Tonight I am going to illustrate how you might fix some design flaws in a painting. I am photoshopping some photos to remove the problems that I see in them. I would handle these problems the same way if they were paintings. Below is a shot looking at Mt. Washington from the Saco river, a location painted by the Hudson River school painters in the 1860's.
In the version below I have removed the big white pine that looked way out of scale and drew too much attention to itself. I want to make a picture out of the mountain and the river, the white pine is so assertive IT becomes the paintings subject. I often tell myself, "when in doubt, take it out". The shoreline at the lower left formed an unpleasantly vertical and geometric looking line so I rearranged that too. I also threw a few little spots of water out into the middle ground to indicate that the river runs up through there. That also leads the eye into the painting and out to the mountain.
Below is a shot I took yesterday up in Jefforsonville, Vermont. It looked to me like a Metcalf. It did have a problem that I needed to deal with. The two fence posts in the foreground kept you from getting into the painting. So I removed them.
I also removed some sticks that I felt were too assertive and distracting over in the left foreground. They seemed to clutter that area and draw attention, keeping the viewer out of the area to which I wanted them to go, the group of trees in the middle of the scene.
My last example is this scene up in the White Mountains with a cloud that is unfortunately placed so as to continue the line of the mountain. There is an unintentional and mechanical looking correspondence between the two.
Here I have taken out the offending cloud out and the problem is gone.
The thing I want to illustrate to you tonight is how often removing an offending element can fix a problem composition. None of these pictures worked quite right "off the rack" but with a problem removed, they do. The willingness and the ability to edit a scene before you in nature, rather than just copying it, makes the difference between a scene that works and one that doesn't.
What this does is vastly increase the number of paintable scenes in nature. If you can fix the problems in a painting you don't need to drive around endlessly hunting for a PERFECT VIEW. You will begin to say to yourself, "well if I take out the............ I can make that work"