A little while ago I was looking through my old sketchbooks. There I found an interesting note, "A great painting has a secret. A secret the viewer wants to know." That one line struck me as the most important thing. Just painting what you see is boring (to me). Find what drives you to paint and paint that concept. Leave space in that painting for the viewer to exist in his/her imagaination.
Here is the scene as I saw it up on top of the airport mesa in Sedona. I painted it each sunrise when I was there. The coyotes would howl and the rabbits would zig zag through the grasses. It was moister than usual in the desert since we had rain that week.The stillness was sweet.
A question to ask yourself each and every time you paint....why do I need to paint this? What is it saying to me?