A* IGCSE Art and Design: Still Life and Paper Cranes

Last Updated on April 2, 2023

This coursework project was completed by Agnes Fung while studying CIE IGCSE Art and Design at Harrow International School, Hong Kong. Agnes gained an A* Grade (97%), focusing upon Painting and Related Media (June 2014).

This project is by a high achieving student in Harrow International School’s first cohort of IGCSE. Strengths of the submission include a high level of skill in recording and observation, sincere personal reflections and evaluation as evidenced by the written notes and a great use of a variety of materials, media and process in the submission as Agnes developed towards her final piece. This work was completed over Year 10 and the first term of Year 11 and comprised of 4 x A2 sheets (8 sides) of supporting work plus a final piece.

CIE IGCSE Art and Design
This image shows the first three A2 sides of preparatory work: still life drawings and paintings exploring the theme ‘Stories, treasures and memories’.

In first preparatory sheet above, students were introduced to observational drawing to strengthen core skills and explore a range of media including pen/fine liner on a washed ground, charcoal and white acrylic and oil painting. The notes here mainly focus on the formal evaluation of these pieces. Agnes supported observational class work with photos to further develop these studies in her own time.

In the second A2 sheet, students focussed on the importance of tone. A white pencil on black paper is an excellent way to create a sketch that has impact and provides students with the challenge of applying tone in the opposite way to how they usually they would. Photography is also used to explore simple still life compositions with the use of drapery as a background. It was great to see Agnes use these skills in the later stages of her work as well.

The third page concludes the first term of work based on traditional observational work with more exploration of dry media and a more developed A3 acrylic painting. There is a lot of work behind the scenes of this page, in which Agnes developed this balanced composition through photography.

Jim Dine art project
The fourth and fifth IGCSE coursework preparatory pages

In this section of the project students explored the work of Jim Dine and after completing copies and research of his work produced their own response pieces based on personal objects. The A3 response piece of the bunny clock was completed in a formal assessment and was supported with earlier composition sketches.

Wayne Thiebaud analysis of work
An IGCSE coursework preparatory page analysing the work of Wayne Thiebaud

Students were given a choice of artists to look at for this page and again imitated their work and then completed a response piece. Agnes chose Wayne Thiebaud and his use of thick paint and rich colour provided a great contrast to the previous work of Jim Dine.

IGCSE final piece - paper cranes
The final sequence of IGCSE coursework preparatory pages and the final piece.

In this final part of the submission students were able to develop a more personal focus as they worked towards their final piece. Agnes created a unique focus on origami forms and the significance and symbolism of these. Agnes also successfully combined objects and skills from much earlier in the submission to bring a strong sense of cohesion and purpose to her whole submission. Agnes continued to push her media experiments working on prepared grounds of watercolour washes and spray paint splatters. Agnes completed a great final piece that had elements of traditional still life symbolism and cultural and contemporary objects.

This unit of work was inspired by a teaching programme by Amiria Robinson and adapted to suit the students as it progressed. You can see another IGCSE coursework completed following a different version of this programme here.

Agnes was taught by Nicky Cases and Rodney Stratton. Rodney is the Head of Department at Harrow International School, Hong Kong, and is available for online tutoring.


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