Back in my old graphic design days we used to do "rough layouts". Those layouts were not meant to be finished...they served mostly for loosening up and "random thinking". More than one of my recent workshop teachers expressed the thought that "rough layouts" are valid for oil painters too. The major difference is that there is no commercial ad involved... (and you're to use paint instead of pens), but good design applies to both communication art and fine art.
To paint the "rough layouts" I sectioned off an old (failed) canvas with drafting tape and set up my Yarka easel in the front room. I made-up the compositions and timed myself (a total of 60 minutes). I managed to do 4, next time I'll try to work faster. It was invigorating to work fast.
The other day I was asked (by someone who doesn't paint) "why are you taking classes?"....(hadn't I already learned whatever it is that I need to know to proceed?) In my view the answer to that can be found in this quote from Pete Seeger (just change the word musician to artist):
(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Sectioned off rough layouts, oil on 16x20 canvas panel
(Seeger always gets the audience to sing with him):