Cross-study Specifications


For the purposes of this study the following specifications apply. Specific details of the scope of each specification are provided in the unit overviews and in the introduction to the relevant areas of study.

Studio practice

Studio practice has a range of characteristics that vary, dependent on the time, period and culture in which the artist is working. Artists explore individual ideas, subject matter and conceptual possibilities based on artistic influences and inspiration and may draw on particular styles from different periods of time and cultures. They experiment with materials, techniques, processes and art forms, including photography, digital imaging, textiles, painting, installation, printmaking, drawing, film, video, sculpture, mixed media, ceramics, sound, animation, performance and interdisciplinary practices.

Studio process

In their studio practice, artists create artworks using a studio process. For the purpose of this study the studio process consists of five key stages: explore, develop, refine, resolve and present. At each stage of the studio process the student uses creative and critical thinking to document and reflect on the studio process. The studio process is supported through the development and use of:

  • an exploration proposal
  • a work plan
  • a visual diary
  • art forms
  • potential directions
  • presentation of final artwork/s.

The exploration proposal is a written and visual document that explains the student’s ideas about how they will develop and explore conceptual possibilities, sources of inspiration, artistic influences, art forms, materials, techniques and processes, art elements, art principles, aesthetic qualities and subject matter.

The work plan is a weekly outline that demonstrates how the student will progress through the studio process to clearly communicate the intentions of the exploration proposal.

The visual diary is an organised collection of written and visual annotations that provide insights about the student’s studio practice through the studio process. Annotations and visual information contained in the visual diary can be presented digitally or in a book. Written and visual material can include annotations, mind maps, images, drawings, sketches, evaluations, photographs, screen captures or scans. Evidence of the student’s studio practice is progressively documented in the visual diary and should aim to explain and evaluate the exploratory work in reference to the ideas presented in the exploration proposal.

The exploration of art forms may include digital imaging, painting, drawing, printmaking, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics, photography, textiles, installation, video, film, sound, animation, performance and interdisciplinary practices.

In the studio process the artist produces potential directions that should aim to effectively communicate resolved conceptual possibilities, subject matter, aesthetic qualities, materials and techniques as documented in the exploration proposal. Potential directions are used as the basis for developing artworks.

When presenting final artworks students demonstrate a refined application of materials and techniques that resolve and communicate the student’s ideas.

Investigating studio practices

Investigating studio practices supports the development of the student’s own practice. Research offers students a model for inquiry that informs their own art making practices. The research focuses on the visual analysis of subject matter in artworks and investigates how artists have interpreted sources of inspiration and influences in art making. It requires students to examine how artists have used materials, techniques and processes to communicate ideas. Students investigate how artists have been influenced by historical and cultural contexts to develop artworks.

The historical context refers to the time and place in which the artist created the artwork.

The cultural context refers to the artistic, environmental, economic, social, technological, political or religious climate of the time that may have influenced the artist.

Visual language

Visual language is an integral component of studio practice and refers to communication of ideas through experiences, images and objects. Artists use visual language to communicate the exploration, development and resolution of artworks. They experiment with, and develop and refine, materials, techniques and processes and to communicate their intention. When creating and producing contemporary artworks, the artist relies on historical understanding of specific styles, representations and imagery. Ideas, beliefs, values and concepts are communicated through the context, placement and juxtaposition of objects, styles and representations.

Aesthetic qualities, art elements and art principles

In their studio process artists use art elements and art principles to explore and express their ideas and to create aesthetic qualities. Aesthetic qualities can be perceived differently by different viewers, dependent on their individual experience, the style of the artwork and the physical or cultural context in which the artwork is created and viewed.

The use of art elements and art principles in artworks to create aesthetic qualities can vary, depending on the art form, but generally include:

  • art elements – line, colour, texture, tone, form, shape, sound, time and light
  • art principles – emphasis (focal point), movement, rhythm, unity, variety, space, repetition (pattern), balance, contrast, proportion, space and scale.

Artists use and consider art elements and art principles to create aesthetic qualities when they explore, develop, refine, resolve and present artworks. The way in which the audience perceives aesthetic qualities can be different from the intentions of the artist and therefore the meaning of the artwork is open to different interpretations by viewers.