“Back Again” 6×6, oil on canvas

Is it even January if I don’t paint a cardinal or two? I can’t believe I’ve even held out this long. 

This guy started off with some seriously thick paint. You’d think I’d be great at an image I’ve painted over a hundred times, that it would be effortless by now– Au contraire! Once it dried almost completely I decided to scrape it all off. It wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t “right”, whatever that means. I don’t even use brushes any more, but I found an old watercolor brush, crusty. I cleaned it off a bit and went back to the canvas with it. Just to see. I brought back some of what I scraped off but did so more gently, slower, with less haste. Eventually I went back to the knife but only in small doses. 

“Right” isn’t something I can ever achieve or truly care about, but this version is just a little bit more right than the first. I’m glad I had the courage, and yes, for me it took genuine courage, to scrape off an entire painting and start again.