• David Denton

Using Free Association to Plan a Painting



In this video I look in detail at how to use free association to plan a painting. The Surrealists also used free association in their work. I've developed my own way of using this process and I've used it in The Seven Gates series and my new series, Guardians:




The basis of my technique is the writing of lists of words. For my new painting I started with the word "freedom". I put this word in my mind and then allowed myself to jump from word to word, writing them down as I went. I don't think about the painting at this stage, I just let my mind wander. After writing one list, I look for words that jump out at me. I repeat the process with these words. Then I look for more interesting words in these lists and repeat the process again.

It can take me a few hours to do this but it is also an ongoing process. If while I'm drawing the plan for the painting and I want to refine or change an area, I go back to writing lists again.

Using free association to plan my paintings in this way has produced images that I wouldn't have come up with normally. It's a good way of getting rid of Artist's block too!

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