One easy way to make something more abstract is to change the color scheme (and then simplify)(at least, that's the way I understand the process).
I started thinking this would be brown fabric with blue stitching again, but that dusty purple just called out to me, so I stitched the river (from the back) using perle cotton through the bobbin. The colors in the edges of the river still have a speaking relationship with the real world. I think for the next one I might go whole-hog otherworldly. There are some colors sitting in my room that I don't get to use often enough in landscapes.
Or, I might have to incorporate those colors in more of the landscape work I'm doing.