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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Whimsical Artists Manifesto, Part 2: The Whimsy of Our "Whimsical Animals"

Whimsical Artists: Scott Plaster's Cry Baby whimsical painting
Whimsical Artists Manifesto, Part 2:
The Whimsy of Our "Whimsical Animals"

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about what makes a "whimsical" artist, a whimsical artist. There's so much to that question! This time, I'll focus on one subject of many whimsical artists -- whimsical animals. So many of us find whimsy when we turn to nature and the animal world. It's no wonder that whimsical animals would be the subject of a whimsical artist's realm.

I host a group on Fine Art America called, Cosmic Cow: Home of the Whimsical, with 70 members and over 1,000 images. Let's see what we can learn by looking at their works, starting with cats and dogs, including my "Cry Baby" featured here. Here are some of the interesting paintings from my group's members:

Some whimsical cat and dog paintings from Whimsical Artists:

Peek-A-Boo
by whimsical artist Pat Saunders-White
Sir Barksalot
by  whimsical artist Diane Daigle
The Cheshire Cat - L...
by  whimsical artist Lucia Stewart

by  whimsical artist Catherine G McElroy
by  whimsical artist Alan Kenny
Amigo by  whimsical artist  
Joy DiNardo Bradley DiNardo

All of the whimsical artists above classified their works as "whimsical." What an interesting collection -- a smiling dog, a dog in armor, a cheshire cat, a cat being wooed by a couple of mice, a patchwork cat comprised of a desert scene, and a little "amigo." What makes each one a whimsical animal? Is it the pose, the treatment, the situation, the juxtaposition of other subjects? Which painting is the most whimsical? the most original? the most unique?

"Cry Baby" is one of my whimsical animals, and I think the reason he qualifies is his drastic and unusual "yawn" which ambiguously looks like a big cat's growl. Who knows (other than me) which is the case? I suppose it makes you wonder. Other whimsical artists have different takes on creating whimsical animals out of cats and dogs.

Are the cats in "Amigo," "Cheshire Cat," "Landscape in Cat," and "Be Mine" whimsical for similar reasons? I think "Amigo" is personified and given character by putting him beside a bench and looking as if he's just downed a margarita. The Cheshire cat certainly has the type of character you see in animated features. The cat presenting a Valentine's gift in "Be Mine" is certainly lighthearted and playful. Is the context what makes it whimsical? The unusual situation? Of all of the cats, "Landscape in Cat" might be a little different. Although its pose is a little extreme, what sets it apart is that the figure of the cat is rendered in the landscape elements that have been eliminated from his surroundings. What an interesting take on the subject! But is it "whimsical"? If it is, what makes it whimsical? Is it because of the unusual approach? How many times can an artist use the same "unusual" approach before it is no longer out of the ordinary?

The cute terrier in "Sir Barksalot" is situated like a knight, because we all know that terriers are the most royal of dogs, right? What separates this dog in armor from an average, everyday cartoon character? Does an animal have to be personified to be considered whimsical? Of all the whimsical animals above, the dog in 'Peek-A-Boo" might be the most mainstream. Is it whimsical, or does it fall short of our criteria? Looking closely, you see the dog is immersed in foliage and playfully looking out. I think this qualifies, and steers clear of creating a cartoon-like picture that threatens to border on the overdone. The dog certainly has character and it has been caught in quite a whimsical situation.

I really enjoy the variety and creativity we can see in paintings of whimsical animals! To me, I could paint many and still not run out of ideas, but I really do try to make them each different. I would love for you to check them out in my image gallery, my cards or prints pages, or even on free online greeting cards. I consider myself a whimsical artist, but I don't want to be confined to any bounds or definitions, as I'm sure most whimsical artists would not.

Enjoy... and be whimsical!

--Whimsical Artist Scott Plaster
http://scottplaster.com/

Cards: http://cards.scottplaster.com/
Prints: http://prints.scottplaster.com/
Online Greeting Cards: http://artgreetingcardsonline.com/







2 comments:

Whimsical Artist SCOTT PLASTER said...

I've corrected some information above. I took a second look at"Be Mine" and realized that the CAT is giving the valentine to the MICE! Now, that's interesting!

Kim said...

hi Scott
great artwork here!!
your blog is now listed at TAD R - Z section
thanks for the link back :)
cheers Kim