I was asked in the comments;
But WAIT!!! All the books I have on composition (14 Easy Steps to Great Composition, Composition for Dummies, Create Composition Like the Masters and Composition, It's Not Just for Breakfast)) ALL of them mention the BIG L as a GOOD thing????
I said last night that "this design is not so much "wrong" as it is pedestrian". When you look in composition books they do recommend the "L" if I wrote a composition book I would include it as well. And there's Claude Lorain and a lot of the old paintings I like, and 19th century luminist paintings used this design stem all the time. Edgar Payne ( reader, if you have not read this book, you should) shows this design in his "design stems"
F. Church, from artrenewal.org showing an "L" in its design.
My opinion on the weakness of the Dirk Van Assaerts painting is that the "L" is not designed in an attractive proportion to the size and shape of the picture plane ( that flat place where the world ends abruptly and the picture begins). There is nothing the matter with an "L" design but using it still hasn't designed the painting effectively. It is not a one size fits em all unit, that you can just plug in there. You need the right "L" not just "an L" The visual attraction of the shape of the "L" pulls the viewers eye at a controllable level. You can determine that amount. Either the "L" screams like a startled banshee, speaks proudly, stands quietly by, or shrinks to daintiness. In Dirks picture the "L" was as big as a skyscraper and totally dominated the painting. The "L" was bigger than the world in which it was placed.
It is possible to paint the world, and drop the "L" into that. on the other hand it is also possible to build the " L', and use whatever canvas remains for the world part. I know this from great experience. My experience has led me to belive that it is nearly always better to encompass the "L" within a larger world surrounding it. That world would be the dominant shape and the "L" thingy would be the negative, subordinate shape.
I have probably been both complex and confusing. I will see if I can come up with a few more Dirk Van Assaerts examples that explain the idea above.