May 12, 2021

...had to laugh...

 Today was my "virtual" day.  I teach 9 virtual classes & 1 in person.  I was on the last class of the day.  I love this group of kids.  They talk...A LOT...but they are so much fun and we laugh the whole time as we learn.  Today though...they were a bit "much".  It is like that at the end of the year virtual or not.  I was trying to demo something for a student that had asked for help (we're using an online paint program)...and the rest of the class was getting really loud.  All of the sudden, I hear a student speak up and say..."Gosh Mr. E, you look really tired or sad?!?"  Another kid jumps in...."That's not his  tired or sad face...that's fed up because we're all so loud and talking over him!"  I had to laugh!  I'm going to miss this group of kids so much next year when they go to middle school!  

May 10, 2021

Picasso Presents

 A para-pro at my school (who is also a parent) brought me the sweetest gift!!!  

We were talking the other day about the Picasso exhibit at the Frist Museum, and how I had been unable to secure tickets.  Her family was going, and they were super excited about it.  So first thing in the morning (Monday)....she brought me this sweet gift from the museum!!  HOW FUN!!  It is always nice (and encouraging) to be thought of in artsy situations.  

May 09, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Express

Artists produce work for a variety of reasons.  There are times they create to display skill, make money, fulfill others' visions, work through ideas for future pieces, etc.  Some of these reasons are "detached" from the heart, emotion, and passions of the artist. The work possess value/merit, and is very much a part of every artist's journey.  However, there is something powerful & compelling about work that comes from the depths of one's experiences.  When an artists creates from that raw and present place of where they are, amazing things can come to fruition. A person struggling with loss can imbue their work with the pain & confusion that comes with such emotion.  The work may take on a style, color palette, and compositional construct that is different from the "normal" for that artist. This may allow the viewer to connect with a work in a way that might not have happened if the artist wouldn't have allowed themselves to create out of that "place".  That is an amazing gift.  The artist can express/communicate emotions in a way that resonates with others like little else can. We are able to to meet the viewer where they are, and share our humanity.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.  For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.  They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
1 Peter 3:8-11

I'll admit that my art is rarely angry, depressing, or full of angst.  It isn't who I am.  I've always been a more positive personality that can find/see the good in almost anyone/any situation. For me to create "angry" art in order to reach new viewers would be unauthentic.  Even during times of struggle in my life there is always hope in my work. 

 We have a hope/peace that passes all understanding.  This is not to say that we can't wrestle with loss, anger, pain, confusion, or frustration. I know many who love the Lord with all their heart, and they battle with depression, anxiety, and other struggles.   I have not made it through life this far without my share of such things. However, I know that I'm wired differently, and these struggles do not over take me.  I've always found myself holding onto the peace that only God can provide.  So if I can speak hope, love, and encouragement to those around me...I will.   I don't want to fall into the trap of negativity that our world seems to be elevating/promoting...even when I am struggling with "life".  I want to be able to be a light in the darkness for the believer and nonbeliever.   I want to be able to speak life & truth to people that so desperately need it.  I want to express it with my all & all.  

May 07, 2021

Watercolor Pencil Still Life: Cezanne Inspired

 I had not used watercolor pencils with my 3rd graders, and was excited to have them create with a new (to them) medium!  We watched a short video about Paul Cezanne & his still life work to kick the lesson off.  I then gave them the watercolor pencils and 90 lbs wet media paper.  I did not allow them to draw with regular pencil first.  They were a bit scared to start, but then were totally into it!  Most of them did get to the point of painting by the end of class.  Next class time I passed their work back out and asked them to take a good look at their art.  I asked them to identify 3 things they like & 3 things they would like to improve.  I passed the watercolor pencil back out, and allowed them 20 min. to make the changes they felt their work needed.  They used the rest of the time to paint. 

May 05, 2021

Bobs on a Coaster

I bet you all didn't know you NEEDED to see Bob Ross plushies riding a coaster at Kings Island, but here it is for your enjoyment!!  Sometimes we need to embrace the silly in life!!! ha ha 

May 04, 2021

Picasso Portraits With Sargent Paint Sticks

We are working on a unit of portraiture, and today learned about Picasso! 
I had the students first draw lightly with pencil. We then discussed color, and how it can transform a work & how it impacts the mood/emotion of a picture.  We had recently used Sargent Art Paint Sticks on another project, and I thought it would be perfect for this lesson as well.  If you have not used paint sticks (there are several brands)....they are WONDERFUL!  I really do like Sargent's version (I've tried a few!).  The kids really enjoyed creating their portraits, and it was so fun to hear them giggle as the worked!  I may do another post of them....I still have two more classes. 
If you have any questions about Paint Sticks....let me know!! 


May 03, 2021


This was the first video I ever uploaded to my original YouTube Channel.  This cute baby is going to be 10 at the end of June!!  I will say, the video ALWAYS...ALWAYS makes me smile!! So if you've had a rough day, things don't seem to be going right....take a moment and laugh along with Eli!
(If you are wondering what he is laughing at...I was trying to hit a fly with a kitchen towel! At the end you see him try to get the fly too!)


May 02, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: ALL


This phrase has been uttered by my students too often over the past few years.  At first, I didn't think much of it.  Then I started noticing it was used almost like a defense mechanism or an excuse.  I would start talking to them about their art work and the areas that needed their attention...."I DID MY BEST!"  I would try to continue talking to them, and they would cut me off again.... "I DID MY BEST!".  

Excuse me? 

I always expect my students to do their best.  Why would they do anything less than?  However, we know there are times that we try to get away with less than our best. Art takes all that we are.  Sometimes though, we just don't have it all to give. 

 For from him and through him and for him are all things. 

To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:36

Are you giving your all in all to God? Our relationship with the Lord is not only on Sunday mornings & Wednesday nights.  It is not only when we are praying or reading his Word.  I believe the division most make between the secular and sacred is wrong.  In all that we do we should be living our lives for the Lord.  The relationships we have or are building should not be devoid of who we are as believers.  The work that we do should be done as one who wants to honor God in all that they do. Our lives should be informed by our faith. When we create, when we love, when we go about our days...all of it is from him, through him, and for him.  

What can you say about your life in regards to your all in all?  I DID MY BEST?  Great.  Is there more that you need to do?  Does your whole life reflect your relationship with God? Are there areas that you still draw a line between secular and sacred?  Go to God and ask him to show you what it would look like for your all in all.  

April 29, 2021

More Beautiful Circle Weavings!

 I have been so incredibly impressed by my 3rd graders this year!! Their circle weavings have been AMAZING!!!  Here are a handful that finished their backgrounds completely.  There are so many ways that you can "finish" the background/looms for circle weavings.  I like having my students create patterns in the background and color them (using marker) with the colors they used in their weaving.  I do this after they are done weaving...because you never know how big they will be, and I'd hate for students to work extremely hard on the background and then cover it up with the weaving.  This method has "morphed" over the years.  I was first introduced to this project 24 yrs ago when it was a part of the first curriculum we used in Metro Nashville Public Schools.  It has changed for the better over the years, and is one of my favorite lessons.  

April 28, 2021

Paint Sticks & Collage

 Today my students created a character using paint sticks ( Sargent Art ) & collage.  Since we've been back in person, I've really tried to do projects that use supplies we just weren't able to use during virtual.  They LOVE the paint sticks.  I had them create a "character" and simple background using the paint sticks.  They could use food items, objects around home or school, or even clothing items.  I told them not to make the face though.  We would be creating the face and any additional items using collage.  I think their pictures turned out super cute.  

One of the reasons I had them use collage for the face is because my students sometime struggle cutting out circular objects.  I believe part of this is because they no long use scissors in the classroom to do cut & match activities like they use to do. (like matching words or placing vocabulary in a sentence)  That coupled with the fact that many do not do crafty/arty things at home as much as they once did....we have some struggles in the scissor skills department!! 

April 25, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Worth The Risk

Do you take risks in your art?  Do you ever think, "That might work?!", and then go for it?   I tend to be a bit more conservative when I'm creating.  I struggle with the idea of doing something that could completely undo the hours I've already invested into something.  The problem with "playing it safe" is that you continue to do the things you've always done.  There is no "new".  There is no breakthrough. Honestly, what is there to be afraid of in taking risks?  What is the worst that can happen?  You might have to fix your mistake or possibly start over.  I think we focus too often on the possibility of failure instead of embracing the opportunity for progress & success.  Don't you think it is worth the risk?  

 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water. ”Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14: 28-31

The story of Peter walking on water often seems to focus on the fact that he sank. We talk about his doubt or how he took his eyes off the Lord.  All true.  However, how many of us would have even tried to step foot on the water in the first place?  We quickly point out Peter's lack of faith, but struggle to see our own.  God prompts us to talk to someone, give financially, use our time for act of service or ministry, and the first thing we do is take a risk assessment of the situation we are presented with us. 

"They might not want to hear what I have to say or I might say the wrong thing. I don't have the money to give right now or it will put a strain on the plans I have for the money.  Someone else would do a better job serving in that roll, and I just don't have the time."

We can make excuses much better than we can quote scripture...and that's a problem! 

(I'm speaking to myself here!)

When God calls us to do is always worth the risk. What good is it to claim we have faith if we never put it into action?  It is kind of like the china in the cabinet that never gets used.  Sure, it is pretty, but it never serve the purpose for which it was designed. That is kind of sad, don't you think?  

Where can you put your faith in action, and trust God to be God?  Is there something that has been on your heart?  What is holding you back? It is worth the risk to trust the Lord with it....with everything! 

April 23, 2021

4th Grade Weavings

 Here are some of this year's 4th grade weavings.  I want to be honest with you....this was not my favorite year of weaving with the 4th graders.  Not because of the students or their work, but because of the looms.  I had ordered pre-notched looms, and I guess I typed in the wrong thing and did not notice.  I never...NEVER....get these thin looms.  I like to get the ones that are 9 inches wide.  I hate fussing with sending things I decided I'd just use them.  I felt like I had more issues with the smaller looms.  One of which was it seemed much easier to hour class & it was more noticeable. If you like them...GREAT!  For me though...I'll be ordering the 9 inch wide next year!!!!  

April 22, 2021

1 Point Perspective Using Kleki

This week we worked on 1 Point Perspective using !  I did this with my online students. I tend to get more work turned in using the kleki site, so whenever possible....we use it!! 
It was interesting doing a tried and true paper, pencil, and ruler lesson. The kids really enjoyed it though.
Here is the video of my instruction! 

April 21, 2021

Art 2 Art Game

If you love Apples to Apples, Art 2 Art is for you!! This game is easy for a variety of ages to play, and provides exposure to a variety of art, artists, and vocabulary.  

If you are interested in buying Art 2 Art, check out for more information!

My kids are 6, 9, and 12 years old....and truly enjoyed the game 
(They were mad when I told them it was time fore bed!) 

April 19, 2021

Art With Mr. E 6th Annual Summer Workshop

 Please forgive the late notice, there were many details that had to fall into place for this summer's workshop.  We will be returning to Cumberland University's Fine Arts Building this summer (We were there last summer for our modified one day summer workshop!!). 

We have a great group of teachers every summer that love to laugh, learn, and share!  We've had teachers from 7 different states, 5 area counties, and Pre-K - 12 attend!  We go through a ton of projects during our time that can be modified up or down depending on what grade level you teach.  At the end I'll give you a certificate for 18 hours of professional development, but you will need to be responsible to see if your school district will accept it or not.  The cost is $125.  E-mail me if you would like to sign up!  We try to keep our numbers no more than 20 educators so we can get to know one another.

  [We will be abiding by Cumberland's Covid protocol/policies as part of being allowed to use their space.  More information on that when you request a form to sign up!]

April 18, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Underneath

Gesso is used to help prepare a surface for painting.  The proper paper is necessary for watercolor to be done optimally.  Solid paper mache starts with the appropriate paper and adhesive. Weaving needs to have a loom that will hold the warp in place.  Often we see a finished work of art, and we do not consider the beginnings.  What is underneath is as important as the beauty we see on the surface.  Without the right foundation, a work of art can fall apart, degrade over time, or not even come to fruition in the first place. 

Truly my soul finds rest 
in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
 he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62: 1-2 

It is an amazing life changing experience when someone begins a personal relationship with the Lord. However, as with all relationships, you must go underneath the surface to see the time and effort it takes to develop.   Knowing God to the point where he is not only your salvation, but your rest, fortress, and rock requires time praying, in the Word, fellowship with other believers, meditating, and praise is a process.  As we grow in our relationship with the Lord, we see & experience his faithfulness.  We come to realize that he is always with us & loving us.  We can say no matter the storms we face...that we are unshaken because we know our God.  

April 16, 2021

Some Completed Circle Weavings!!!

We are wrapping up our circle weaving project.  I have my students create a design after they have completed their weavings. They then use marker to mimic the colors of their yarn so the design looks like it carries on to the end of the plate. (I use the cardboard circles that are white on one side..usually around $15 for 100.)   This is the first group to finish up.  So expect to see more weaving posts over the next week or so! 

April 14, 2021

My Award/Trophy

 Today my school presented me with a trophy/award for being Teacher of the Year. It is etched glass, and has a turtle at the center! If ya don't know...turtles are my favorite animal. Being teacher of the year does mean a great deal to me, but trophies & awards are just objects that collect dust. This one however...will not! ha ha I love that they took the time to add something personal. It isn't just a brass or marble apple. It is not a generic trophy. It is thoughtful/meaningful..and I'll treasure it always!

So thankful to be at a school that supports & recognizes the arts!

April 13, 2021

Dollar General Wood Burning Tool Review

 As a kid, I always wanted to have a wood burning kit.  They looked so cool. However, my parents never bought one for me.  We were poor, and that was kind of an odd I get it.  I also now get the fact that wood burning tools get SUPER DUPER HOT!  I don't know if I'd let my kids play with one!?!?  ha ha  A couple months ago I saw a wood burning tool at Dollar General in their beefed up craft section for only $10.  At first I resisted the urge to get it.  Do I really need another art related hobby when I have trouble keeping up with creating "real" art?  When I went back and saw that it was no longer there...I realized I had missed my opportunity.  I went to four different locations to see if I could find it...AND I DID!!  So I bought it.  Here is a video of my first experience using a wood burning tool!!  


April 12, 2021

Rizzi Buildings With Aluminum Foil Transfer Print

My Kindergarten students are loving James Rizzi!! After looking at & discussing his work, the students drew three Rizzi inspired buildings.  They then traced their drawings with Sharpies.  Then they colored a sheet of aluminum foil with Crayola Markers.  I walked around and sprayed their foil with water, and the took a transfer print from it. The Ohs! & Ahs! when they saw the results were amazing!  

April 03, 2021



We need to support & encourage one another purposely. We don't need to try to assert our thoughts/ways of doing things on others. We do not need to tear others down because we might not agree with their method of doing things.   You are not in their situation. They are not in your situation. I've seen so many snarky comments. Mean comments.  I feel like sometimes our responses are more "high school" than caring professionals.  The pandemic has caused our teaching situations to change dramatically....some times multiple times.  There is not a tried and true way of doing things any more because everything has changed.  If someone asks a question...answer it.  If you find their way interesting...mention it.  If you had a situation similar and handled it differently....share it (but not in a MY WAY IS BETTER THAN YOUR WAY kind of manner). Let's be encouragers so that art education can be stronger because of our words, wisdom, and experiences. 

April 02, 2021


Did I mention I like Peeps??? I had to go to Walmart after school...and the greeter asked if she could take my picture!😂 I love making people smile...and at times shake their head in disbelief!! Haha