"We see nothing truly until we understand it"~ John Constable

A Whimsical World




"Fabric Study"
Leonardo da Vinci
Italian Painter 1452 - 1519
Renaissance Period




"Portrait of a Woman with a Basket"
Jacopo Pontormo
Italian Painter 1494 - 1557
Mannerism Style


All images used on this website have been used with permission by the authorized museums or license holders. All other graphics are the property of the Art Apprentice Online, LLC.




visa mastercard Discover amercian express

We accept Credit Cards via and Paypal secure servers.

Electronic Commerce 


Our Vision

The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge ~ Albert Einstein

Dr Seuss said, 'I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope and that enables you to laugh at life's realities'. Many Decorative artists will find themselves agreeing with Dr Seuss and the famous John Ronald Reuel Tolkien who has come to be known as the father of modern fantasy literature. Many artists find themselves drawn to depict themes of pure fantasy and fun. This brings us into another realm of art and introduces us to the lighter side of subject and application. The sky is the limit for this type of art... as the only real limit is that which is placed on us by ourselves!

A departure from the seriousness of everyday life and traditional artistic topics...

These fantasy themes invite us to enter another world where color, topic, and subjects can be born from the depths of our creative imaginations. What better place to bring to life characters and worlds that offer the painter an opportunity to explore without inhibition...

It may all begin with the memories from childhood...

We may think that fantasy starts with a vivid imagination and this is often seen as a belonging to only young children. But to many decorative artists, painting fantasy themes will provide hours of enjoyment and technical challenge.

The creation of fantasy worlds provides the artist with the same academic challenges as one who paints traditional motifs and themes. The artist who whishes to specialize in fantasy styled art, also has to study artistic concepts such as color theory and the principles of art.

Created and painted by artist Gabriele Hunter

Whimsical worlds can be born from a simple theme, such as the Season's of the year, the Holidays, mythicological stories or beliefs and purely from our own imaginations. However the artist wishes to portray their ideas, they will still draw on their academic training. While the artist who paints traditional motifs or more serious subjects will mimic realistic references, the artist who paints whimsy will stretch the boundaries of acceptable color relationships as well as those of scale, proportion, and perspective.

Artists who paint fantasy themes will often incorporate elements that everyone will relate to. In this example, birds, flowers and leaves have been used in this fantasy garden theme. The difference is in the use of perspective and scale. As shown in the example on the right and above, the perspective is seen from the eye level of a bug, looking up at the mushrooms, elves and sunshine above. This artistic trick brings the viewer closer to the fantasy. Color is also intensified to bring an element of surprise and happiness to the storyline.

Note that each element of the composition also has its own individual personality, the flowers, the mushrooms and the figures all have animated faces that create their individual personalities!!

Created and painted by Art Apprentice Online artist Gabriele Hunter

Fantasy artists tell stories...

The use of characters in artwork help to bring the story to life. Animated faces and figures with exaggerated facial features or body types will often be used to build the individual personalities of their characters.

The figure sitting on a mushroom comes to life with an animated face. Note the exaggerated facial features, the distorted proportions of the body type and the the large scale of the ears! All add to the fun and individuality of the little character making him special.
This ladybug comes to life, having legs, hands and a human like head add to the garden fantasy... Note the way she balances precariously on a tiny branch, supported by her even tinier legs...
The happiness of the sun, the warmth of the sunlight and the sunny personality are key to the success of this little character. The attention to detail brings the character to life and makes the viewer appreciate the happy mood of the painting.

Whimsy comes to the Holidays...

The Principles of design and the formal elements of art are all used to create whimsical styles of painting. This style of art places the same technical demands on the fantasy artist as well as the traditional artist who paints serious subjects. Even though the mood of the paintings may be lighthearted they still present the artist with technical challenges.

Students who study this style of painting draw from the same conceptsfor creating depth and dimension through the manipulation of color, perspective and detail. The mechanics of brush control are necessary, the control of the palette and the principles of design are used to create a balanced and interesting composition.

Whimsy and fantasy are easily brought into holiday themes. Here artist Neadeen Masters, CDA designed and painted a traditional motif of the Christmas Holiday Season adding a lightheared mood through the use of whimsy.

The artist draws on the same principles of design, art and color to render a balanced composition.

The painting describes in detail the technical aspects of rendering fur, hair, glass, smoke, atmospheric perspective, color management, contrast and dimension.


Scale and proportion are distorted...

Artist Gabriele Hunter uses the concepts of art to build a three dimensional fantasy character on a gourd body. The artist uses and distorts the principles of scale and proportion to her artistic advantage. By altering the 'accepted norm' of body proportions, she is able to create a whimsical and non-realistic character to add an element of fun.

While the traditional holiday theme of the 'Three Wise Men' is used, the non traditional rendition is used to add an element of whimsy to a serious holiday character.

Visual patterns create texture and interest...

Here one can see the Three Wise Men, rendered by Gaby Hunter and displayed as a set. Take note of the intricate details in the painting, the use of visual patterning creating texture on the clothing and accessories, the facial features and the hair all adds interest to the tiny figures.

Exaggeration creates great whimsy...


Gabriele Hunter ~ Woody, acrylic

Two important Principles of Design are scale and proportion. You can read more about these in the Artistic Concepts section of the website. Here we can see how the artist, Gaby Hunter has taken these concepts to the extreme to create a fantasy character with a distinct personality!

The exaggerated roundness of the gourd body was the inspiration for the basic idea. From there, the exact opposite in proportion and scale inspired the hat. One can see the vine is slender compared to the bulk of the round body. The contrast in their line and size is what makes the figure an individual character.

Here the artist has used a reference to the character wearing a gourd hat on his head, with the gourd still attached to the stem. The stem is also a whimsical feature of the hat and has become the home to tiny nesting and visiting birds!

Woody, a charming forest creature, is also a friend and home to the birds of the forest. The artist draws a connection between them and the character by making them his adornments. These are subtle connections that are made by the placement and scale of each one. The reference to the vine, the leaves and the birds also make the character a part of the forest and not a separate entity.

Whenever we are thinking of creating a whimsical design, we should take a close look at how we can stretch the proportions, adjust the scale relationships and incorporate features of the surroundings (forest) into the details of the character.

To create this whimsical figure, the complete packet with instructions is available in a kit from the artist's own website - click here to order:

Change the meaning and create whimsy!
Flake and Flurry

Neadeen Masters, CDA ~ Flake and Flurry

This design will be released as an e-packet in Dec. 2007

Whimsy can be created using the artist's imagination to put a different twist on the harsh facts of reality... Here, artist Neadeen Masters adds to the delight of the composition by emphasizing the snow laden wind, using this simple feature to put a different spin on the story line!

The strong winds of the Southern Antarctic blow continually through the long winter months, this is the harsh reality of the area where these adorable penguins are found. However, wanting to add a touch of whimsy to the composition, the artist has taken this rather sobering fact and put a light hearted twist, changing its meaning.

Take a closer look at the rhythmic flow and movement of the wind as it blows around the male subject to caress the shoulders of the female. Do you detect that they are flirting with each other? Could this be the beginning of a winter romance? Can you see now how the meaning of the wind has been changed to help tell the story?

The brush strokes used to create the wind, flow in a musical way around both figures, connecting the pair. The wind also flows around the female figure, hugging her smaller body like a soft shawl thrown over her shoulders. (This was deliberately done to make her female). There are also three penguins in this composition, do you see the third penguine in the background? The movement and flow of the wind is used in a unique way to separate the group, but to connect the flirtatious pair in the foreground.

The wind is also the bearer of large snowflakes...which are suspended in the air like glittering diamonds. They are strategically placed for interest, blowing and meandering in the wind like the high notes in a musical dance! This was deliberately done to enhance the viewers senses to the effects of love!

The flowing movement of the wind gliding over the icy land, is placed in such a way as to control the viewers eye movement. The wind is painted in giant curling movements, carefully placed and always pointing the viewer back into the composition.

These are all simple additions to a composition, however they change the meaning, the tempo and the visual perceptions...

For more information on the Principles of Design, please visit the Artistic Concepts links in the menu bar on the left.

Youngsters enjoy playing with clay, so this is an excellent exercise to stimulate the creative aspects of play between adult and child.

  Look for this DVD in the Art Apprentice Online Store  

Working with your hands...

“I have always enjoyed working with my hands and when I discovered that I could combine clay with painting; this made it even more enjoyable for me!” say Gaby Hunter, “I’d like to share my techniques with you and explain how to work with both clay and paint media.”

These whimsical characters come to life before your very eyes! Join Gaby for two fun filled hours and watch as she molds clay into these adorable figures. Santa and his tiny elves are hand shaped and built around the supporting gourd bodies. Watch as Gaby constructs and dresses each hand molded figure, learn her secrets as she paints their holiday outfits and turns clay into these little works of art!