Jumping Genre Sports Scenes

Jumping Genre Sports Scenes lesson plan

Introduce Genre painting with the work of post-Expressionist George Bellows then create a dramatic original painting of a sports figure in motion.

  • 1.

    George Bellows grew up in Ohio. During his senior year of college, he left Ohio State University to study painting in New York with Robert Henri, who was a Post-expressionist, and a member of the Ash Can school of art, which dealt with gutsy realism. Unlike most of his colleagues, Bellows never studied in Europe. He was interested in painting what he knew, the U.S. scene, and is probably best known for his expressive boxing paintings (see Stag at Sharkey's).

  • 2.

    Bellows painted many examples of American Genre painting (pronounced John-ra), which means scenes of everyday life. He revived lithography (a printing technique) in the United States, and his prints are as important as his paintings.

  • 3.

    To create a Genre painting, begin with your favorite sport, and select a figure to paint in motion, as Bellows did in his dramatic boxing scenes.

  • 4.

    Cover a table with recycled newspaper. On white paper, use Crayola® Tempera Paint and Paint Brushes to depict either yourself, another person, or a group of people participating in your favorite sport. Dry.

  • 5.

    Use Crayola Washable Markers to add details and to outline important areas.


  • Children research the work of U.S. Post-expressionist painter and printmaker George Bellows.
  • Children recognize the meaning of the term Genre painting and apply it in their own artistic creation.
  • Children create an original, dramatic painting of a sports figure in motion in the style of George Bellows.


  • Students who are less experienced painters or who have special needs may prefer to paint using either sports photos as examples or by first watching each other engaged in the sport and making notes or sketches about body positions and movements.
  • Genre paintings include other scenes of everyday life. Think of something that you do nearly every day, such as walking to school, or having breakfast in the morning. Create a Genre painting of this routine activity.
  • Bellows was very interested in the sport of boxing. Imagine being in a boxing match, then paint yourself in the ring.