This is my first oil painting.
I painted it "from life" as they say, which means that I arranged actual objects (including the red cloth background) as you see them here, and then painted them. I like painting from life although I paint from photographs as well. Anyway, it took me longer to arrange the objects than it did to paint them.
First I had to choose which things I wanted in the scene and then I had to get them all in their places - it's not just a random grouping of stuff. Once I got them more or less where I wanted them, I then had to tinker with them, to make them play nice with each other. The angle of the pencils, for example, needed to be what they are in order for them to add to and not take away from the eyeglasses on the other side. Notice how one pencil points in the direction of the 'duck' beak - that was deliberate too.
The thing about composing a painting (or a photograph - same principles apply) is that what is pleasing to me may not be pleasing to you and vice-versa. I like the way these objects are arranged, which is why I painted them. Maybe you do too. That would be nice.