My own feelings on this are that this is how nature is, how things are formed….and what we are attracted to is in our nature…therefore artists with an eye for what ‘works’ or looks good, balanced, pleasing, … would instinctively use this rule without thinking about it, measuring it out or anything as contrived as that. And rules are there to be broken anyway….. 😉
image below, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa illustrating the rule: source: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/the-golden-ratio
There is lots of information and a good explantion here: http://emptyeasel.com/2009/01/20/a-guide-to-the-golden-ratio-aka-golden-section-or-golden-mean-for-artists/
‘Rule of thirds’ in Landscape painting:
The horizon is usually best a third of the way up or down a landscape painting. Key features also work best a third of the way across from each side.
I tried this on my last painting. (I am not too good on the paint app…) but, roughly:
I think the moon is in the right place! and the top of the mound. I could have made the field in front larger and moved the hedge up to the next line…
So, I cropped the bottom and tried again:
This brings the second hedge up to the line, the top of the mound is correct and the moon also. And yet, if I am honest, I prefer it as it was…. although maybe this is because my memory of that view is there and the exercise was to describe what was there; but it was an interesting exercise.