After the first underpainting had dried I kept building up the image with thin body colour to introduce the basic colour structure. During this process I was able to paint out figures and introduce others fairly easily as the canvas was not clogged up with too much paint and it was still a matt surface which still allowed subsequent pencil drawing to “take”.
Too much committment at this stage in a painting is fatal for me. I need to keep all options open, in order to respond to the work as it develops.
I had real trouble with all the figures I tried in the left of the painting. Some didn’t work because the drawing was bad but all of them distracted from the main thrust of the composition which was the grouping from the statue towards the right..