Here is what not to do (or "what I learned while trying to paint a pair of wigeons in watercolor this weekend"):
1. Pay attention to what paper you picked out -- I just grabbed a sheet from my pile of watercolor papers, assuming that it was, like 95% of them, cold-pressed. It was not. It was rough-pressed. Which I realized about halfway through the painting. This messed up the log, especially in the shadows.
2. Don't work from bad photos! The photo I took of the wigeons had a great pose, but poor lighting, as it was overexposed. I tried to compensate for this by looking at other, non-overexposed photos, but could still not get the colors/shadows right.
3. Less is more -- don't overwork it.
It does have its good points -- overall, I like how the heads turned out.
I'm now thinking that watercolor may work best (at least for me) in field/urban sketching, while acrylics may work better for more finished paintings done in my studio. We shall see -- the Year of Art is a work-in-progress!