Such a hard lesson to learn and we hear it all the time. Simplify. What are you trying to say? Do you really need that tree or that branch? Does it add to my design or is it distracting? We all know less is more. A painting is much more interesting if you don't give out all the information, you must give the viewer some credit. He knows it's a tree, he doesn't need to see every branch. There is more mystery in not defining every object, more imagination and creativity for you and more engaging for the viewer.
It’s impossible for an artist to paint every twig or pebble; those details are best left for the photographer. We must figure out how to best show it with shapes and patterns, using brush strokes, design and mood.
I really liked the way this painting was turning out but did I really need that background? Was it important for my overall message? If I needed it to look like Athabasca Falls, then maybe, but I had already changed the rocks so it really didn't matter. And no, it wasn't important. I took a photo, went to my computer and Photoshopped the background out. Yes I liked it much better. So, a few swipes with my large palette knife and it was gone. A simplified adjustment.
From a distance this painting looks very detailed and representational, but up close you can see from the strokes that it is implied detailing with abstract designs. 'The calming Force', acrylic 24 x 36 inches