Planning a Painting Using Free Association (Overview)

In this video, I actually start to plan my new painting. This is always a fun time for me because I'm never sure where the painting is going to go. It's a real voyage of discovery. It sometimes feels as though the painting has always existed and I've just got to find it.

I started out by using the free association process to generate some ideas for my painting. The surrealists used free association in their work and this is my take on the technique. I don't go into this process with any preconceived ideas about what the painting is going to be, I just let my mind wander. For a more detailed look at how to use free association, click here.

The general idea I use is that I come up with a few keywords for the painting. I then generate lists of words from these. Next I spot interesting words from these lists and repeat the process. It's only at the end of this list making process that I start to think about the actual painting.

I look through the lists and take words and ideas from them and manipulate and shape these into a rough plan. I fiddle about with these ideas by creating tiny thumbnail sketches and then move into Photoshop to develop these ideas further.

This is a great time to play with things and make mistakes. Not every idea will be great. In fact, some will be terrible as you'll see in the video. But this whole process helps to shape the final painting. More on the planning process next time!

For the start of this planning process: Click Here.

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