Which of the above images do you find more appealing? The idea for the painting on the left sprang from the existing building shown on the right. Had I painted the building just as it is, the painting would have been dreadful - gray, drab, and uninteresting. Since I have no desire to paint in a realistic style I am free to interpret and create a scene of my choosing based on the bones of an existing place.
I happen to love old mill buildings, particulary old feed mills like Manning Milling. I remember their hayday when the air inside was filled with the smell of feed. Farmers would be there selling and off-loading their "small grain", folks would be buying feed and salt blocks for their livestock, the parking lot would be filled with trucks and colorful metal signage was everywhere advertising all manner of products to make one's life on the farm (or in the city) more fulfilling - that is the scene painted on the left. These old buildings were once bustling with activity. My intentions with the painting were not to show reality, but to describe my feelings for the place. I create my own reality where I manipulate the composition of the elements, the values and the colors to communicate a feeling - I am not trying to communicate the reality of what currently exists. Remember you are an artist who has the tools to create something grand. Learn how to communicate more than mere reality. Go beyond painting what you see - paint what you feel.
Above is the same building from the opposite end and the corresponding painting. Why settle for reality? Go beyond painting what you see.