I'm getting so much out of Elizabeth Barton's online workshop at 'QuiltUniversity'. Apart from the copious detailed notes, exercises and examples, the discussion forum is thought provoking - its interesting to see what influences other have and the ideas they come up with. In a 'real' workshop, you're so intent on your own work you don't tend to notice what other participants are up to!
I've currently got lots of tracings of potential compositions up on my design wall - I love this technique for simplification, I get so caught up in the detail and particularly the colour in my photos and watercolours ( nothing new there -I've always skimped on the drawing phase and launched straight into painting!). If something works with just line then it can only improve once tone and colour are brought into play.
One of the exercises was to look back at previous work and see if there are themes. I already had it in mind to develop a series on boats ( from all my 'Boat Friday' walks along the Thames) and I had made a quilt over 10 years ago based on a watercolour at Pinmill.I also found boats had crept into other pieces of work like 'Serifos Storm' and 'Gythion Glow' (above)
Another exercise, looking at series of artists you admire, sent me looking through the book on Barbara Rae that I received as a Xmas present. Look - wonderful abstracted boats!! I had tried to give a link to Barbara's website on the discussion forum but the site was down. I found out why - she's just published a book on her sketchbooks and you can look through the whole thing here. Fabulous! I'm itching to go to the RA Summer Exhibition to see some of her work in the flesh again ( and buy that book!)