As I mentioned in December of last year, I've actually done a watercolor painting for the first time in about 30 years. I made it a followup, or I guess I could say the next version, of the one about the exuberant tree foliage as shown in the December post. This new one is a failure as a picture but I learned a great deal from it; while I was doing it, I constantly told myself "It doesn't have to be realistic! Stop trying to remember what the scene looked like in reality and just express (as in Expressionism) the spirit of the scene."
So I did that, kind of. Mostly. The parts that I don't like, that caused the finished picture to be a failure as an image, were down to my attempts to make it "realistic." The parts where I stylized, invented, and allowed imagination to overpower memory, are the ones I learned from. So I'm not showing it here because it's too ugly, but I feel vindicated and content that I'm breaking out of the straitjacket of reproducing literal reality and jumping into actual Expressionism.
A few years ago I went to a Matisse retrospective and saw the sketches he made for the Large Reclining Nude:
Poster of Large Reclining Nude by Henri Matisse; you can buy a poster of it on Etsy. (As well as lots of other places, no doubt.) I was struck by the note (in the museum show) that said Matisse did 20 sketches for it until he finally got what he wanted. As I've mentioned before, simplicity isn't simple. Acheiving it requires work and discipline. So I have the next version of the trees and lake planned in my head, and I'll incorporate what I've learned. Plus I'll make every effort to move even further into freely stylized and expressive work.