Grades/Level: Lower Elementary (K–2)
Subjects: Visual Arts
Time Required: 1–2 class periods

Author: This lesson was adapted by J. Paul Getty Museum Education staff from a curriculum originally published on the Getty's first education website, ArtsEdNet.


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Lesson Overview

This lesson is part of a sequential unit. Students study works of art that depict two people who care for each other and study how the artists use line, color, shape, and space to convey the sense of a caring relationship. Students then use these principles to create their own drawings of two caring people.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• describe ways that artists visually convey that two people are in a caring relationship.
• describe how artists use line, shape, color, and space in works of art.
• use line, shape, color, and space to express emotion in a drawing that depicts two people they care about.


• Light-colored construction paper, pastels, kneaded erasers, thin and thick brown markers (optional), paper-blending stumps. You can also use watercolors for this lesson.
• Images of artworks showing a caring relationship between two people. Suggested images are below.

Lesson Steps

This lesson has two parts: discussion and art production.

1. Have a discussion with students about caring relationships. Start with the following questions:

• Who are the people you care about?
• Why do you care for these people?
• How do you show that you care for them?
• Who takes care of you?
• Why do you think they care for you?
• How do they let you know that they care about you?

2. Tell students that they will look at artworks that show two people who care for each other. Discuss the following:
• How can you tell these people care for each other? Make sure students to point out details in the picture that support their answers.
• Explain that the artist made choices about lines, shapes, colors, space, and composition when he or she created this picture, in order to help us understand that these two people care for each other.

After discussion, introduce the works of art to the students and give them information, such as the artist's name, the title of the artwork, and when and where it was created.

3. Ask students to consider how the artists used the elements of art in these works. Note answers to each question on the blackboard.
• What kinds of lines do you see? (straight, curved, thick, thin, jagged, vertical, horizontal, broken)
• What shapes do you see? (circles, rectangles, triangles, squares, ovals)
• What colors do you see? (bright, soft, dark, strong)
• What warm colors did the artist use? (red, orange, yellow)
• What cool colors did the artist use? (blue, green, violet)
• Do the people fill up the space of the picture? Is there a lot of empty space in between the people, or around them?

4. Talk to students about the ways artists use different lines, shapes, and colors to establish moods and feelings. What choices did the artist make to show that these people care for each other? Describe the lines, colors, shapes, and space he or she used, as well as the composition.
For example:
• "Rogovin showed the people in three images, which shows time passing. Since they are together in all three images, he shows that they stay together over time and are a family."
• "The crowns on the sisters' heads in the David painting are almost merged together, forming a double-arched line over their heads. Also, the the girl on the right stretches her arm across her sister to hold the letter, forming a line across the picture that encircles them both, connecting them in space."

Art Production
1. Ask students to think of someone they care for and create a drawing of themselves with that person. They can also create a drawing of two other people that they have affection for. Their goal is to convey a sense of caring by using the visual elements that they discussed earlier in the works of art.

2. Students should start with a pencil drawing outlining the two people. They should then fill the drawing in with pastels, blending them to make the colors soft, and adding more pastel to darken or brighten. Demonstrate on paper how to blend with pastels, rubbing the pastels together with your finger, a tissue, or a paper stump. Tell students they can add pastel around the figures, too.

Optional: After color has been applied, students can draw over the pencil with brown Magic Marker to define the edges and create contour lines, or add other details and a finished quality to their artwork.

3. Have students write one or two sentences describing who is in their picture, what the relationship between them is, and pointing out two elements of art that they used to convey the caring relationship.

Bonaparte Sisters / David
The Sisters Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte, Jacques-Louis David, 1821


Students should be able to do the following:
• Recognize how artists portray caring relationships in works of art.
• Identify and describe the lines, shapes, colors, and space in works of art and relate these elements to the artists' expressions of mood and feeling.
• Use the elements of art to create an image that communicates the caring relationship between two people.


Have students share their own work of art with the class, pointing out whom they chose to depict and what they like about their work of art.

Have students read Willy and Hugh by Anthony Browne.

Standards Addressed

Common Core Standards for English Language Arts

Grades K–2

K.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and text with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
K.4 Describe familiar people places, things, and events, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and text with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
1.4 Describe familiar people places, things, and events, with relative details expressing ideas and feelings more clearly.
2.3 Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
2.4 Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audible in coherent sentences.

Visual Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

Artististic Perception
1.3 Identify the elements of art (line, color, shape/form, texture, value, space) in the environment and in works of art, emphasizing line, color, and shape/form.

Creative Expression
2.4 Paint pictures expressing ideas about family and neighborhood.
2.5 Use lines in drawings and paintings to express feelings.

Grade 1
Artistic Perception
1.3 Identify the elements of art in objects in nature, in the environment, and in works of art, emphasizing line, color, shape/form, and texture.

Creative Expression
2.4 Plan and use variations in line, shape/form, color, and texture to communicate ideas or feelings in works of art.

Aesthetic Valuing
4.1 Discuss works of art created in the classroom, focusing on selected elements of art (e.g., shape/form, texture, line, color).

Connections, Relationships, Applications
5.3 Identify and sort pictures into categories according to the elements of art emphasized in the works (e.g., color, line, shape/form, and texture).

Grade 2
Artistic Perception
1.2 Perceive and discuss differences in mood created by warm and cool colors.
1.3 Identify the elements of art in objects in nature, the environment, and works of art, emphasizing line, color, shape/form, texture, and space.

Creative Expression
2.2 Demonstrate beginning skill in the use of art media, such as oil pastels, watercolors, and tempera.

Aesthetic Valuing
4.3 Use the vocabulary of art to talk about what they wanted to do in their own works of art and how they succeeded.
4.4 Use appropriate vocabulary of art to describe the successful use of an element of art in a work of art.

National Standards for Visual Arts Education

Grades K–4

Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses.
Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.

Using knowledge of structures and functions Students describe how different expressive features and organizational principles cause different responses.
Students use visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas.

Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Students select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others Students describe how people's experiences influence the development of specific artworks.