It has been said, debated often that rules are made to be broken...however, good work to hold its water with issues pertaining to design and composition yet would mandate that one knows what rules are broken and for what intended purpose.
to approach painting haphazardly with the "anything goes..." anthem, and then tout one's right to break rules as though the work should then earn reconsideration of worthiness is not really thinking thru the "rules are made to be broken" comment rationally.
Yes...rules can be broken...but it should be done intentionally, knowledgably with artistic license; a license that will unquestionably validate its holder simply by looking at the finished work.
I created rules years ago for drawing the face. It was based upon readings I did of DaVinci's cadavier studies. The rules said things like, "the length of the eye equals the distance between the eyes, equals the width of the nostrils. The distance from pupil to pupil equals the length of the ear, the length of the relaxed closed mouth, the length of the nose and the distance from the mid mouth to bottom of chin"...and so forth. There were more rules.
My son is a well known internationally recognized caricature artist, doing work for Time magazine, Wall Street, being looked at by Mad comics, and many various enterprizes. Years ago I gave those rules to him...and they became a foundation for him to see where and what the unique features were to each individual. Knowing those rules intimately made the unique features of the person to be drawn instantly known, and gave him a strategy for what he would exaggerate and play with.
The rules led to his knowingly and intentionally stretching or breaking of them.
There are many rules and many approaches to landscape painting and I see many new painters here by their own admission "new" or a beginner.
The growth is ever ongoing...and after 30 years of painting nature and landscapes I yet push myself.
This past weekend I took the advice of Emille Gruppe to use red undertones to build up an underpainting prior to painting the greens of nature, and my son Jason and I went plein air painting.
We were discussing on route to our destination how subtle all the greens of nature are, most showing a hint of red or orange which somewhat neutralizes and controls the green, and how Gruppe was smart with his advice to his students.
For many years I've painted on the fly, weaving the hints of color I saw, bringing color under control with complements and so forth...but for fun I painted the following image using Gruppe's suggestion. Even so...I chose to augment his rule. I broke the reds down into three groupings of dark (using a bit of viridian to deepen the red without changing it), a mid red value, and then a light red (using Naples Yellow and white to avoid a pink).
I underpainted with turps the values of the tree masses in foreground and background using these various reds...and did so taking Gruppe's rule to heart and YET augmenting his rule to use for the benefit I decided would work best for myself.
Here is that painting...an 8"x 8" oil....done in about 1-1/2 hours...
Note the red coming thru in transparent passages and where I let it come thru in full. Note the harmony and warmth it gives naturally to the work.
I really enjoyed this...and understanding rules helps certainly. Breaking the rules helps even more when you come to understand your OWN WAY of working, and why your instincts lead you to adjust the rules for the sake of convenience.