Re: newbie struggling with composition.
I used to have problems with the composition and I am not experienced in paintings but I was ten years professional photographer. In photography composition is essential but I had the help of the good lenses that blurred the background but I still had to work on the composition.
Before you paint try to take a picture of the subject and see if you can compose better with a camera. Choose your subject and frame that subject and after that paint it, from life or from that picture.