August 28, 2018

Monochromatic Self Portraits: 4th Grade

Trying to jazz up portraits with my 4th grade...I introduced them to the idea of monochromatic painting.  There is a couple reasons for this.  1) It is a good skill to introduce.  2) The last art teacher ordered several hundred red watercolor refills accidentally. (I have been here for 18 yrs and still have a couple hundred!! ha ha!!)  I can't say I'm super excited how this project turned out, but it was a challenge worth attempting for my students!  Here are some of the gems I found!! 

August 27, 2018

Collage Self Portraits: 2nd Grade

My students are finishing up their second day working on collage self portraits!  For the most part...I'm thrilled with the results.  There are a lot of students that still seem to struggle with using scissors & glue properly, but I feel so much of this is lack of experience from  home & classroom.  Students spend more time with TV & electronic devices...and less time "making stuff".  Also, the demands on classroom teachers prevents them from having much time to cut, past, and craft to go along with their content.  All that said...I really am pleased with my students' work.

They each started by selecting three sheets of construction paper.  
We talked about how to cut the head/neck/ears/nose & how to cut the shirt to create a "bust" self portrait collage.  After this, I did a quick demo on cutting out the eyes/lips/hair/ & other details.  
At first I thought we'd be able to do this in one class time, but I quickly realized a second day would be needed.  In the second day we did a quick gallery walk around the room & then back to work.  We ended the class with another gallery walk after clean up & some complement sharing! 

August 26, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: The Cost

One of the most challenging things I deal with as an artist is pricing my work.  It is a huge struggle for me to assign a monetary value to my creations.  Over the years many have given me advice on how to handle this task.  Some figure in the number hours of work invested,  material costs, amount of education & training associated with developing needed skills, demand, going rate of related work in the area, and a host of other factors.  All of which can and should be taken into consideration when pricing one's work. Another reason this process can be challenging is the reactions and responses of others.  "Must be nice to play all day & get paid for it."  "I could go down to Walmart and buy a picture a lot cheaper than that!"  "Cut me a better deal and I'll tell everyone that comes in where I got the work, and advertise for you."  "You aren't Picasso, why are you charging so much?"  "I'll just frame the Van Gogh print I bought."  There will always be those who do not see the value.  There will always be people who will attempt to devalue what you do.  Supporting local, original, and custom made art work is worth the investment of others.

 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.  Philippians 3:7-8

There is a cost in living the Christian life that many do not talk about. Cost makes us uncomfortable.  Cost causes us to weigh the "worth" of something.  Scripture tells us again and again that we will have to let go, we will suffer loss, and we will have to sacrifice.  But somehow we think that doesn't apply to us.  We think we can live in the world & like the world while still claiming the benefits of the Christian life. Others may question our faith & the choices we make, the way we live, the way we act, and the way we react.  God has called us to consider the cost of following him.  However, what we receive in return is so far beyond the sacrifice that might be required of us.  God can not be out given.  It may not take the form of money, fame, or other worldly successes/accolades....but what God gives us brings a love that lasts eternally, a hope that never gives up, a peace that passes all understanding, and a purpose and passion that is undeniable.  Those amazing gifts allow us to know him, praise him, and make him known.  THE COST IS WORTH IT!  

August 23, 2018

Gesture Drawing: 4th Grade

I really feel I need to push my 4th graders to consider the way people move/bend to get them to the next level.  Many still draw very stagnant/frozen/robotic looking people.  After we went over all the joints in our body & the way that they bend/move....I had the students do several gesture drawings.  THEY LOVED IT!  I really feel it did help for them to consider the way the draw people  & what they  are doing within their pictures.  

I select students to "model" for gesture drawing.  THEY THINK IT IS SO MUCH FUN!  I will ask them to pick a pose, but I'll often have to adjust them a bit so the angles are more pronounced.   I give them some props to help stabilize and give more interesting positions.  I always make sure they feel safe/stable before I have the kids start drawing.  If I see them start getting shaky...I'll have them step down.  

I will usually have the students do four gesture drawings.  On the back, they create four people with details that are in a state of motion.  

At the end of class...most of my students ask if we could do this lesson again!  I think we will revisit it Mid-Year as a refresher.

August 21, 2018

School Picture Day for Animals: 1st Grade

In our new scope & sequence we have portraits across all grade levels. I don't know about you, but doing the same thing over and over all day long for a week at a's just too much for me to handle.  I get so bored!  So I decided to spice things up in 1st grade!  We did animal school pictures with patterned backgrounds!  We still talked about proportion, symmetry, and bust....but had a little fun with it!  I'm really proud of the kids for the amazing work at the start of the 1st grade year! 

August 20, 2018

Sharknado Obsession

This falls under the eclectic information portion of my blog! 😂 
If you follow me on other social may have seen my posts.

I LOVE SHARKNADO!!!  When the first movie came out 6 years ago...I was curious about the idea, but thought it would be pretty horrible.  Well, the CGI was terrible, the story was flat out crazy, and the acting was...hmmm.  There is no reason that it should have worked....but it did!  I fell in love with this crazy movie....and my fondness for it only grew as more movies came out.  

I decided to do a little needle felting during the movie!  
What do ya think?

I also found this shark stuffed animal 50% off at Wal-Mart(left over from the "other" shark week!) & found the cup at 5Below. (I also made "shark snacks" for the movie!! ha ha) 
My wife thinks I'm crazy! 

About a month before the movie....Sharknado SYFY tweeted out the question "What do you like about Sharknado?"  My answer got picked up. 

August 18, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: MUD!

Making a muddy mess is not just a thing of childhood!    I remember professors telling me I was overworking the surface of my art and muddying it up.  This was not my intent, but my choices(poor choices) led to this unfortunate outcome.   It often occurs when one adds too much, too many ideas, too many colors, too many brush strokes, and creates a "muddy" area in their work.  It comes from uncertainty in what colors to use.  It comes from lack of vision for the end product. It comes from inexperience. It comes from not knowing when to stop. It comes from being stressed. It comes from being tired.  No one intends to make their work muddy, but it happens. Though most artists will move beyond these mistakes as they grow/mature in their work, there are a number of factors that can cause one to muddy things up from time to time.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.  
Psalm 130:5 
Does your life feel "muddy"?   Are things in your world unclear?  Outside circumstances can play a huge part in the struggles we experience, but more often than not we find ourselves at the center of our issues. We try to fix things.  We try to make things happen before their time.  We can't seem to stop ourselves from doing this, that, and the other to make our plans come to be.  Our inability to wait on the Lord & his timing can often be the very thing that causes the angst in our life.  We rush relationships.  We push too hard to get ahead at work.  We try to manipulate others at home & work to accomplish our goals.  
STOP!  Before you blame anyone else for things not happening in your life...or goals not being achieved.....JUST STOP!  The Psalmist tells us.... I wait on the Lord, MY WHOLE BEING WAITS, and in his word I put my hope.  There are two major things in this short verse.  First...MY WHOLE BEING WAITS.  I'm an anxious person.  I am a doer.  I have a hard time resting...waiting...being still.  The idea of my whole being waiting on the Lord is a bit hard for me to grasp.  I mean...I'll wait, but my mind might still be racing even if I'm making the choice to not move forward with any of my plans.  However...the Psalmist explains how their whole being waits in the next part of the verse.  IN HIS WORD I PUT MY HOPE.  When we place the truth of God's Word at the center of our life...and our hope is in that truth.....we can wait with our whole being.  

When our world seems "muddy", our direction is unclear, and our hearts are confused....WAIT ON THE LORD WITH YOUR WHOLE BEING...AND PLACE YOUR HOPE IN HIS WORD!  There you will find clearity.  There you will find direction.  There you will find peace.  There you will find love.  

August 17, 2018

Too Big Erasers

When the back to school sales started...I found these amazing large erasers at Wal-Mart for .20 a piece!  They were bright green & blue...which are the colors of my room this year.  HAD TO GET THEM!  I though that the larger size would be great because they'd last longer.  

However...there are some issues with them!  

Here is the eraser beside a standard eraser I have in my classroom.  They aren't the jumbo ones like you find at Dollar Tree, but they are about an inch larger than the standard ones.  The problem is that they they are soft & bendable....and a bit larger than small hands seem to be able to manipulate easily. I've seen many of my younger artists struggle.  This is not what I wanted!!  Erasing should not be a struggle for them.  

I saw a few of the teachers buying the large jumbo erasers from Dollar Tree cutting them down into 4 to 6 erasers.  I decided cutting my erasers in half would probably be enough to make them easier to manage!  Here is hoping!

August 16, 2018


For several years I've kicked off the school year with a collaborative painting project with all my students.  This year because of how they scheduled Kindergarten...I was only able to have one of their classes participate.   

  • We looked at the artist Jason Woodside (  He is AMAZING...and has a large mural here in Nashville! If you don't know his work..check it out.  The kids LOVED IT! 
  • I had a very thick/canvas type material donated to me that I used for the students to paint on.  I used a cheap plastic table cloth underneath knowing that some of the paint would seep through.  
  • I used a yardstick to draw basic lines down first. Later I had students help in drawing the smaller patterns after the first class each day painted in the background color.  I had rulers and circle shapes available for them to trace.  
  • The class was working on self portraits at their seats while I brought groups of four back to paint on the collaborative piece.  We used tempera paint because of its fast drying & washability(it was not washable paint, but most tempera does wash out fairly easy if messes are made...and on the first days of school...messes can be made! ha ha)  
  • The last group of the day used asked if they could add black out lines...I was ok with that, but once they did looked more like Romero Britto than Jason Woodside.  Oh well...still beautiful! 

DAY ONE                           DAY TWO

DAY THREE                        DAY FOUR

After the work was dry...I cut out sections of the fabric and mounted it on the cardboard backing of these picture frames.  They use to have class in them...but over the years the glass had broken.  Lucky for me...they had just shoved them in a closet!! I asked the principal if I could repurpose them...and she was more than happy for me to do so!  I had to fix some hooks, patch up some scratches, and rewire some backs...but it was totally worth it!  I was able to get 7 works hung from the fabric we painted in the four days.  The halls look lovely & kid focused....and everyone has commented how much they enjoy them!! 

August 15, 2018


I have been slow to post this year guys...I'm so sorry!!!  It has been such a busy start to the school year both at school & with my kiddos!!!(I have a 3rd grader, 2nd grader, & Pre-Schooler!) Such is life with a busy art dad!! ha ha  Hope you enjoy the tour...please let me know if you have any questions!  

August 12, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Seeing is...

If an "artist" spoke of their amazing skill, boasted about their breathtaking body of work, and pontificated about their grandiose ideas for future projects,  but never showed proof of artistic might question it.  They say seeing is believing, and that is understandable in the visual arts.  We are...well...visual.  Though many of us have amazing imaginations, we still prefer to see with our own eyes ..opposed to have someone just explain things to us.  There is a power in seeing that carries tremendous weight.  I could speak to my students about art, and they'd probably think I knew what I was talking about (for the most part) & sort of understand what I was sharing with them.  However, if I do a demonstration for my students...they are ALL IN! Seeing the words/explanation in action has power. Seeing is believing.

Dear children, let us not love with 
words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

I have "heard" a lot of believers over the years talk about God.  I've heard a lot of great sermons.  I've read a lot of great books.  I've listened to hours and hours of amazing music that is based on biblical truth.
These words mean little if they do not move me to action.  These words are beautiful & can pull at my heartstrings, but if they do not pull me from the comforts of my home into service of the King...they mean nothing.  What our world needs now is not our words, but our actions that founded in the truth of God's word....the truth of God's love!  We need to move beyond simply saying we will "pray"...and find a way to be Jesus to that person/family/community.  We need to ask the Lord how we can meet the needs of those we come in contact.  Can we be ears to listen, hands to hold, arms to hug, a wallet to give, muscles to move...and a host of other ways we can practically be the gospel lived out?  How would the world respond if we did what we said we believed?  Would they be ALL IN if they saw Jesus lived out?  Seeing is believing!  Who will see Jesus in you today?