration written on napkins & scraps of paper, and half eaten meals laying around the studio space.   Though you might find some that match this stereotype, I believe more artists actually have a harder time de-cluttering their mind more than their space.  The artistic brain rarely rests.  People will say things like..."HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THESE IDEAS?"  "HOW CAN YOU WORK ON MORE THAN ONE PIECE AT A TIME?"  "HOW DO YOU HAVE SKETCH BOOKS FULL OF DRAWINGS & NOTES?"   We are able to accomplish the things because our mind so full of thoughts, feelings, ideas, images....it can be overwhelming & exhausting at times.  It is often the act of creating that allows the artist to find peace through the chaos & to channel their overworked minds.  

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Do you feel overwhelmed at times?  Finances, health, family, work, technology, relationships, vehicles, world events, natural disasters....the list can go on & on.  Life can throw a great deal at us.  Sometimes it is all good....but a lot. Sometimes there is some good and some bad.  Sometimes it seems hopeless.  We can feel like we're unable catch our breath before the next "thing" needs our attention.  How can we handle these feelings of being overwhelmed in a world that doesn't seem to give us much of a break.  In Isaiah 26:3, the author states that "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast; because they trust in you."  It doesn't say that perfect peace comes when the world slows down.  It doesn't say that perfect peace happens when you catch a break.  It doesn't say that perfect peace is a result of your world being without chaos at all!  It says that peace will come when our minds are "steadfast" & "we trust in you".  When I read these words, it seems that it is in the midst of our struggles...in the midst of being overwhelmed...in the midst of our pain....that is when we are able to experience God's peace in our life.  Those things give us opportunity to trust God.  Through the chaos we are able to see that God is faithful.  When we actually have opportunity to put into practice our faith....we can find peace like we've never known.  The struggles of life do not disappear, but they will not overwhelm us when we trust the one who is always there, always loving, always faithful, and always holding us close.

January 26, 2018

Pinch Pots: Going Buggy

I'm doing a bug unit with my first graders...so we turned our pinch pots into crazy little bugs.  What kind of bug...I'm not really sure, but they sure are cute!!!  
I'm really focusing on the kids attaching well with their clay. I want to build a good clay foundation so when they get to middle/high school and have art...they will have a working knowledge of terminology and techniques.  

January 25, 2018

More Kindergarten Kandinsky

Today was the last day for my Kindergarten Kandinsky lesson!! 
There were a few more gems I just had to share with ya'll.
If you are interested in this project...check a few posts back to get more information!

January 21, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Beyond The Starter Set

I love the idea of art sets you can purchase that have the "starter" items for a particular medium.  They are great to give as gifts for those wanting to explore or dabble in art.  They may not be the highest quality or possess the largest variety, but they are a beginning.  However, as you progress in a skill you might find the starter items in the kit do not meet all your needs.  You might not even know what it is you lack, but you know that there has to be something more in regards to tools or technique.  Growth does that.  As we practice our craft we begin to move beyond the borders we once knew as a beginner.  It would worrisome if there wasn't a desire to continue to mature in something you've invested yourself.  This might be researching online, watching YouTube videos, reading books, taking classes, or finding someone that works in that medium to ask questions & seek advice. All the while continuing to create.  

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.  1 Timothy 4: 13-16

God blesses us with gifts & talents that we can use for his glory & honor.   For those of us in visual art, we are often asked to make a sign, create a bulletin board, lead a craft activity that someone else has already envisioned. There is nothing wrong with doing these things if there is a need & it is in our ability to accomplish.  However, we can not limit ourselves to these activities as the extent to how God wants to use us for His kingdom. It is a wonderful thing to meet the needs of established ministries happening in the church.  It give you opportunities to serve with a humble heart.  However we must seek the Lord to give us a vision of what it would look like to serve Him with our gifts & talents.  All the while, we need to be praying, reading the Word, and seeking wise counsel.  This is incredibly important to do! There have been many a person that has said "GOD TOLD ME TO....", but they have no accountability to process through with them as they seek God. Being truly plugged in to your local church will help this process a great deal!  As people get to know you, see your heart, witness your service...they will be excited to hear the vision God has given you and help to fulfill what God has placed on your heart to do.  We grow into what God has for us as we grow in Him. 

January 19, 2018

Tempera Talk On A Snow Day

After being out of school for a week because of snow/ice....I HAD TO GET BACK IN MY CLASSROOM!  I'm not sure if any of you are like me, but I love a schedule, love teaching art, love my classroom, and love being prepared.  My wife(knowing all this about me) encouraged me to come in today and get some things done.  So here is the video I made about tempera paint & how I'm managing the materials!!  Wasn't on my to-do list.....but you all are worth it! 

Would love to hear your management tips & tricks for tempera & painting in general!  

January 18, 2018

!!!!!! Ugly Doll Supply Alert !!!!!!

In the fall you may have seen my posts on my 4th grade Ugly Doll project.  There are "extra" costs to such projects, but it is totally worth the investment.  However, you can find some great deals to make it very affordable.  One "trick" I use is for the stuffing.  After Christmas, I hit the stores to find the best sales on Christmas Snow.  That is the white fluff that looks & feels like quilt batting /poly-fil people use under their trees, on mantels, or other decorating for the season.

Right now Dollar General has their Christmas items on sale for $0.25. 
!!!! T  W  E  N  T  Y  - F  I  V  E -  C  E  N  T  S !!!!

I bought all the bags they had.  They aren't huge, but this will be at least 2 yrs worth!!!  I don't always find it every year..so I stock up!   

January 14, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Directions

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 stifle 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 deny the integrity of the art form.

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.  It is "Commandments" that 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.  

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

January 13, 2018

Taking My Own Advice

So I want to be purposeful about creating this year.  I know in February there will be the #heartaday2018 challenge, but what about the rest of the year?  I had good intentions of starting January 1st, but here we are a couple weeks in & I've yet to make anything other than my teacher examples.  Am I the only one in this boat??

The amazing Mona Lisa Lives Here posted a 365 day challenge several years ago.  

I just think I want to do something that has more "flow"? One day would lead into the next day, into the next day, into the next day...etc. 

So what are you all doing?  Share in the comments or tag me on social media with what you're doing/using to hold yourself accountable for creating.  

January 11, 2018

Kindergarten Meets Kandinsky

We kicked off the class with a YouTube Video.   If you have not discovered Art With Mati & Dada.....GO CHECK IT OUT NOW!!!  They are short yet informative!  Make sure you preview first..there may be a couple that you might not feel comfortable showing your students.  The Kandinsky video is great!!  

We then looked at several works by Kandinsky, and I allowed my kindergarten students to make observations about what they saw.  (The little ones are so amazing in their responses!!!)

After I reviewed painting "rules/procedures", I started playing some instrumental music....passed out supplies...and let the students begin.  It was a magical time in the art room.  



January 09, 2018


Several years ago I did an all school art show on the theme of BUGS! It was so much fun!! One of my favorite projects from the art show was a first grade lesson I called SPLAT!  I had the kids imagine a cartoon book just splatted on their windshield.  What would it look like?  How would it's body be?  I made them stand up and try to pose like the bug(hysterically funny!!).  Then I had the kids trace with Sharpie & paint with watercolor.  This time we made it a marker project.  

January 07, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: TOGETHER

 I once staffed a summer inner city mission project in Louisville, KY.  We lived just outside of the city in a former monastery. We were told that there was a building on the property that was used as an artist commune.  This idea was so fascinating to me.  The artists would live there for a period of time, and spend their days creating & being surrounded by other creative people.  There were visual artists, writers, and musicians all residing together.  How encouraging would this be?  How motivating would it be to be surrounded by other artists?  Spending your days creating, discussing creative things, observing other creative people as they pursued their gifts/talents.  I can only imagine how this environment would push me as an artist.  You couldn't help but grow!  There is just something about being together with others who share in your passions.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10: 24-25

We are designed for relationships.  We are created to be connected.  In the Bible, we see again and again how relationship is at the core of God's story for His creation.  Many will consider "punching" in & out at a church service to be enough.  However, God has called us to more than what "punching" in & out can provide.  If we are to spur & encourage one another one, wouldn't we have to have more of a relationship than an hour or two could yield?  We must develop relationships that will allow for us to speak into one another's lives.  We must create an environment where we can help one another to grow.  We must spend time together.  Relationships need time.  I'm not suggesting a "commune".  I'm just saying that we need to be intentional in making time in our life to develop connections/relationships.  So often we feel our lives are too busy for such things.  Time can be as simple as eating a meal together, going shopping together, or lending a hand helping.  Living life together allows for depth to happen.  In that depth you can begin to encourage & spur each other on in a way that will grow you closer together & in your relationship with the Lord. 

January 04, 2018

Top 10 for 2018

Here are my top 10 ways to make the second half of the year awesome!

January 02, 2018


A friendly reminder for all NAEA members to take a few minutes & VOTE!!!!  You should have received an email(or 2...or 3) about the election.  It honestly only takes a couple minutes to complete. 

If you haven't been told to day...you are valued & appreciated!!
Thank you for being a part of such an amazing group of educators.