The background is the lid of a wooden box which I had much earlier spray-painted black. The angelic face showing through the center was a inkjet copy (yes, I keep a copier in my studio at all times) which I then roughed up with sandpaper. This face is actually the uppermost part of the cherubic body that appears more clearly in the right side of the work. Interestingly the image portrays a young female, but the model is actually a boy. The simple finish to the piece was the addition of a sanded metal chess board from one of those magnetic travel games, a #5 cut out from an old Ritz cracker tin, and a torn and distressed old photo on the left hand side.
Cupid #5 is a perfect example of how a piece can be an effective composition with a sense of mystery with only a few components, sometimes as few as 3 or 5 . In teaching, I often find that when students gather the pieces they are attracted to, they want to include them all in one piece. Knowing when to stop is a key skill, one that I feel is intuitive. The artist needs to listen to the Muse that says "enough", while the artist is thinking "oh, just a few more things". Eventually this listening becomes second nature, and the artist instantly knows it is done and puts it away. Similarly, the artist knows when it isn't done, and waits for the perfect ending, usually just one little piece that will appear eventually.
In my studio, this "knowing" takes the form of a piece either being placed far out of the way, perhaps high up on the studio walls, when I know it is done....or it stays on my "working" wall while it waits for the finishing touch.
(Photo: Cupid #5, Copyright 2008 by Diane Lou. 5 x 7" . Photo by Nils Lou)