I'll continue to use the figure (or figuration) to construct a framework or structure for the picture. After the structure is in place, then it is time to destroy it. This is extremely hard on the ego but is the only way that I have found that I can start to go beyond the image. I can destroy the image by adding another element, then taking it away. This forever changes the painting in unforeseen ways. Another way is to literally scrap out or erase parts of the image that look too precious, parts that you think look good. Then hopefully, the painting surprises you and you get caught in that moment (which is probably what Guston talks about his 20 minutes) where everything fits into place, there's nothing arbitrary happening. On the other side of that, is time to pause, or stop if you can no longer find a reason to re-engage with the painting.
It's those 20 minutes when I'm painting that I love and dream about when I'm away from my easel.