May 31, 2018


My wonderful in-laws gave me money for my birthday this spring and told me...."DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF!!"  I knew that I wanted to use the money to go to our Middle Tennessee Summer Workshop, and I'm so glad I did!  It was such a wonderful time of connecting with art educators I have known for some time....and meeting some new peers!  The workshop itself was also wonderful.  I took 5 semesters of watercolor/watercolor mixed media...and never had a formal class in any other form of painting.  So the class I attended was painting texture & realism.  It was a no fear super encouraging time to try something new!  Here are some of the pictures from the day.  

Kicking off the workshop...our amazing 
Middle TN Chair on the TAEA Board

Melody (TAEA President Elect) gave an inspiring keynote!

There were three classes going on that were a "refresher" on painting.  They were abstraction, watercolor, and acrylic.  I took the acrylic class that focused on realism & texture.

Some people get too into their work! ha ha

This one AMAZED me!  
So many talented artists at this workshop.

Isn't it wonderful how different these are...though the same subject matter!

You know it was a great day when their is paint on your hands!!!

Nick Cave's show is presently at The Frist Art Museum...
AND IT IS AMAZING! It is pure eye candy.  I could have spent hours looking at the work on display. 

May 27, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: The End

Endings can be tough!  Sometimes we get so involved in creating a work or series of works that it is hard see it come to an end. We've spent so much time developing concepts, sketched out ideas, experimented with materials, and bringing our ideas to fruition.  The work is not just a product of our training, but a part of ourselves. It is no wonder so many of us struggle to call a work truly finished. This can be exasperated if there is not a clear direction of where we're going next. The end of many things can bring fear & uncertainty.  However, the end of a work of art can also bring freedom to begin anew.   It is truly in our perspective.  Endings are just beginnings on the other side of a problem.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.  Yet what shall I choose?  I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.  Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.  Philippians 1:21-25

Paul knew that he had an eternity with Christ.  He knew that this was much better than the things the world had to offer.  However, he did not fixate on this to the point of losing perspective.  He knew that his life (by the grace of God) had impact.  He knew that his life made a difference.  Have you ever met those people who were "so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good"?  They are so focused on the reward of salvation that they forget the world around them.  There are also those who come to Christ, but struggle to give up the things they want to do.  They always had done XYZ in the past...and they don't want to give that up.  Salvation is not about self.  It is actually the end of self.  We must be able to "die to self".  The end of our own wants & desires...and considering what Christ has called us to do.  Sometimes we're afraid that we'll lose who we are if we go "all in" for the Lord.  The end of our old self is the beginning of a new adventure.  We will find out more of who we truly are than we ever imagined.  The end is the beginning of something new and wonderful.  We can only get there if we say we are finished with the old self.

May 23, 2018


Did you know the artist Robert Indiana died May 19, 2018(Saturday)?  I totally missed this until yesterday.  He was a very interesting individual, and if you don't know much about his life & art need to look him up.  All I use to know about him was a few of the "major" works he was known for creating.  

Today is WORLD TURTLE DAY!!!!!!
  I love turtles & wanted you all to know it was their day!! 

May 20, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: It Takes Time

Clay is all about the process.  It is not an art of immediacy.  You create & wait days for it to dry.  You place it in the kiln to fire & wait (usually close to 8 hrs plus time to cool down before opening the kiln).  You glaze the work, place it back into the kiln, fire it, & wait (another 8 hrs plus time to cool down before opening the kiln).  If you are all about instant gratification, clay is probably not for you.  If you try to fire the clay too soon it might explode.  If you open the kiln too quickly after firing the clay could crack from rapid cooling.  If you don't place enough coats of glaze on the clay before firing it again, the color could be less vibrant or the glaze will not fire to a beautiful glassy finish.  There are many things that could go wrong if you rush the process.  It takes time....and that's ok!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

Our journey as believers is just that....a journey.  It is not something to be rushed.  You are where you are....and that's ok.  I've seen many become frustrated when they feel they should be "further" in their walk with God.  When they struggle with doubt, temptation, lack of knowledge, lack of experience....they beat themselves up over it. The fact that one is aware of these things shows that the Holy Spirit is at work.  The process we go through as we mature in our faith is one that takes time.  We cannot fall into the "microwave" mentality of our society.  Talk with those you see who are mature in their faith.  Allow them to share their experiences with you.  Most will tell you they are still on that journey.  It takes time...and that's ok!  Embrace the journey God has given you.  It is uniquely yours.  Know Him & Make Him Known!  

May 16, 2018

1st Grade Self Portraits

I love going through my students' work for the nine weeks...and thinking about how much they've grown!  The first graders have done such a great job on their self portraits(using mirrors).  To think where they were at first of the year...mind blowing!  This is why I love elementary so see jumps in skill that are simply awe inspiring!  

May 14, 2018


Do you have a student(s) that encourages your heart on pretty much every project they attempt!  I have a 2nd grader that puts 100% in each & every project.  She works hard, takes risks, and always seeks ways to better herself!! I'm so impressed with this young lady.....she's awesome!!  

On this project we did a close up landscape that could have a fairy/gnome theme if they wanted(or it could just be a nature picture).  The narrative she created within this work is just stunning!  I hope she sticks with me through 4th grade...because I really want to watch her artwork continue to grow!!!

May 13, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Getting Perspective

I truly enjoy teaching one point perspective to my students. Making sure that EVERYTHING is lined up with that point can be challenging.  Even one line that does not line up with the point can visually throw the whole thing off.  However, once they get that "THE POINT OF THE POINT IS TO GO TO THE POINT" they are able to draw with great success. They gain a new perspective in learning perspective as well.  They begin to push their other drawings further.  They want to show depth & 3-D "ness" in all their work.  I believe one point perspective is a turning point artistically for many students.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.   Ephesians 4: 1-6

Our lives are very much like one point perspective.  We must line EVERYTHING up with the Lord.  Anything not in alignment with the Lord & His Word will throw things off. We allow selfishness, anger, greed, apathy...or a host of other things to take our focus off of God, and our lives will not look as they should.  Ephesians 4:1-6 feels like perspective to me.  We are reminded of our calling, to be humble, loving, and united in Him. If we have those things in perspective, then our lives will operate as God intended.  For those of us who know the Lord, we should pray that God will make us aware when our lives begin losing focus on Him.  We should also strive to have brothers & sisters in the Lord that will hold us accountable that know us well enough to call us out when they see our perspective is off.   

The Point of the Point is to Go to the Point!  
In this crazy world where distractions are 

May 10, 2018


 It is coming up on the end of the year for those of us in Nashville, TN & surrounding areas.  I know that most of the country may have a few more weeks left.


The end of the school year can bring a lot of stress. I have to admit...I'm feeling it!  Part of it is of my own making.  I'm on a lot of "teams" for the district, and we are trying to get a ton done in a short period of time.  That is in addition to the regular end of the year craziness.  

So how do you avoid/reduce this issue?!
I wish I could tell you I had it all figured out. I'm the king of over-committing. I love to be on the teams that are having impact in our district on art education. I want my say/place in the decisions being made. I also tend to procrastinate more than I should.  In addition....I've got horrible sleeping habits!  So I'm not one to see advice from on this topic!!! ha ha  I can tell you what not to do!

How do you manage the stress?  Is it working?
Share in the comments!  

May 06, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E : ALIKE

I love the look that can be achieved with oil & chalk pastels.  Part of their appeal is that they are incredibly soft and easily manipulated. The very thing that makes them so appealing can also be considered their "issue".  No matter the brand or price point.....they are challenging to keep clean.  They easily pick up color from the other pastels around them.  Many times I've opened brand new boxes of pastels only to find they are far from pristine.  I teach my students to clean their pastels before using them to avoid contaminating their colors with something they may not want.  However, they will enevidably smear an unwanted color into their work from an unseen crumb or spot of color.  It doesn't matter if I store them in their original packaging with trays or if they are placed in a box together.  It doesn't matter if they are the most expensive or least expensive.  The issues are the same. They are alike. 

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.  
Isaiah 64:6

It is amazing the finger pointing, gossiping, and head shaking that goes on in the church.  We see the "BIG SIN" in others' lives, and somehow feel we're better than them because their struggles are not our struggles.  Their "BIG SIN" is not like our "little sin".  We justify our own inadequacies by categorizing sin into least acceptable to most acceptable (our sin clearly falling in the "most acceptable" category).  The truth is sin is sin.  There is no BIG SIN or little sin.  The word "sin" comes from an archers term meaning "TO MISS THE MARK".  We have all missed the mark.  We are more alike than we want to admit.  Our issues impact the things we do.  Like the unwanted crumb of oil pastel color that smears into your work....our sin impacts every area of our life.  We need to go before the Lord & deal with our issues.  We need to be real, humble, and honest with ourselves & others.  This is what the world is looking for.....loving, authentic(non-hypocritical), and non-judgemental people that claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  

May 05, 2018

My Kindergarten Students Know Me So Well!!

My sweet ELL Kindergarten students told their teacher that I would enjoy this video & that maybe I could play it in my classroom while they were working!!
 SO SWEET!  (and they were totally right!! ha ha) 

Hawksbill Sea Turtles and The Best Relax Music

May 04, 2018

4th Grade Weaving

My 4th graders are a couple weeks in to their weavings....and it is going great with most classes.  It is amazing how there seems to be "THAT" class that struggles every year?  Is it group think?  Is it the placement of certain kids together?  Is it the end of the year hitting harder in some rooms than others? I love weaving, and am very excited to teach it...and to help kids that are struggling.  However, with "THAT" class...I feel like I need to clone myself once or twice?!!?  How are the rest of you doing?  Do you have the same experience?

I personally do feel that there are "classes" that don't mesh, that are heavy on children that struggle in mental, emotional, or behavioral ways, or that have a classroom teacher that can be inconsistent.  All of which can greatly impact how the group responds to other teachers & other subjects.  


I do believe that we have the power/ability to change the direction they are going.  I do believe that they can learn, grow, get along, and create amazing works of art!  I do believe it takes different strategies, different ways of encouraging, different levels of patience & grace.  I do believe expectations should be reexamined without lowering!  

Sorry....I think I was just giving myself a pep talk right there.  Maybe you needed it too? 

Just because...

Sorry if ya'll can't sleep tonight after seeing this!! ha ha

May 03, 2018


It is coming to the end of another school year(officially the end of my 20th), and we are faced with 4th grade awards once more.  It has changed over the years, but it is still something we wrestle with as a related arts team.  There are many students that are deserving for many reasons, and there are times where a class does not necessary deserve that kind of distinction. Originally we had to select one girl & one boy from each class of 4th graders.  We also could not "overlap" between related arts.  This was a huge challenge most of the time.  We eventually talked to our administration & they agreed to allow us to select whoever we wanted from the classes(two boys, two girls, or a boy and a girl), and that we could over lap in special situations were there was just a super start student that was deserving.  What does your school do?  Do you have specific criteria?  What are your thoughts/feelings on this topic?  

I will say....I'm so excited about the awards this year.  They have always been very traditional metal medals in the past.  I've always wanted something fun & colorful!
 Our new book keeper allowed me to  pick what I wanted!!!