I took a great class with wonderful plein air painter Coni Grant the other day at the Art Center and Gallery in Estes Park. She has a great approach to designing a painting. She always does a sketch (something I usually try to do, but sometimes I get anxious to just paint) and focuses on strong design elements that support the center of interest. Then, when painting, she relies on that sketch and doesn't stray from it. As she says, "have a story and stick to it!" Great advice! She also uses bold color and a really strong underpainting. Here's what I came up with.