July 31, 2018

Fun With Foam!

We've had this foam left over from VBS for several years! It is insulation foam that you purchase at your home improvement store. I finally decided I'd try using it to make some fun things for my classroom.  First though...I needed to purchase a hot knife at Harbor Freight (never forget your coupons!).  It was only $19.99...plus I had a coupon for 20% off! 

I've used hot knives in the past.  Each one is different though...and you will need to practice a bit with an extra piece of foam to make sure it isn't too hot (you don't want to totally melt the foam!).

I used regular acrylic/craft paint on the surface with no gesso.  You may want to paint a coat of Mod Podge on top to help protect it once you are finished. 

July 29, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: WAITING

Most artists & art educators are not known for embracing times of waiting. We are by our very nature.....DOERS.  Some things just take time.  It could be that we are attempting to grow in a certain area.....but growth takes time.  It could be that we are attempting to get our work in a particular show, but face rejection...multiple times.  It may be seeing our "dream" job listed, but we are not hired for the position...this time.  No matter our dreaming, plotting, planning, and preparing.....there are times that we just must wait.  The waiting is part of our growth process.  It may be the very thing that allows us to develop in ways we never dreamed, to get our work into the show that will propel us to the next level, or to land the dream job we had yet to dream!

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:5

In our faith walk, we often try to take control of situations that we should be laying at the feet of our Lord.  We think we have things under control.  We think we know what is best.  We think we know the way we should proceed to get things done.  We struggle to wait for the Lord. We struggle to wait for his answer.  We struggle to wait for his plan.  We struggle to wait for his best.  Our desire to DO....does not allow us to BE.   In Psalm 130:5 we see a beautiful picture of waiting.  I WAIT FOR THE LORD- I don't try to make my own way.  MY WHOLE BEING WAITS- It is not only my actions that show I'm waiting on the Lord...but my heart & mind as well.  AND IN HIS WORD I PUT MY HOPE- I can trust in his promises.  I can go to scripture to know why I place my trust in God & to see that he is faithful! Waiting is not weakness. Waiting is wisdom.  Do not begrudge the waiting you do in your life....it may be the very thing God is using to bring you closer to him....to share his love with others....and to protect & prosper you! 


July 25, 2018

Encouragement Erasers

I purchased these erasers at Wal-Mart for just under $6! Technically they are reward erasers, but since when do art teachers read or follow directions! ha ha  I love the fun postive/encouraging messages on the erasers.  I really want to try to be more purposeful in encouraging my students this year.  The erasers are on the thin side compared to most of my others, but there are 100 of them if they go through them quickly!!!! 

How are you going to try to encourage your students this year in new ways?

July 22, 2018

Sunday Morning Devotional With Mr. E: DILIGENT

I will never be a famous artist.  I will never win the world's greatest art teacher award (is that a thing?).  I'm not being self deprecating.....just speaking the truth.  Those type of achievements require amazing dedication.  My attention is too divided for such things.  I'm not meaning that in a negative way.  We all have priorities.  They may change some during different stages of our lives, but we all make choices of what is most important.  I'm a husband, father, son, brother, friend, teacher, blogger, artist....etc.  To be among the elite in any field you must sacrifice a great deal to focus your attention and effort.  Your priorities take your attention...your attention gets your effort...your effort yields growth...and growth has its reward internally/externally.   I'm at peace with the priorities in my life (most days) and the impact they have on other areas of my life.  However, I'm also unwilling to become complacent.  Though I'll not be a world famous artist or the world's greatest art educator...I will not stop being diligent to read, research, reflect, connect, practice, and participate in art & art education.  Continual growth is the goal...not awards & accolades.  I want my students, co-workers, and peers to look at my life & work and see that I never stopped...I never rested on yesterday's achievements...I never allowed myself to become complacent.  Complacency is the descent into irrelevance.   Nobody wants that for their life!

 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
1 Timothy 4:15

How diligent are you in your faith? What are your priorities?  Can others see what is most important to you by how you speak, how you live, and where you invest your time & effort?  Faith is not a matter of convenience.  It is not something we can bring out Sunday morning, and then the rest of our time act as if it doesn't exist.  I'm not saying you must become a pastor or globe trotting missionary, but we must be careful not to become complacent.  We must be diligent to seek out opportunities to grow in our walk with God, challenge ourselves in our faith, and live out this journey with others.  In doing this...we can be the best version of who God created us to be...each unique & wonderful...with an important part to play in His plan! 

Don't let anything get in the way of that!!

Remembering that our priorities take our attention...our attention gets our effort...our effort yields growth...and growth has its reward internally/externally. 

July 19, 2018

Vacation Inspiration for the Art Room

My family went on a day trip to the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It is only 2 hrs from Nashville,TN(where we live), and truly fun for the whole family! There were several "art" type things there that I appreciated, but what I'm about to share really inspired me!!  I'll share the pictures & give a blurb under each one about my thoughts on how I'll art spin it!  I'm thinking I'll take 12x12 canvases and paint the words/symbols on it & hang them above my marker board at the front of the room.

Art starts with an idea....so "THINK IT" is perfect to start the process!

Students will need to "EXPLORE IT" as they proceed with the ideas.  This could be researching art, artists, or photographs that relate to their idea & direction they will to go.

"SKETCH IT" - Enough said!  

After working through different sketches, students will proceed with their idea in a more finalized format...and "TRY IT"/"CREATE IT".  I'm still working through this one.  I feel they could be one in the same.  Plus, I'd like to get it down to 6 steps instead of 7.  (What are your thoughts?)

Students will have opportunity for personal, peer, and group critique of their work.  They will then be able to "TWEAK IT", and make any necessary changes.

Though "SELL IT" is applicable in art, I think I'll probably change it to SHARE IT or PRESENT IT.  That way I can tie it into the standard PRESENT, and have students start thinking about "beyond creating".  

These are my three goof balls!

July 16, 2018

Story of a Sticker

My cousin just sent this picture to me today.  It was taken in the custodian's closet at the elementary school we attended (which closed years ago & is now a community center).  Random?  Not really.  The custodian of the school was my Aunt Bonnie.  I often would go into school with her in the early mornings before anyone else would arrive. There was something magical about school that I truly fell in love with. I think this had a huge impact on me & my desire to spend a lifetime in education. Back then, I would often help her do some of the custodial tasks around the school. Sweeping rooms, picking up crayons & pencils under desks, mopping the gym/cafeteria floor....hard work for a kid, but I loved it.  As I got older, those of us on free/reduced lunches were required to work in the cafeteria.  We spent a lot of time with the cafeteria ladies, and they treated us like their own kids.  I was able to see how so many people were involved to make "school" happen.  Each one was important.  Each one deserved respect for their contributions. I loved the community that made school possible.  I knew by the 1st grade that I wanted to be a teacher.

Back to the sticker...  My cousin (who is a kindergarten teacher now) & I were in the same class K-8th grade (that is how our elementary schools were set up)....and had classes together throughout high school.  She often helps out at the community center (our former elementary school), and was cleaning up after an event.  She walked in and found this sticker in the custodian's closet.  She knew right away that it had to have been me. My love of turtles goes back...way back!  ha ha  Amazing how after over 30 (EEK!!!..close to 40) years....this sweet little turtle sticker can remind me of all the wonderful things that laid the foundation for my path in education. 


July 15, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: DIFFERENT

Artistic people are often referred to as different, unusual, eccentric, or even odd.  Some embrace these labels. Some feel vilified by them.  The truth is...we are "different"...AND THAT'S OK!!  We think differently.  We communicate differently. We express ourselves differently. We see the world differently.  WE ARE DIFFERENT!  What some consider unusual or odd is the very thing that allows us to create, innovate, and express in ways that others have not considered or lack the skill set to bring to fruition. We are able to show others a new perspective that they may not have seen on their own. If we are honest, we are all different.  That is what makes the world so wonderful and challenging at the same time.  

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 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

So often we walk into churches and find a group of people gathered together that seem very similar.  They can look the same, sound the same, act the same...and have a host of other similarities.  There is almost an unspoken "normal" for given collection of believers.  I know that many of you reading this will either understand my point or begin to form your defence of how your church is not like what I've just written.  I'm not judging...I'm just making an observation from my personal experiences.  I'm not sure I've ever walked into a church & felt like I was their kind of "normal".  I'm ok with that! ha ha  I believe that when we embrace who God has made us to be...we will no longer feel a need to fit in with everyone else.  We can be anywhere and be at peace with who we are & who we were made to be.   This will allow us to take what makes us different, unique, or even a little odd....and use it for the glory of God!  It will also allow us to celebrate what makes others different & be able to encourage the ministries God has equipped them to accomplish.   He has designed us to be different.  My gift is not the same as the person behind me.  I don't have the same calling/gifting/skill set as the pastor.  The couple in my Sunday school class serves in a completely different capacity than I do.   God has called us to be who HE has called us to be.  We were designed to be different to glorify God & to make Him known. At the same time...we are called to be a family.  You know that every family is made up of some "different" type of people that may have varying interests, points of view, approaches to life, and ways of doing things......but you love them no matter!  We don't all have to be the same to walk along one another in this life!  

July 14, 2018


So today I was working at the TAEA(TN) membership table at The Tennessee Arts Academy...I always make some wacky thing to wear to get people's attention. 
Thought I'd play off of the recent flood of posts about Target stuff!! Ha ha ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜‚

July 08, 2018

Mod Podge

I have gained a greater appreciation for Mod Podge. I've always known it to be a quality product, but I do believe they have one for just about every situation. Severed your arm in a paper cutter accident....there's a Mod Podge for that! (Just kidding....I think!)  One of the bottles below says it is DISHWATER SAFE.  Who knew!?!? 

Sunday Morning Devotional With Mr.E: SUPPORT

In the summer of 1997, I was one of 80 art teachers hired when Nashville made it mandatory to have an art teacher in every elementary school in the city.  A majority of the teachers were not from the area, and left friends & family in order to begin their career.  There were many of those hired that were not certified.  They were artists teaching on a temporary license (with the intention of obtaining their certification).  Most found themselves the only art teachers at their schools.  Feelings of isolation, loneliness, and being unsupported led many to leave their positions at the end of the first & second year (30 yr 1 & 20 yr 2).  It wasn't until teachers began feeling connected/supported that the retention rate stabilized. Education is best in community.  We were never meant to go it alone.  Art educators often work in isolation in their individual schools.  That need to develop a support system around you is incredibly important for the success, longevity, and enjoyment of one's career.  Support is more than just cheering each other on.......it is about encouraging one another to grow, calling out things that are questionable, and sharing our strengths(to meet the weaknesses we all possess). 

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.  We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10

The Christian life can not be lived in isolation.  We were never designed to go it alone.  Too often we feel that fellowship, accountability, and support are not necessary.  I've heard many make the statement, "I don't have to go to church to believe in God!"  While this is technically true, it misses the heart of God's message to us.  The Bible is about relationships.  God's relationship to us, our relationship to God, our relationship to each other, our relationship to the world around us.........does this sound like we can do it all by ourselves?  We see in Paul's letter to the Colossians that he desired to pray for them as soon as he heard about them.  He wanted for them a life that honored God.  He desired that their life was fruitful.  He wanted them to continue to grow in their knowledge of God.  Paul did not say..."Well now you know God...keep that to yourself and don't talk to anybody about it." , yet many people treat faith in this way.  They isolate their relationship with God from the family of God.  We may be dysfunctional at best, but God gave us this family of believers to encourage, challenge, and support one another as we grow in faith.  

July 05, 2018

Shrink Film Fun

Do you use Shrink Film in your classroom?  I'm going to do a project this coming year, and was testing out time/challenges with my daughter. I'm concerned about it going too dark if everything was done in Sharpie....so we outlined with Sharpie & colored it in with colored pencils.  This seemed to work out great.  I did not rough up the surface first because it had a mat finish already.  I know some products it is best to go over it a little with a fine grit sandpaper so the color stays put!  

My video ended sooner than expected because storage was full! 
 (I really need to delete some of my 2000+ photos!)

I cut a sheet into quarters to start.  After the images were drawn I cut around each....leaving enough space at the top to hole punch so we could make them into necklaces.  You may need to make the hole larger than a standard hole punch will create depending on what you are using to string the necklace with.  You may need to do some experimenting to get it just right! 

If your oven is hot...it should take around 2 minutes to shrink & flatten back out.  If it doesn't flatten completely in the oven....as you pull it out push down the edges(that should do it!).  I only place two to four on the tagboard(it is a thick non-corrugated cardboard kind of material).  That way they won't touch and possibly stick together(it has happened before...but not often).  My toaster oven has to racks...so I can do 8 at a time(if you are thinking about how long it will take you to complete a class).  

We used SPARKLE MOD PODGE to coat it with once it could down.  Don't rub too hard when you brush on the clear coat of your choosing...it might cause the color to smear.  

(I used waxed string to make my daughter's necklace...I really like it!!  Easy to use..slides through the holes...easy to tie....affordable.) 

July 04, 2018

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July Everyone!
 I have much to blog about...but haven't had the time to do it yet!
 I'll get there friends...stick with me!

July 01, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: IF

When I was obtaining my undergraduate degree in Art Education, I was required to take Statistics.  It was like a foreign language to me...LITERALLY!  The professor would often slip back into his first language throughout the class time.  I would not answer questions, I would not ask questions, and I would not participate in any way during the class time.  I felt lost. My confidence was shook.  This was not my norm.  In my art & educations classes, I was the text book nerd with my hand constantly up to answer & ask questions.  I loved participating, because I actually knew what I was talking about.  I loved being a part of those classes because I felt like they were truly an extension of me.  If I had felt the same about Statistics, maybe it would have been a different experience. 

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11 NASB

Reading this scripture in the NASB really struck me..."if God so loved us"  IF?  Why would the author write if?  The question of "if" is a call to action.  It makes us evaluate what we believe, what we know, what we understand, and how that belief/knowledge/understanding impacts our life.  If we are unsure of something, we do not act upon it as we would with something we are assured. So if we find ourselves not able to love one another.....maybe the struggle is not "them"......but "us"!  Maybe we have not truly embraced the truth of God's love for us.  Maybe we struggle with feeling lovable.  Maybe we struggle with feeling worthy.  Maybe we believe we have to earn it, and we're not sure we've done enough.  This is all wrong thinking.  The author is not calling into question IF God loved us, but because He loves us...we need to be acting differently.  We need to be thinking differently.  We need to be loving differently.  We are called to love with the love of the Lord.  That love is radical.  That love requires us to love because it is an extension of who we are....and we can not help but love like God loves us.  IF GOD SO LOVED US....WE ALSO OUGHT TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER!