Re: 'Road to Zion'..two final compositions compared
There's something unsettling about the first one with nothing on the right. And not the good unsettling.
I think it may have something to do with the fact that we read a painting, naturally, from left to right before we begin to explore it in more detail. It's a split second natural reaction but it has a big bearing on our overall opinion of the image.
You read the first one and when your eye reaches its destination on the right of the picture, there's nothing there to end on and nowhere for your eye to go. In the second one, you end on the tree, and it has an advantage in that the trunk actually draws your eye upwards towards the hillside in the distance. Your eye is then drawn up around the top of the mountains and back down diagonally to the starting point. Then repeat.
It's actually a really good composition if you think about it, with the tree. It provides a natural path for your eye to follow, yet it isn't 'obvious' that is where your attention should be, it's just where it goes.