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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whimsical Artists Manifesto, Part 1: The Whimsical Artist's Subject Matter

Whimsical Artist Scott Plaster's Cosmic Cow
Whimsical Artists Manifesto, Part 1: 
The Whimsical Artist's Subject Matter

What makes a "whimsical" artist a whimsical artist? I started terming my subjects "whimsical animals" long before I really knew what the term "whimsical" encompassed. I think many aspects about an artist's work can make it whimsical, but perhaps one of the most important is not the style, but the subject matter.

Take the first whimsical animal I painted, the Cosmic Cow. I've seen lots of paintings of cows, and not all of them are whimsical. Many whimsical artists DO paint a variety of animals and other wildlife. What makes the Cosmic Cow whimsical? To me, a cow is not a typical subject, one that is not usually the center of attention, and when barnyard or farm scenes are painted, they usually do not have the animal standing at attention looking directly at the viewer. So, in this case, a cow is definitely a "whimsical" subject.

I suppose most animals can be considered whimsical subjects. I've seen other whimsical artists choose mainly the friendly and fun animals like birds, domesticated house cats, bugs, and other animals you might see in children's stories. So far, I've painted the cow, a sheep, an alley cat and a house cat, a pelican, a rooster, a duck, a tiger, and a meerkat. I'm working on an owl as we speak, and I also have another duck, a white ibis, and some other creatures in the works.

What I think all of these subjects have in common is that they all have "character." Whimsical, by definition means fun and unusual, lighthearted, and unique. I seem to be drawn to birds! But why whimsical animals? Some whimsical artists paint people, while other whimsical artists paint landscapes. To me, it is easier for me to portray an animal's whimsical nature, than it is for me to paint a whimsical landscape. Believe me, I've tried, but I am just not as connected in the same way as I am to my animals.

What do you think? What are the best subjects for whimsical artists?

You can see my complete menagerie at my website at http://scottplaster.com. Just go to my cards or prints page. Better yet, try a whimsical artist puzzles or an online whimsical art greeting card!

I will continue this series by discussing other elements you might find in whimsical art, and what I see myself implementing as a whimsical artist.

---Scott

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