Lesson #1: Creating a Sense of Place

Part of the unit: Painting a Neighborhood Scene |


How do artists create a sense of place?
Students will be able to:
Compare and contrast paintings that create a sense of place
Discuss how artists convey their feelings about a place.
Make a sketch from memory of a well known block in their neighborhood.
Students will understand that:
Artists express personal visions about familiar places.

9"x12" drawing paper, ebony pencils, erasers


Hopper's Early Sunday Morning, Dong Kingman's Sing Chung Chinatown


Display Hopper's Early Sunday Morning.

  • What do you see in this painting?  (chart responses)
  • What would it feel like to be on this block?  Explain.

Display a Dong Kingman street scene.

  • How is this block different from Hopper's? (chart responses)
  • How would it feel to be on this block?  Why?
  • If you were to paint your favorite block in your neighborhood, what would you include?  (chart responses)

Explain that artists like to paint scenes they know well and care about.  To create a "sense of place" they include things that make this place special and unique.

Ask students to select a block in their neighborhood they know well.  Explain that before they make a painting of that block, they will be drawing of a section of it from memory. 


The teacher will describe a section of his/her favorite neighborhood block.  The teacher will then make a sketch that communicates the special nature of the place.

Distribute paper, pencils, and erasers.  Direct students to make a pencil sketch of a section of the block they know the best in their neighborhood.  They should include evidence of what makes this place special.

Invite a student to share his/her drawing by explaining how he/she created a "sense of place."

In preparation for lesson #2, students should carefully observe the block they drew from memory.  They should gather reference information by photographing it, sketching it, and describing what they see.  Digital prints, sketches, and written information should be brought to the next class.