September 30, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Something New

Sometimes it is challenging to share our artistic endeavors.  We live with our thoughts, we deliberate over our sketches, and we invest time, energy, and skill into our creations.  They are an extension of ourselves, our beliefs, our opinions, and how we see the world.  Sharing these things with others can be scary.  There is a fear of rejection, being misunderstood, or that our work will just not measure up.  Sometimes these fears are elevated as we step out of our comfort zone artistically.  Trying something new can be risky.  Those known for realistic work try their hand at abstraction.  A painter attempts sculpture.  A portrait artists begins creating images of historic structures.  Change can bring uncertainty.  The artist and their patrons become comfortable in the established. However, the artist must be willing to take risks, try new things, and push the work further so that they can grow. 

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

It is easy to become comfortable in our faith.  Though this might sound like a good thing to some....being comfortable in our faith can cause us to be desensitized to our need for God.  Being comfortable in our faith can be a rut that keeps us from doing what the Spirit is prompting us to do. When we get to this place of "comfort"...we tend to want to protect that feeling of "safety".  Stepping out in faith would rob us of our comfort.  God was affirming to Joshua that he was going to be with him as he stepped out in faith.  If Joshua was just going to do what he always did...why would he need to be strong and courageous?  Why would God tell him not to be afraid or discouraged?  No, God was preparing Joshua for an adventure.  He was preparing him to live out a life of faith.  Though it might not be "comfortable...God assured him that he would be with him! 

When God calls us to step out in faith....he does not leave us to our own devices.  When he calls us to something new...he goes with us!  If it is helping a neighbor, reaching out to the refugee community, or traveling around the world to share God's love....what God calls us to....he goes with us!  We are not called to be comfortable.  We are called to know God & make him known. 

What is something new that will stretch your faith this week?

September 27, 2018

Fall Painting Projects for Elementary

Need some ideas for fun fall painting projects for your elementary students??

Bringing "CORN"dinsky out of retirement & into watercolor!  I have done this project in the past using oil pastels, but I like the look of it more so in watercolor.  A great project to introduce kids to the amazing work of Kandinsky with a different spin on it!!

Speaking of Kandinsky, here is a crayon resist project that might work well for early elementary.
Have the students draw several leaves on their paper using crayons.  Then introduce wet on wet technique. You can also keep tissues, tissue paper, or salt on hand to add a few more fun texture techniques into the lesson.  It would make a wonderful large group display as well!

I'm doing a unit right now with third grade that is exploring interior and exterior spaces.Bring the fall exterior inside by gazing out the window!  A simple change to a normal lesson that we teach students.  I always talk about the foreground being like the things you see right out your it can literally be right outside their window!! 

Exploring color mixing!!  This is a fun & easy project with a lot of impact.  I have my student fill up their paper with different types of leaves(the biggest problem is that they draw them too small).  Then they paint....but must use 2 or more colors on every leaf!!  Proper painting procedures, color mixing, fall...etc.....this lesson packs a lot of lessons into one!!

September 26, 2018

Practicum Take Over!!!

'My practicum students created & taught their own lessons this week!!  It has been fun to watch them as they see success & areas that need improvement.  As a teacher of many many is so energizing to see young educators start to discover who they are!!

2nd Grade
Ms. Wilson did a POP ART lesson focused on Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans.
The kids loved creating their own wacky flavors.
(Though one is Mr. E flavored...and the paint brush has red on it?? My blood?)

1st Grade
Ms. Saunders focused her lessons on Picasso & him abstracted portraits.
The students laughed so much as they created versions of themselves with eyes, ears, and mouths going every which way!  They also enjoyed using construction paper crayons.

Ms. Alday read to the students a story about scarecrows.  The students focused on using shapes to create their works of art.  They also used construction paper crayons.  

The practicum students are doing an amazing job...and my students are really enjoying them being here at our school!!  It is really a win-win situation if you are on the fence about practicum students!! 

September 23, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: The Joy Of...

Though the stereotype of the angsty & angry artist is still considered canon, I dare say that it represents only a small number of people.  Most artists have a deep felt joy for their creative pursuits. They are excited to explore ideas, experiment with media, pursue opportunities for sharing their work, and a number of other things involving their interests in the arts.  When one is so deeply immersed in their passion, it cannot be contained.  It impacts every area of their life.  It can't help but spill over. They share it with friends.  They share it with family.  They share it with strangers.  It is hard to contain something you are excited about.   It is beyond a hobby or passing is at the very heart of the individual.  Even on the bad provides a voice, an outlet, a safe place to process. 
 The joy of art...comes from the heart..and cannot be contained.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

As we grow in our knowledge of God's Word, the hope we have in Christ Jesus, the strength through the Holy Spirit, and our ability to trust that he is faithful in the good & bad overflows.  Those things that we invest ourselves into inevitably spill over into other areas of our lives. It impacts our attitude, our relationships, our work, our family, and our free time.  The joy of the Lord can not be contained.  It is an indicator of God's kingdom.  If you are a person that gravitates toward the negative, embraces the ba-humbugs of life, and are perfectly please to be need to ask the Lord to change your heart.   Now we are all unhappy from time to time.  Happiness comes and goes.  It is an emotion.  But joy....JOY IS AT THE CORE OF WHO WE ARE AS BELIEVERS.   Joy is a transformation of the heart.  Joy embraces the hope that can only come from God.  
There is so much more to this life when you live out the joy of the Lord.  

September 19, 2018


The practicum students are required to take pictures of themselves & send them to their professor each time they come to my classroom.  Well...I thought it would be fun to brighten their professor's day!!! So we are doing silly pictures in the art room every Monday & Tuesday!! I'm glad they are such amazing sports about this!! 

Can I just keep them forever!!! 

September 18, 2018

Rizzi Cities: 2nd Grade

My second graders are currently working on a cityscape unit!  After creating a cityscape under attack by monsers/aliens/robots....they have now moved on to the fun/whimsical Rizzi Cities!!!  They are LOVING IT!!!  I may be doing several posts of the results.  This is Day 1(on a four day rotation). We learned about Rizzi & looked at his work....drew our pictures...and traced with Sharpie on the first day.  Today we painted our pictures using watercolor(Prang).

September 17, 2018

Practicum Students

I'm fortunate to teach in an area that has several colleges that offer art education.  This allows me the opportunity for observations, practicum students, and student teachers.  I count it a blessing, privileged, and duty to welcome these educators in training into my classroom, and be a part of their art education journey.  Any one of them could potentially teach my students in the years to come.  Any one of them could potentially teach my own children.  I care about my students...and I care about my kids!! I want them to have the best possible art education....and if I can play a part in that....why wouldn't I?!?!

I encourage my practicum students to set down and work along side the kids to get to know them...and to model art skills & details in their work. 

I also have them take over parts of my lessons as soon as possible.  I want them to gain confidence in the art room...and have as many experiences as possible!!  They will teach their own lesson in a week or two....this was just getting them more prepared!!! 

They enjoyed the emotion monster lesson I was doing with 1st grade....but I'm wondering why they all did angry?!?!!? What is going on in my practicum students' lives??!??!?! ha ha ha  

September 16, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: GET REAL

Growth as an artist often develops while attempting new things, experimenting artistically, stepping out of one's comfort zone, pursuing different media or techniques..etc.  However, as one explores they are also defining their artistic voice, values, style, and aesthetic.  This is what sets us apart from other artists.  Though similarities may exist, an artistic fingerprint is developed by the artist truly pursing their work.  Even as I explore, many characteristics of my work will carry over.  I could attempt to mimic another artists...losing myself in their style & methodology, but the results would be a poor substitute.  We must be true to ourselves & seek opportunities to grow that do not sacrifice our artistic integrity.  We must get real!  Pretending to be something you're not will be seen. 
Even a good fake is revealed in the end.

I want to look at the story of the Good Samaritan....minus the Good Samaritan!

"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side."  Luke 10:30-32

Doesn't seem to have the same encouraging/uplifting message if you remove the Good Samaritan from the story does it?!?  

Who are you?  What are you all about?  In this section of scripture,  Jesus uses the Priest & the Levite as examples of those who "claim" to be religious leaders, but their actions do not reflect their titles.  Though we might shake our head at these two individuals & their response to the man in distress...are we really that far removed from being them?  There are many people in our world who claim to be Christians, but nothing about their life truly reflects that title.  They may able to talk the talk & play church, but you can not see the REAL results of one who has come into a personal relationship with God.  When the stress comes, desire to get ahead presents itself, or undesirable situations are within their abilities to assist...they pass by on the other side.  They cannot continue to be something they are just isn't in them.  What are the characteristics that show up in your life that reflect Christ?  What are areas you still need to develop?  He who started a good work in you is faithful to continue (the Mr. E paraphrase of Phil. 1:6 ha ha).  GET REAL!  What side of the road are you on? What side do you want to be on??

September 13, 2018

Fish Paintings: Kindergarten

Oh how Kindergarten loves to paint!!  We did a very controlled collaborative painting the first week of school...but this is the first time they've gone at it in a full fledged lesson! We are about 5 or 6 weeks into the school year they've learned a great deal.  They also are very confident with our fish/sea theme we've been working on this 9 weeks.  After a demo & explanation of painting expectations & procedures...they students got to work! 


I use the wide bottom tumbler cups from Dollar Tree/Dollar General(have had them for years and years).  I only fill them about 3 or 4 inches full of water(in case of spills.

We use the "Biggie" watercolor sets with 4 colors.  Tempera cakes would work also. It is more getting them use to holding a brush, rinsing out the brush, ...etc. 

I do not do step by step exactly...I do a demo and then let them do it.  I don't want all the pictures to look exactly the same...but I do believe in guidance for my kinders!!!

This girls fish is super fun..and very different from the others.

It is amazing how so precise some of the kids are at such a young age!

Sharing is caring!! Also...I know...I need to get new paints!!(get the refills!!..cuts down on cost)


September 10, 2018

How Sweet It Is!!!!

This week I've been having 4th grade create desserts of their choosing, to be colored/painting using watercolor pencils.  We talked about color choices, color families, and how color impacts our work.  I left it up to the individual students how they handled the color, but encouraged them to try some of the ideas we discussed in class.  YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP!  They were so into their work...they forgot to talk! ha ha  Love when they get that involved in their work.

Before you start saying I don't have any avoid showing faces I had to angle the camera.  There were 23 4th graders in the room during this time!!!!  SO QUIET!!! 

September 09, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: PRACTICE

Have you ever seen art educators (or really any educators) that do the same thing year in & year out.  Same projects, same presentations, same bulletin is like the Groundhog Day of education.  If you have something good going...why mess with perfection....right???  I'm not that teacher.  Part of it is because I'd become incredibly bored with myself.  Another part of it is that I've never felt like I've "arrived"....there is always something I could tweek/change/make better!  The last part of it is as educators.....we are called to be lifelong learners. We must put into practice those things we are learning, or what is the point?  Putting into practice new skills, techniques, concepts, ideas....they allow us to take ownership.  In doing this...we are able to impart the information to our students in a more effective manner.  "Do what I do!" is more powerful than "Do what I say!".  They need to see that we are learning & growing alongside them.  

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. 
Do what it says.   James 1: 22

One of the major walls that we as believers build between us & non believers is that of hypocrisy.  Webster's defines a hypocrite as "a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings."  (  So many of us go to church ...listen to our Christian our Christian books, but don't allow those things to impact our life.  We claim God...but do not live a life that reflects that claim.  As Christians, we are lifelong learners of God's Word.  As followers, we are constantly looking to the example of Christ in how we should live our life.  As believers, we are daily working out what our faith means in our attitudes, actions, and aspirations through the Holy Spirit.  We have not "arrived".  We have not gotten all of our "stuff" together.  We make mistakes.  God's grace is something we embrace each & every day....and is something we should extend as we walk through this life.  We are not here just to teach others about our faith...we are here to live it out & show them!  Practice what you it out through your actions & when needed...use words!!

September 08, 2018

Reality Check

As the new school year is well underway for everyone by this are seeing all the amazing posts of beautiful rooms with beautiful projects created by beautifully creative and beautifully behaved students.  These amazing utopian worlds seem far removed from the reality of your day.  

I have to admit...more times than not...I post the best of my projects & don't always share the struggles. The struggles are real!! Even for seasoned bloggie social media posting art teachers like myself.  Please know when you are in the midst of your struggles....we are right there with you!! Know you can message, comment, tweet, and email us...that is why we post!! We all believe we are better together....and love to connect with our art ed family!! 

Oh...and here is the reality check for my kindergarten collage fish lesson!!  Like I said...even us old timers struggle from time to time!! Ha ha

September 02, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Vision, Hearing, & Heart

Artists open themselves up to scrutiny every time they show their work.  One on one critique, small group critique, things said in a gallery/public showing, off the cuff remarks from family/friends,  written reviews in print, or comments left on social media.........there are a multitude of ways and opportunities for opinions to be shared in regards to your work.  Some will affirm what you are doing.  Some will encourage and challenge you to make positive changes that will strengthen your original vision and yield a stronger piece in the end.  However, some comments you read or hear may cause you to consider changing your work/direction in a way that will deviate too far from the original intent or heart.  Outside opinions can cause confusion, pain, and discouragement.  We must make the choice on how to best protect ourselves as artists.  Who do we listen to...who's opinion we avoid reading reviews or comments made on social media....can we allow comments we overhear or read to roll off our back?  Isolation is not the answer, but being wise in who/what we allow to impact our artist's heart is crucial. 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23

There are many out there that live their lives thinking they are impervious to the influences of outside sources(people, music, books, TV, movies..etc).  They feel that they can participate in whatever, be around whoever, listen to whatever, watch whatever...and that it has no impact on their life.  Where we spend our time, with whom we spend our time, where we invest our energy, what we allow ourselves to see and hear.......reveals itself in how we think, how we speak, what we believe, and what we do.   It is as simple as good things in....good things out!  Though at times that doesn't seem so simple.  Often we allow ourselves to be influenced by what is popular, what we want(and not what we need), and what those around us are allowing in their life.  This can derail us from our passion and purpose.  It causes us to place our wants over God's plans.  We must take Proverbs 4:23 to heart..."Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."