Art and Whimsy

As winter rages with ice storms, blizzards and widespread power outages, let’s allow art to lift our spirits.

An artist friend, Kathy Tosh from Hawaii, recently sent me a photo of her new weaving in the Viewpoints Gallery in Maui. Above a seascape, five puffy clouds float. These clouds captivate me and bring a huge smile. Some of the rounded shapes resemble balloons and I feel as if I could hold on to one and float away.

Other art sparks the same kind of whimsy for me. Hawaii artist, Taryn Yamani’s ceramic sculpture captures the joyous fantasy of riding on a friendly whale. The woman’s face has an exultant expression as her hair and clothes float in the breeze. I can’t help but laugh as I imagine it’s me on that whale.

Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi’s chimneys at his Casa Batllo in Barcelona, Spain sit atop the building, with jubilant shapes and colors. With my face raised up toward the sky, my mouth wide with a grin, they are a vision of pure joy, belying their smoky function.

Claus Oldenburg, an American sculptor, transforms commonplace objects into giant sculptures to delight our sense of the absurd. This eraser sits in downtown Las Vegas, anchored on a slant with its brushes seemingly blown by a stiff desert wind. It’s crazily out of place and brings an involuntary guffaw to a viewer who unexpectedly comes upon it.

In Denver, an anonymous street artist decorates a dirty, and probably smelly, back alley with this happy face. It seems to float, ludicrously juxtaposed above heavy, overflowing trash bins. What an utter delight. Imagine walking on a busy downtown Denver street and glancing down this alley. This vision would stop me in my tracks with a gasp of startled elation.

Winter weather and other travails may besiege us, but it’s good to remember that humans have the capacity for immense joy that can bestow a spiritual lift and a good laugh.