April 30, 2018


I'm getting excited as the school year starts wrapping up & my summer workshop planning kicks into high gear!  My wife and I were out shopping this weekend for supplies & give away items!!  

 I've received confirmation that we will have at least 4 different TN counties represented &  3 states(if you include TN....but there could be up to 6 states if some others that inquired end up coming!!)!!!  We are about half way to the max number of participants...so if you are thinking about coming....LET ME KNOW ASAP!!!  Just email and I'll send you the registration form!   

April 29, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Can You Even Imagine?

Van Gogh potty training, Picasso learning to walk, Warhol speaking his first words, O'Keeffe falling off her bike, da Vinci dealing with acne.... CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?!?   It is challenging to consider that world renowned artists experienced the very same things we did.  I believe when we see their work in the galleries, art history books, and reproduced treasures and trinkets that we place them upon an untouchable pedestal that is removed from time & space. Though we may know some of the facts about their story....we romanticize their lives, their art, and their methods as we gaze upon their elevated & celebrated work.   We praise the moment, but fail to acknowledge the path that led to it. The struggles were real.  Just like the struggles we face.  I'm sure if we could have an audience with these men & women, they would share the problems & the pain that were as numerous as the brush strokes on their canvas.  From Van Gogh's mental issues to Kahlo's physical struggles...life happens to everyone.  How we handle those things we face make all the difference!  

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet he did not sin.  Hebrews 4:15

Many wrestle with trying to be "good enough" for God.  They feel/believe they have to have their acts together, their lives cleaned up, and look the part.  This mentality either keeps them from drawing close to the Lord, perpetuates wearing masks, or causes them to completely giving up and walk away.  They forget that God knows their struggles, he knows their pain, and understands their doubts and fears.  "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness.." CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?!?!  EMMANUEL....GOD WITH US!  Our God came to earth as a baby!  He lived his life among us.  He faced the same struggles, but did not sin.  He lived his life as an example to us all.  When you are having a bad day...he gets it!  When you mess up....nothing he hasn't seen before.  When you struggle with doubt....he is not shocked.  He loves you no matter.  He understands....and wants to hold you close.  He wants to help take you from trials to testimonies!  And you know what....he can! 

April 25, 2018

Time for Review: Kindergarten

So we have a month left of school, and I'm wanting to start reviewing some skills/concepts with my kindergarten before summer break.  I knew that they had their kindergarten graduation coming up....so I asked the kindergarten team if they had a theme or an idea of something to help fill up the background of the stage for their performance.  They suggested flowers.  I like to try to help/connect with classroom teachers where I can...and where appropriate in my curriculum.  This was an easy fit!!

I wanted to have a project where I could review painting procedures, work on filling up their page, and practice our lines.  This did that for me!!!  They are doing great with painting & lines, but filling up their page is a challenge for many of them. 

Oil Pastels With 2nd Grade

I admit it...I'm not a fan of messy stuff!!  Oil Pastels fit in that category for me.  However, I love the color...love what can be done with them...so I "deal" with the mess.  This 2nd Grader blew me away with her work today!!

April 24, 2018

Kindergarten is Sleeping!

This week I read "RUSSELL THE SHEEP".   In it, Russell is having trouble going to sleep, and tries sleeping in different places..a pillow..and counting different things.  This is my jumping off point for the lesson.  I don't like having my students copy illustrators' images.  I wanted them to create a  self portrait while sleeping.  We've not worked much with interior spaces, so I thought that this was a great opportunity to practice.  We looked at many images of bedrooms.  We talked about perspective & the need for things to be on the floor.  Many wrestled with this, but I loved the results no matter!!! When you introduce more complex ideas like these at young ages, really your just giving them opportunity to attempt something outside of their "comfort zone".  There is no "failing"....it is only a chance to try something new!  

April 22, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: INFLUENCE

As artists, we are influenced by a multitude of external sources.  We may take from our family, community, affiliations, education, interests, emotions, attitudes, entertainment, travels, or even other artists/artwork.  Not that we simply regurgitate those influences, but more so synthesize the information gathered through our own internal processes to produce works of art.  Often influences manifest themselves in style, content, and/or meaning.  Van Gogh's fascination with Japanese art is extremely evident in many of his paintings.  Carmen Lomas Garza's work centers on her own family, community, and culture.  We see examples across time & place of movements in art, geographical proximity, and cultural changes impacting multiple artists in similar fashions.  As much as we would like to be completely unique and original, we are artistically products of our influences.

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 13:20

You were running a good race.  Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?  That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.  "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."   
Galatians 5:7-9

Influence is an extremely important concept in our journey of faith.  Both... WHO( OR WHAT) IS INFLUENCING US? & WHO ARE WE INFLUENCING?  These questions can often be glazed over because the answers are challenging to what we've become comfortable with in our lives.  Things we watch, things we listen to, people we spend time with, and places we frequent can influence us negatively or positively.  We must take a hard look at what we are allowing to impact our hearts & minds.  Though we may say, "IT DOESN'T IMPACT ME....I'M STRONGER THAN THAT!".....scripture warns us that "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." (Galatians 5:9) The negative influences in our life can quickly impact us though we might not see it in the beginning.  It seeps in and slowly starts to poison us.  In Proverbs we are encouraged to keep good company..."Walk with the wise and become wise..."  Those we choose to surround ourselves with can & will impact us!  Also, we need to see that we are placing ourselves in situations where we can influence others.  Sometimes it is as simple as a smile.  Sometimes it is an in depth conversations about God & what He means to you as a believer.  We have the ability to positively influence our family, friends, co-works, and total strangers!  Are we seeing those opportunities?  Or are we shying away from the responsibility that God has given us.  

  •  Ask God to show you who influences you most....is it positive or negative?
  • Ask God to reveal to you things (TV, Music, News, Internet..etc) that might be influencing you in a negative way....and how you should respond.
  • Ask God to show where & who you are able to influence!   
  • Ask God to help you make the most of every opportunity to influence!

April 19, 2018


Just a reminder about the Art With Mr. E Summer Workshop!!!  We are about half way to the "cap"!  I know it is hard to think about summer when we're in the busy season for most of us art educators...but I'd love for you to consider coming.  We have such a great time, and it has become a wonderful art family over the past couple summers!!  Please e-mail if you have any questions!

April 16, 2018


This year I've changed how I'm doing 2nd grade's Coil Pots.  We are still learning how to create coils.  We are still learning how to join clay properly.  However, we're creating clay coil spirals, and then joining them side by side inside a bowl (PLEASE NOTE: If you are using plastic bowls..place a paper towel in the bowl so that the clay does not stick and ruin a whole class worth of bowls!  Not that I would know from experience or anything!??!?!)  

I sat one of my 2nd grade examples on top of one of my 4th grade examples....and the "BRAIN BOWL" was born!  The kids named it...I just was trying to make room on my demo table! ha ha

The inside of the bowl is smooth, and the coily goodness can be seen beautifully on the outside!

At the end of class students brought me their unused clay.  However, some was too dry to put back in with the "good" clay.  I don't have an area to wedge and such...so usually too dry clay goes in the trash.  I decided to use their too dry clay to make this little turtle! 

April 15, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: It Gets On Everything

I will be the first to admit that I am hesitant about using extremely messy materials in the art room.  I know that most art teachers embrace the mess, but I think about all the repercussions of such projects.    Though I love the look of chalk pastels....they get everywhere.  It starts off all fine and good, but a itch on the nose...a swipe of the hair...a nonchalant wipe of the hands on the pants.....and before you know it...your students & classroom are covered top to bottom in colorful chalk dust! IT GETS EVERYWHERE!  Maybe when you love what you are doing... you forget about everything else, what others think, or your own worries & inhibitions. 

Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14

1 John 4:19 says, "We love because he first loved us."  The love of the Lord is our inspiration, our motivation, and what challenges us to continue to do EVERYTHING in love.  When our lives have truly been impacted by God...it is only natural for that love to spill out in our relationships, our jobs, our actions, and our reactions.  Our lives become ministry.  Every place we go is our mission field. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, "Do everything in love."  It does not say somethings. It says EVERYTHING. When we've been impacted by God's love it gets EVERYWHERE & on EVERYTHING. It should be seen in our relationships with friends.  It should be in our interactions with strangers.  It should be seen in our "secular" work.  I should be seen in our service to others. When we shop, when we go for a walk, when we are driving (I know that hurts for some of ya! ha ha)... people should look at us and see that there is something different/special.  If they can't...we must really take a look inward at our own hearts.  Why is God's love not transforming my life in all areas? What do I need to give over to him still? I want to be a head to toe mess for the Lord. I want his love to so impact me that others can see his love all over me! 

April 12, 2018


This week my 2nd & 4th graders are both creating clay projects. As much as we try to clean up after ourselves...clay is just one of those materials that sticks with ya(kind of like glitter...but with less hatred from the art ed community..ha ha ha). I've noticed my students "gliding" across the floor because the clay dust has made the tiles extra slippery.
I walked into my classroom today, and literally could "taste" the clay.  My mouth became dry....I could feel a film of sorts on my eyes(they are a large surface).  The clay is actually in the air!!!!  I've been drinking a ton of tea & water trying to quench my thirst and room that chalky taste from my mouth...but my guess is it will take a few weeks!!! 

April 11, 2018

Trying Something New: 4th Grade/Clay

I'm not a person that likes to do the same old projects the same old ways!  I love reinventing projects or trying something completely new.  After teaching for 20+ yrs....I would be so board if I didn't!!  

So I'm venturing into new territory.  After seeing several videos of ceramic artists that create expressive faces on their thrown vessels...I decided I'd try adapting it to the elementary art room.  

First off....we don't have wheels to throw on!  So I had to come up with an idea for a vessel.  I decided we'd do a slump pot/cup.  I also do not have a slap roller...so I'd have to get my students to make their slab to slump! ha ha  

I had the students place an open napkin over the bottom of an upside down water cup(I use short fat tumbler cups from the dollar store) for their surface to slump over.  After placing the slap over the bottom of the cup...they had to located the largest flat surface to create their face on. 

One of the fun challenges of this project is that they had to create the face upside down!! I've only had one student forget to do this so far.  They could make a person, monster, animal...whatever they wanted to create with an expressive face.  

We talked about addition, subtraction, texture, coil...and all the techniques we've covered since kindergarten.....and how they could apply them in this work!  


April 10, 2018


This month the ART ED BLOGGER'S NETWORK is looking at Early Finishers.  Is this a problem that you have in your classroom?  If so, I'd encourage you to read my post & check out the other bloggers to see how they handle earlier finishers in their classrooms.

Do you struggle with early finishers in your art room? This is a problem that many art teachers wrestle with on a daily basis. So please...DON'T BEAT  YOURSELF UP OVER IT & DON'T GET TOO FRUSTRATED!!  You are in good company.  
Well...I'm not really going to address what to do with earlier finishers. 
Ha ha...I know, I know!  Hear me out!  I think that we can avoid early finishers 99% of the time with a well designed lesson & knowing our students!  
One of the main issues student teachers/new teachers struggle with is pacing their lessons.  A poorly paced lesson will reap a crop of early finishers.  I believe in breaking down my class into "parts".  I know about how long it should take a majority of student to do each "part".  If students are rushing or poking along...I need to be monitoring them and addressing the issues that are arising.  If you are doing a new-to-you lesson....there is much room for error in pacing.  Give yourself grace and make the necessary adjustments for the next class.  There is no exact science to pacing, but it does improve with time!  I think of pacing as an "awareness" of material, project guidelines, and student!  The more  you teach....the better you'll get!
There are always exceptions to the rules! However, as educators...we must know how to encourage, challenge, and push our students no matter if they are emerging, proficient, or advanced.  I think some will say....my emerging students will finish early....so I'll give them free draw paper.  In doing this...you are kind of doing a disservice to that student. I will often pull up a chair beside my emerging students and work along side them.  Sometimes they need the extra attention.  Sometimes they need someone to model for them.  Sometimes they need someone to hold them accountable to KEEP GOING!  I will also say that on the opposite end...some of my advanced students get so deep into details that they never finish their work.  They too might need you to pull up a chair beside them & encourage them to pick up the pace!  It is our job as art educators to meet our students where they are at.  Learning how to encourage and push them beyond...."I'M FINISHED/I'M DONE!"  
I tell my kids... "You are not "done"...because you are not a cookie baking in an oven.  You are not "finished"...because we are not running a race.  You might be complete, but lets talk about it!"
Art Teacher Blogs
This post is a part of The Art Ed Blogger's Network: Monthly Tips and Inspiration from Art Teacher Blogs. On the first Tuesday each month, each of these art teacher blogs will post their best ideas on the same topic.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs:

April 09, 2018


With the number of classes I see & the budget I receive....I'm able to do one clay project per grade level a year.  So needless to say....clay projects are special & exciting! 

But today was a bit more exciting than a "normal" clay day.
I gathered my students back to the demo area where I have a brand new box of clay.  I wanted to show them the weight of it & how it comes to me.  So as I'm explaining how heavy it is & how they ship it....I'm opening the box.  As I lift the flap of the box...the BIGGEST, FATTEST, UGLIEST cockroach jumps out of the box!  The kids let out a collective high pitched scream & jump back from the table.  I didn't scream(really...I didn't)...but I did jump back!  The cockroach must have been scared because it scurried back into the box.  I flipped the box over to get him out...and found another one squeeshed to the side of one of the bags of clay.  I did gag a little at the site of legs and guts everywhere!  Oh my. What a way to kick off clay!! 

April 08, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Expert Opinions

As an artist/art educator I'm often asked questions that might not be ask other people.   "WHAT COLOR WOULD GO WELL IN HERE?"  "DOES THIS GO WITH MY OUTFIT?"  "ARE THESE PATTERNS TOO MUCH TOGETHER?"  "WHERE WOULD YOU HANG THIS?"  "WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO FIND __(insert craft or art item here)__?"  As if I'm a dispenser of all aesthetic knowledge.  ha ha  I usually don't mind.  I love helping people, and enjoy sharing my thoughts on their design & color dilemma.  Some people just don't see "it" when it comes to such things, and need others to help guide their decision making.  However, there are times when people aren't looking for my "expert opinion".  They really are looking for affirmation.  They want me to agree with their thoughts, opinions, and choices. If I do not, then excuses are made & my thoughts are quickly dismissed.  My "expert opinion" is only valued if it is in line with their own.

Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you have not have done it?  Have much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'!"  So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. 
 2 Kings 5:13-14

Naaman struggled with Elisha's handling of his situation.  Elisha was the expert, but his way was not Naaman's.  He felt it should be done differently. It bothered him so much that things weren't happening according to his thoughts/opinions/ideas that he was willing to walk away from an opportunity to be healed.  Thank goodness he had people around him that encouraged him & spoke truth into his life! 

Are we like Naaman?  How often do we make plans & ask God to bless them?  Then, when we are challenged to consider a different way....we get upset because things aren't happening according to our plan.  Our plan is good.  Our plan is beneficial.  Our plan is a way to serve the Lord.  Though there may be nothing wrong with our plan, if it is not God's desire for our life....then we must lay aside our pride & our plan and listen to the Lord.  We must surround ourselves with people that will speak truth into our life, and not just agree with all of our thoughts & ideas. We must know & use the Word of God to make & check our decisions. We must seek the Lord first in all things, and he will direct our path!  

April 04, 2018

Spring Break Sketches

While my family was on spreak break down at Orange Beach, Alabama....I brought along my sketch book to the beach!  I wanted to make it a priority to create while on vacation.  I was hoping to make more than these three, but at least it was something.  I'm loving the turtle...and might do some more like that!! What did you create over spring break?

April 01, 2018

Sunday Morning Devotional With Mr.E: AFTER

I have friends I went to college with that studied art, graphic design, and art education, but they never used their degrees.  There are many reasons for this, and I'm not speaking poorly of them at all.  Life happens!  Some were in an area that the job market could not support their chosen profession.  Others got married & started their family instead of entering the workforce.  While some realized that they just weren't cut out for their field of study after graduation.  

I knew I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was in the first grade. I was kind of a "unicorn" in college.  While many of my friends changed their major multiple times, I only switched from BFA Teacher Prep to Art Education(and that was only because it would allow me to start teaching sooner!). I knew what I wanted to do.  I kept in mind the "AFTER" throughout college so that I'd get the most of my classes, experiences, and opportunities.  Even the tough times were learning experiences, and made me more understand of my future students.  The "AFTER" is mindfulness.  The "AFTER" is perspective.  The "AFTER" is motivation.    

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

I cannot imagine what the disciples were going through in the "AFTER" following the death of Jesus.  This was not what they signed up for....this was not suppose to happen....what would they do now?  That was not the "AFTER" they imagined, because it really wasn't the "AFTER".  God was about to do a work that would rewrite the "AFTER" for us all! 

Sometimes we get caught up in the moment, the day, the week, the month, the year....and we lose sight of everything except our current situation.  Life happens & can be extremely overwhelming.     Financial, health, family or a multitude of other situations that can cause us to lose site of the eternal & focus on the temporary.   At times, there are things that demand us to pay attention to them & deal!  The cancer patient must focus their attentions on becoming well.  The person in financial hardship that must concentrate on working and pulling themselves out of that struggle.  A family member dealing with mental health issues needs our time & attention to help them get to healthier place.  Yet, even in the midst of any of these trials/struggles....we must keep the "AFTER" in sight.

  Knowing that we serve a risen Lord.  Knowing we follow the God that knows our pains, knows our trials, knows our struggles,  and knows our heartaches. Knowing that we are loved right where we are....with all our imperfections....we are loved perfectly.  Knowing that our place is in heaven.  The "AFTER" changes everything.....after we come to know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior....our lives are never the same.  We can take the things we're going through....and because of the "AFTER" use them to bring Glory & Honor to the Father!  They become ministry opportunities!  The message of hope is needed so desperately in our world today. If you are going through a hard time...see the "AFTER", and know God is enough to get you through.  If you have this perspective, you will be like the disciples.....and there will be signs that accompany you everywhere you go & in all that you do.