I put a few pieces of fruit onto a blue plate and then took a photo from above. From this I cropped it on my laptop and then painted the picture on the left in oils (only small, 6" x 6"). I then had another go at the composition, cropping the photo in a different way and painted the picture again. But this time I decided I would change the blue plate and paint it red. The fruit had to be in realistic colours, but I could also play with the backgrounds, using a bright orange to compliment the blue plate and blue background to show off the red plate.
So here's the painting tip - You don't have to paint what is there! You are the artist and you have the ability to play around with the scene in front of you. Change things! Improve things! Paint them in any way you like! But, most of all have fun!