Here's our tired old 9 by 12 again. Below I am going to show some variations on the scene.
Remember when you got your first apartment? With the Murphy bed and the mildewed harvest gold Pullman kitchen? You went to the grocery and got some stuff to eat, and maybe a highly rated, yet surprisingly affordable malt liquor you had recently seen advertised in a gentleman's magazine? After putting the groceries away you grabbed that box of Rice-a-Roni and looked at the picture on the front with swollen, hungry eyes. There was that delicious rice (and vermicelli!) and there beside it, sat a sprig of parsley and a peculiarly moist tomato wedge. You washed out a cheap aluminum saucepan from the sinkful of dirty dishes and started to read the directions, the malt liquor makes em fuzzy.
While smoking a handrolled Bugler from the can on the yellow plastic rattan nightstand, you add the two cups of water, actually the same Dixie cup twice, then emptying in the stupid little seasoning packet you discover that there is no little sprig of parsley and no tomato wedge either.
Knocking over the malt liquor onto the cat as you grab the Rice-a-Roni box to see the cover again, you see the minuscule print at the bottom of the deceptive picture, which says "serving suggestion". You put the cigarette out in the Rice-a-Roni and throw the whole show, saucepan and all into a leaking paper garbage bag under the sink.
Well, nature is like that, the scene before you is a "serving suggestion". It is up to you to make the thing interesting. You could make a dozen different treatments of the same scene. What if you decided it was about the water, it might look like this..................................
Or you might want your painting to be about the trees that are in the middle of the tableau, and maybe cast the whole thing into a color scheme based on a sullen tabby cat moistened with about a half a 16 once can of malt liquor.
That might look like this...............................
The point is, you can set your easel up and look straight down the middle and paint the usual descriptive picture, the one everybody makes, or you can bring some kind of personal treatment to it. Ask yourself not "what does it look like" but "what can I do to it?