With encouragement from Linda, and a desire to see this image to some satisfying landing place, I continued much of today. First I had to consider what needed to go from the version (above) which I posted a few days ago. My dissatisfaction with the brown bird was first, and he was the first thing painted out. Then I had to acknowledge that I did not like the shapes, the colors, or the movement in the lower part of the painting - particularly the lower left.
So I ended up painting out large portions, and then redrawing them. I actually went further with the bird than this, which is still wrong and too flat. I had wanted a quiet painting, with someone at the door. Instead the person left, and that made it quiet enough that I wanted the bird to be singing in flight. I also realized the houses were more than incidental, and they need to occupy more of the painting, resolving many of my issues with the trees.
So here is the final version. The bird is actually much redder (deep orange, actually) on his breast and the lower wing - not sure why the red and orange in the rest of the painting is fine, but the bird looks so faded in this photo. He really pops out of the original. I allowed more light and orange into the left and lower portions of the painting, and that has made a big difference.
I'll still live with it a while, and I may change a few minor things before I take it off the board, but it's mostly finished.
This resolves most of the issues. And, more importantly, I found some of the vocabulary I'm looking for. I'm on my way.
I'm really looking forward to what painting is like in 2009.