May 30, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Reflect

 Art is most often a reflection of the one creating it.  You may see the artist using their favorite color(s), a theme or subject matter that is important to them, geographic indicators within the work, a particular or unique style, a preference of materials they enjoy using, or even the size of their work.  Even if an artist creates work that is photorealistic, this identifies a value or skill that can be connected to that given artist.  We can even see different periods in an artist's life be reflected in what and how they have created ( Picasso's Blue & Rose periods!). There are times that a commission may warrant an artist lay aside their personal aesthetic as to fulfill a client's wishes.  However, when they create their own personal work.... it will once again reflect who they are. 

As water reflects the face,

 so one’s life reflects the heart.

Proverbs 27:19

If someone followed you around at home, at work, and at play.....what would they see?  Does who you say you are, what you say you value, and the priorities you espouse get reflected in your everyday life? None of us are perfect.  We are inconsistent at times.  We have bad days.  However, could someone look at your life and see what is most important to you?  

Those of us who have a personal relationship with the Lord should reflect that truth in and through every aspect of our life.  I am loved.  I am forgiven.  I am a child of God.  I am not alone.  I am a new creation.  I am created for a purpose.  I am accepted.  I am empowered.  AND SO MUCH MORE!  
If these things are true...shouldn't our lives reflect that?  
What is keeping you from experiencing this?

May 28, 2021

Sometimes it doesn’t work out...

I have a lot of big and crazy ideas.  Some of my big collaborative projects I've done...I've never seen other people do.  I'm not a toolsie that causes me to be creative in figuring out solutions.  Most of the time...they work out.  MOST OF THE TIME, but not all of the time.  

I was trying to squeak in one last big collaborative project by the end of the year.  It was a giant dragon made of fabric.  I was going to place it out in the front of the school the last two days.  The kids decorated the scales, painted parts of the dragon, and helped put it together.  I got to school at 6 am on the last full day of school to put it up before anyone got there.  I tried one way.  I tried another way.  I tried yet another way.  NOTHING WAS WORKING.  The ground was two hard for my stakes.  The fabric was too heavy for the line and sagged.  The weight eventually snapped the line.  I was so frustrated.  I was so sad.  All this work, time, and money....FOR NOTHING!!!

Was it for nothing though.  I quickly snapped out of it.  I realized this was an opportunity for me to show the students that the process is as important as the product.  I needed to be able to share with them that sometimes no matter the heart...sometimes things don't work out.  AND THAT IS OK!  We learn from our mistakes and are able to be more informed for our next project. The mistakes made on this might allow us to make different choices for the next.  The students I spoke with about the failed dragon project seemed to "get it". many said...WE HAD FUN MAKING IT! 

I won't stop dreaming big...but I'll take some trouble shooting questions/thoughts into the next project! 


May 25, 2021

Story Time: Lesson Learned

It was the end of my second year of teaching, and my dad had been diagnosed with cancer just a couple days before.  He told me to wait and come up after I had a day or two of rest.  He said he'd still be there in the hospital... so there was no rush. I left early in the morning a couple days after the end of the school year to make the almost nine hour drive home to Ohio.  I arrived two hours too late.  He had passed away unexpectedly.  Though they had given him six months to a year...he died 4 days after being diagnosed. Twenty two years later...this is ever present on my heart and mind.  Not because of guilt, but because I know we are not promised tomorrow here on this earth.  We need to treasure EVERY DAY, love TODAY, help TODAY, make a difference TODAY.....because tomorrow may be too late.  

It has been a rough year.  If you are a teacher...I know it has been a struggle. My hope is that you will use this summer to recharge & reflect on life.  There has been so much good in the midst of the struggle.  There always is if we take a moment to look. 

Be a blessing.  Speak life.  Lend a hand. Love. 

The first picture is my dad with me as a baby. 
The send was at my sister's wedding. 
I know he looks kind of serious...but he was hysterical & a total goof ball!!

May 24, 2021



Summer is almost here (or is here in some districts!).  Need some art ideas to keep you creative the whole summer long?  Here ya go.  These are the art prompts I created in the spring during the pandemic...but thought they might be a great thing to get you through the summer!  
There are plenty of prompt lists out there if these do not meet your needs/interests.  Just Google Art Prompts for Kids

May 22, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Room

Is it on trend? Are they using the latest greatest supplies? Is it tackling contemporary issues? Does it push the boundaries of what we've seen before? Does it speak to all the social and political issues?  

Art is BIG!!  Sometimes people try to control what art is by trying to make it fit in a box.  That's art.  That's not art.  That's good art. That's not good art.  That person is an artist. That person is not an artist.  Is there not enough room in our world for people to create and not have to "fit" into a certain mold?   People create because it is within them to do so.  It connects them with their past. It helps process the present.  It gives them hope for the future.  Maybe they just want to make something pretty for their home.  Maybe they want to address issues they wrestle with.  Maybe they use craft paint from Wal-Mart. Maybe they use expensive "professional" grade paint from a fancy art store.  We should encourage everyone to create / make.  Art's worth can not be put into a box. There is room outside of the box for so much more.  

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Often when we think about those who "serve" the Lord...we list people/jobs like pastor, youth leader, missionary, bible study leader, choir/praise team director, or children's minister. We tend to have a narrow view of what it means to serve the Lord. We put serving God in a box.   Serving the Lord is volunteering to help clean up after an event.  Serving the Lord is rounding up supplies to give to the pregnancy help center or food pantry.  Serving the Lord is helping your neighbor with their yard.  Serving the Lord is working at fast food restaurant and doing your very best to honor God.  Serving the Lord is telling that mom in the store with the screaming baby...she is a great mom and doing her very best.  There is room for all kinds of service that will honor and bring glory to God.  He has gifted each of us in such unique ways.  Lets embrace who we are and serve God with all that we are. 

What do you see as one of the things God has gifted you to serve him with?  

End of the Year Activity: Marker Check


The last week or so of school can be kind of crazy with celebrations, field days, and other activities that require us to be FLEXIBLE!! Have students help prepare your classroom for summer/start of next school year is a great way to have students stay active & take ownership!!! A major help is checking markers!  I have 16 tables in my room and a box of markers for each.  For me to check them all would take a long time....but a class makes short work of it (and they really enjoy doing it!!).  I give the students our "mat" papers we've used for Sharpies over the year and have them make a quarter size circle on it with the marker (coloring it in of coarse).  I show them what a good marker & dry marker look like before I let them get started.  I set out new markers and have them make sure the boxes are restocked with all the colors. This takes 10 min. or less when you have everyone working. can move on to another task!  

May 21, 2021

End of Year Activity

 I'm seeing my classes for the last time this school year.  


I have my students help me get ready for the next school year! I really dislike a boring blank hallway.  So I have my students make turtles (my thing!) that I glue together and have cascading down outside of my classroom.  I use color themes in my room.  This past year I used purple, red, and blue. Next year I'm using yellow, blue, and green.    All my bulletin boards, displays, and chair footies ( ) will be changed yearly to go with that color theme.  I have a big basket of fabric I've collected over the years that I use for my boards(back when Wal-Mart had $1 a yard table!!).  If your wondering...I don't do themes like jungle, space, dinos for my classroom..because they 

I separate out the blues, greens, and yellows so that there aren't any mess-ups! 

May 17, 2021


 I was not able to write my weekly Sunday Devotional With Mr. E this week.
(For those of you new here...almost every Sunday for the past 5 years I've written a post that connects art and faith.  I normally post that Sunday morning.)  My church asked me if I'd create a painting to co along with the new sermon series.  I LOVE that they want to include visual art...I've always felt that was something churches should embrace....allowing people to use their gifts/talents/skills to contribute to what the church does.  However, something had to give.  I'm a husband, father of three, and a full time art teacher.  I just don't have enough hours in the day.  So...I decided I'd invest the time I usually put into writing my weekly devotional into my painting (and a bunch of other hours I squeaked out here and there!).  It is 24 in x 48 in acrylic painting.  I'm not exactly sure when/how it will be used, but excited to see the church embracing us arty types!! ha ha 


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.