“I’ve always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have the light joyousness of springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labours it has cost me.” (Henri Matisse)
I seem to be scraping a lot of paint lately, which is a good thing.
Realizing my mistakes, adjusting to meet my vision and not settling for "okay" pushes me to find solutions and really think about what I'm putting down in paint. Yes, the painting I'm working on looked superficially good, but inside I know I can do much better, so I push myself even when I don't want to redo something. And I'm always glad that I spend the extra work time rather than settling for a mediocre piece that could have a detrimental effect to my reputation if let loose on the world.
This image is a crop of the block in of a painting of a drying cod that I'm working on. The initial stages were fine, then I overworked it. Scraping back the paint, all except the top couple of inches - and in palette knife painting this is a big sacrifice of paint - provides me with a gift in return. The removal of the paint leaves stains of diluted colour in exposed canvas as well as shapes in the background and shows me that I should change my palette to a higher key to harmonize the piece more effectively.
Taking a leap of faith and reworking as needed is a big part of the painting process for every artist. Revealing the underbelly of a painting is necessary sometimes, to reach the vision that only the artist can see.
Read some words of advice on reworking paintings by Robert Genn in The Painter's Keys.