Window surface referencing

GDK does
window->current_paint.surface = gdk_window_ref_impl_surface (window);
before every paint for windows that don't need offscreen surfaces, and then
cairo_surface_destroy (window->current_paint.surface);
window->current_paint.surface = NULL;
after the paint, which leads to surface being created and destroyed repeatedly.

AFAIU, the assumption is that the underlying drawing thingy persists along
with the window, only a cairo interface (surface) to that thingy gets

Question is: can i instead create a cairo surface and have it persist (say,
by getting an extra reference to it) between repaints? Does GDK rely on
surface not living for long?

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