Vibrant Still Life: AS Level Art Coursework

Last Updated on August 26, 2023

This vibrant AS Painting Coursework project was completed by the multi-talented Sarah Loh in 2003, while studying A Level Art & Design (CIE 9704) at ACG Strathallan College, Auckland, New Zealand. Sarah gained an overall grade of 93%.

AS Art coursework project - A*
Four x A1 sheets of supporting work for Sarah’s AS Art and Design Coursework project
coloured pencil drawing of objects in jars
A coloured pencil drawing
graphite drawing created for AS level Art
A graphite pencil drawing of objects in jars

Sarah began her Coursework project by producing studies of jars filled with household ‘junk’. Using a range of mediums, including graphite, coloured pencil and acrylic paint, Sarah set about investigating her topic. This haphazard collection of strangely beautiful lollies, shells and cotton reels was contained within glistening glass jars on a crowded window sill. An exploration of ‘contained chaos’, Sarah’s drawings are a perfect example of an artist finding joy in the ordinary: the messy stuff of our everyday lives.

Reflections and transparency are challenging to replicate, but Sarah handles these with ease. Glass surfaces are imbued with the colours of their surroundings, and objects within the jars are distorted and semi-obscured.

The collections of odds and ends create areas of detail and variety within the works that are balanced with areas  emptier spaces. In a number of smaller works, Sarah created detailed compositional studies and media trials. This extensive investigation and exploration of ideas is a clear strength of her Coursework project.

vibrant AS Art painting - contemporary still life
Development of a vibrant, energetic composition

Sarah developed her work with reference to New Zealand artists Sylvia Siddell and Philip Clairmont. In a similar style to these artists, the familiar domestic forms in Sarah’s artworks becomes exaggerated, distorted and fractured. Objects are reduced to elemental shapes and detail omitted. Filled with vibrant pattern and energetic colour, ordinary household objects take on a life of their own: an excitement and exuberance spilling from the page.

Throughout her Coursework project, Sarah experiments and tries new things, including adding textural items, such as gluing rope and yarn to the paintings. As is required within an AS Art and Design Coursework project, Sarah emphasises the development pf ideas and the use of processes, resulting in a a competent, original and highly creative response to a the subject matter.

…[painting] does involve derangement of the senses, and a bombardment of the senses. There’s a danger when the viewer becomes accustomed and conditioned to a particular style… You were talking about magic before. I think that paint itself is a magical substance. The act of remaking or transforming an object is magic. Paint has a life of its own if you’re tuned in to it – Philip Clairmont, Art New Zealand

a level art painting of still life
Sarah’s energetic and confidently executed A-level Art final piece: the Coursework project (AS Painting)


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