Visual Arts (Painting) - annotated exemplars level 2 AS91311

Use drawing methods to apply knowledge of conventions appropriate to painting (2.2)

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TKI Visual Arts Assessment Resources

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This annotated exemplar is intended for teacher use only. The student work shown does not always represent a complete sample of what is required. Selected extracts are used, focused on the grade boundaries, in order to assist assessors to make judgements at the national standard.

Low Excellence

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 1 (PDF, 16MB)

For Excellence, the student needs to use drawing methods to apply in-depth knowledge of conventions appropriate to painting.

This involves critically selecting and using particular processes, procedures, materials, techniques and pictorial conventions according to an intended purpose when making artworks.

This student has demonstrated in-depth knowledge of technical, pictorial and symbolic conventions associated with vanitas still life painting. The final outcome (3) incorporates the traditional symbols of the skull (death), books (knowledge) and glasses (fragility). The use of dull colours, dark neutral background, and dramatic light are also consistent with traditional established practice for this genre.

The consistently high level of drawing accuracy (1) in terms of tone, proportion, and perspective show a depth of knowledge of these drawing conventions.

The annotations (2) show that the student has consciously applied particular vanitas conventions.

For a more secure Excellence, the student could move beyond the emulation application of traditional practice to explore more personal or contemporary outcomes. For example, the headphone and New Zealand currency in the planning drawing (1) provide opportunity for a more innovative twist on the theme. Integrating these innovative pictorial elements would also reinforce the critical selection required for Excellence.

The student could also take greater care in the wet media rendering of particular areas. The generalised surface of the final skull (3) could be improved with more careful consideration of anatomical imperfections and blemishes.

High Merit

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 2 (PDF, 15MB)

For Merit, the student needs to use drawing methods to apply specific knowledge of conventions appropriate to painting.

This involves selecting and using particular processes, procedures, materials, techniques and pictorial conventions according to an intended purpose when making artworks.

This student has demonstrated confident use of specific pictorial and symbolic conventions in the last two images (5) (6). In these works the traditional human skull of vanitas painting, symbolising the temporary nature of personal existence, has been replaced with a goat skull. This shows the student using traditional symbolic conventions to communicate a contemporary conservation message.

Both of these images also include large areas of negative space. This degree of compositional restraint reveals a sophisticated understanding of the juxtaposition of active and passive areas of the picture plane.

To reach Excellence, the student could demonstrate more consistent and considered use of painting materials and techniques. For example the raw paint application in the works at the top of the second page (3) (4) should be more refined. Moving beyond the stock colours in these images would also show the critical selection needed for Excellence. 

The level of drawing accuracy, particular in some of the earlier works (1) (2) would also need to be improved for Excellence. Drawing accuracy is not in itself a requirement of the standard, but is critical in terms of the vanitas convention being explored by the student.

Low Merit

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 3 (PDF, 14MB)

For Merit, the student needs to use drawing methods to apply specific knowledge of conventions appropriate to painting.

This involves selecting and using particular processes, procedures, materials, techniques and pictorial conventions according to an intended purpose when making artworks.

This student has generated a sustained series of drawings (2) that identify and apply a range of vanitas compositional conventions. Specific conventions include the selection of objects to create meaning, such as the pocket watch to represent passing time (1), and the juxtaposition of objects to create tension as in the precarious balance of a book and bone (3).

The final paintings show knowledge and application of specific vanitas conventions including a dark background to create spatial depth and mystery (5), a strong side light to create three dimensional form and drama (6) and the layering of paint to create visual interest (4). 

For a more secure Merit, the student could show more careful recording of specific details. For example the simplified final skull (7) does not reveal the same degree of drawing accuracy exhibited in the previous versions.

The student could also further explore the compositional nuance shown in earlier drawings such as the book and bone composition (3). Particularly in the latter outcome, that defaults to the stock vanitas convention of skull and book (6). The specific colour conventions in this work could be strengthened by including subtle hints of alternate colours beyond the generic red, white and black.

High Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 4 (PDF, 14MB)

For Achieved, the student needs to use drawing methods to apply knowledge of conventions appropriate to painting.

This involves using processes, procedures, materials, techniques and pictorial conventions when making artworks.

This student has explored a range of pictorial conventions, including a high viewpoint to create a flattened picture plane (2), a low viewpoint to emphasis the horizontal (1) and creating visual tension by placing objects close to the edge of the table (3).

The use of the hourglass and skull in the final outcome (5) clearly applies the traditional vanitas symbolism referring to the temporary nature of existence. The student has further developed this symbolic narrative by including two bubbles.

To reach Merit, the student could make more appropriate selection of painting techniques and more carefully record the visual elements. The drawing and surface quality of the final skull (5) could be more refined. For example, the student could use layering to create visual interest and differentiate between the surface textures of the skull, table and wall.

The student would also need to show greater understanding of how shadows are depicted. For example, the hour glass (5) is shown without a shadow, while the wine glass above (4) casts an impossible shadow. For Merit the student would need to resolve these errors, as well as other perspective inconsistencies.

Low Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 5 (PDF, 13MB)

For Achieved, the student needs to use drawing methods to apply knowledge of conventions appropriate to painting.

This involves using processes, procedures, materials, techniques and pictorial conventions when making artworks.

This student has applied some basic still life conventions including a shallow picture space (3), diagonal leading lines (4), and objects cropped by the edge of the picture frame (5). 

The student also creates plausible spatial relationships using perspective, a consistent light source, and shadows (2).

The skull (1), wine glass, bottle and lantern (2) all relate to traditional vanitas symbolism for the temporary nature of life. The final painting (7) also uses the muted dull colouring consistent with traditional vanitas painting.

For a more secure Achieved, the student could apply the more accurate observational quality of earlier drawings (1) to the later paintings (6). Where the student uses established conventions such as perspective on books (3) they need to ensure that these are correctly applied.

The student would also need to show greater consideration of painting processes, procedures, materials and techniques. The later paintings (6) (7) would benefit from the application of vanitas technical conventions such as glazing, scumbling, and dry brushing. Creating different surface effects for different objects demonstrates the knowledge of painting conventions needed for a secure Achieved.

High Not Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 6 (PDF, 6.7MB)

For Achieved, the student needs to use drawing methods to apply knowledge of conventions appropriate to painting.

This involves using processes, procedures, materials, techniques and pictorial conventions when making artworks.

This student has shown some knowledge of vanitas conventions in terms of the choice and arrangement of objects. The skull and candle (1) symbolise the temporary nature of life, while the neutral background focus attention on the foreground imagery. 

The green skull (3) is clearly the most successful work in terms of drawing accuracy and painting technique. This work also presents the most convincing tonal understanding, with the cast shadow and skull highlights conveying a consistent light source from the left.

To reach Achieved, the student could ensure that the knowledge demonstrated in the green skull (3) is incorporated into the other outcomes. For example, the candle and hourglass (2) float without a horizontal surface, and neither cast shadows to indicate their position in three-dimensional space.

The six works are limited in terms of being sufficient for this four credit standard.  It is possible that a more sustained exploration of the still life conventions would enable the final outcome (4) to more convincingly resolve issues of perspective and placement.

 
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