The layers of a painting are fascinating to me. As I watch them develop I spend a lot of time internally philosophizing and I can't help but draw so many (admittedly kinda cheesy) parallels between the process, and life.
Every painting goes through some shit layers. I'll put down a wrong color, or scrape something off too far, let it dry too much, not let it dry enough...a hundred different decisions that end up with something being off.
But then the trick is to keep going, try another layer - and the process is delightful because I discover that had I not used that horrible magenta, the yellow I put over it wouldn't have represented as a unique brilliant orange. Or, maybe the layer that dried too much left a texture that shows up in a new and fascinating way. These interesting elements would never exist without the shitty layers.
It's about being ok with the shitty layers, working them and allowing them to build character in the work...or in life.
Sometimes, I notice an area of a painting that's working amazingly - I'll want to protect it, and keep it as is, while working the remainder of (a sometimes very large) canvas. But in protecting it, I limit the rest of the canvas. It's better to acknowledge the thing, but not hold on too tightly to it. Be ok with it evolving into something else if needed.
Its been a said before, I know, and maybe it's super cliché... but have to remind myself that in painting and in life it's about not being too attached to the outcome. It's about embracing being constantly IN the process, and trusting whatever is next. I'm so often amazed at where it takes me.