Lesson #3: Depicting a Place in the Community

Part of the unit: Discoveries in Paint |


Why do artists make paintings about their community?
Students will be able to:
Make personal observations about the school community
Control paint media and brush
Organize compositional space
Students will understand that:
Artists interpret and depict their experiences.

Red, yellow, blue, black and white tempera paint, 12"x18" drawing paper, sponge, palette, can for water, 1" and 1/2" flat brushes


John Sloan's Jefferson Market and Backyards, Greenwich Village


Display reproductions of John Sloan's Jefferson Market and Backyards, Greenwich Village.

Explain that John Sloan was one of many artists who painted pictures of their community in New York City.  Chart responses to the following questions:

  • How are these paintings similar?  How are they different?
  • Why do you think the artist painted these scenes?
  • Think about the neighborhood walk you took with your classroom teacher.  Describe:  colors, buildings, vehicles, signs, people.  (chart responses)

The teacher will explain that the students will be making a painting about the neighborhood walk.


Ask for a volunteer to select describe one aspect of the neighborhood walk that they enjoyed.  

Based on that description, the teacher will demonstrate how to capture the experience.  He/She will block out the major shapes, mix colors, review paint management techniques, and begin the painting.

Distribute painting supplies and paper.

Students will be directed to select an experience from their neighborhood walk to paint.

Students will block out the major areas and begin their painting.

Invite students to share their works in progress. 

  • Which part of the neighborhood walk are you painting?
  • Tell us why you selected this scene.

Students will read and discuss Faith Ringgold's Tar Beach with their classroom teacher.