"An amateur artist hesitates to erase for fear he may do worse next time, but the professional shows his mastery by the ruthlessness of his sacrifices… He suddenly puts opera glasses to our eyes, pulling us into the void… We now live inside the vision, oblivious to the calculations that went into its making… oblivious even to the paper and the ink.” (Mayor, Prints & People 489)
Above: Rembrandt's "Three Crosses" States IV & V. Notice the radical transformations from one State to the next. This is an etching so in order to make any of these changes the etched lines must be laboriously burnished out and etched again. This is a form of erasure that takes serious commitment.
For more thoughts on images development and changing an image over time see:
Picasso & The Changing Image + Goya & The Changing Image