First things first. Whacky is a less-common spelling of wacky. I’ve always used wacky instead of whacky, unless I’m talking about whacking somebody over the head (which I’ve never actually done) or playing some game like Whack a Mole. My husband is great at that game. We sometimes take grandchildren to Chuck E. Cheese, and rather than play themselves, they have much more fun watching Grandpa whack those pesky moles. He’s really good.
I also use whack in conjunction with my Creative Whack Pack, a deck of 64 creativity strategies “to provoke and inspire your thinking”, according to the creator Roger von Oech. He is not only the creator of the Whack Pack, but also the author of A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative and other books on creativity.
I have never read his books, and I’ll be honest. I’ve rarely used the Creative Whack Pack. I bought it mostly out of curiosity and because I’ve always been interested in the concept of creativity. Being a creative individual, however, I’ve never really needed any of the 64 strategies. I’ve never had a problem jump-starting my own imagination or coming up with off-the-wall, out-of-the-box, let’s-brainstorm-this solutions to problems.
So why a post about whackiness — or wackiness, if you prefer that spelling?
It’s because I stumbled across my Whack Pack recently. I’d actually forgotten I owned it. The box of cards, complete with guidebook, is still in pristine condition. I was shuffling around in the closet when I came across it, and rather than putting it away I set it here on my desk thinking it might be fun to choose a card and see what direction it took me in my art.
But I was busy with my own creative ideas, so the cards sat here on my desk for several days. Finally, I decided to open it up, pull out a card, and go wherever it led.
The card I drew advised me to BE WHACKY! It asks the following question:
What whacky things can you do to your idea?
Not that I had a particular idea in mind… so where to go and what to do with this creative and inspiring advice?
I decided to apply the concept to art itself and think of all the whacky or wacky things I could do, or that I have done.
What came to mind immediately was my attempt at using salt on my canvas before oil painting. A whacky thing, indeed, and not the brightest idea I’ve ever had. It works great with watercolor because the water dissolves the salt. It doesn’t work too well with oil painting.
Another somewhat whacky thought was the painting with coffee experience I had. We did this at an art club meeting, and while it was interesting, I don’t think it’s anything I’ll do too often. If you haven’t tried it, the idea is to use instant coffee, add only a little bit of water to it, and then have a go at painting.
Another interesting — and whacky — idea I read somewhere was that of using essential oils with oil paints. I love essential oils, and I have quite a collection. Yes, I’m going to try that someday.
For me, using a palette knife for a complete painting felt a bit whacky, and while I wasn’t happy with the result, I learned a lot from it. I want to try other ways of applying paints — sticks, stones, sponges, and rags, for starters.
I also did a very whacky — and not very good — abstract painting using fabrics along with acrylic paints. Oh, well, not every creative endeavor is meant to be a rousing success, right?
My future ideas for whackiness include playing more with brushstrokes and textures, doing paintings with a focus more on color and less on shapes, and maybe even doing an upside-down painting. I’ve done drawings that way, and it’s interesting.
So, now I’ve shared of bit of my whackiness, and here I’ll turn it over to you. What whacky or wacky things have you done with your art?