The following quote by by Edgar Payne is worth noting, "Beginners often make the mistake of selecting views that would tax the ability of the more experienced artists. The experienced painter may be able to handle very complicated views. However, if there be commandments to the beginners, the first one should be that he select the simple arrangements. It takes very little of the view to make an extremely large picture. Large simple masses are convincing; they have distinct attraction and immediately call attention to the picture. Much study, practice and fine pictorial compositions can be gained from a few masses, values, lines, and color. For instance, in marine painting, it is surprising how a large rock, a cliff, and perhaps a small glimpse of sea, can make an imposing canvas. A large wave, few smaller ones, with possibly a rock or two, and a bit of land is also enough to create a fine painting." - Edgar Payne
Art instruction books can be highly beneficial. However, the only problem is that the majority of them are not written for beginners (even though they say they are). The paintings in most books are very complicated and serve well to show off the expertise of the author, but it often makes it very difficult for the beginner artist to follow along.
If you're new to painting, why not sign up for art classes with me in Roswell, GA. I'd be happy to teach you everything from the basics to more advanced painting skills.
I teach drawing, design, composition, color theory and painting techniques within the mediums of acrylic, oil, drawing, and watercolor.