When someone tells you that a performance was done with a great deal of whimsey, what does that mean to you? In that context it means to me that it was slightly humorous and a bit light-hearted and a tad unpredictable as a result. I have looked up definitions of whimsey and the synonyms for it. I found a lot of variety in both pursuits. So here is my preferred definitions for whimsey and what I consider the most appropriate synonym. An act done with whimsey is playful, unpredictable, not logical, odd, impulsive, maybe humorous, fanciful, and unexpected. Caprice seems to be a good synonym but just a little stronger and more purposeful than whimsey. Logically, from what I have just said, whimsical acts or creations do not stem from the rational mind but from impulse. For me the word has no negative connotation but some definitions do and one such definition is: freakish. Whimsey is lighthearted because it does not get in our face and dare us to "get it." It doesn't beat us over the head. It also does not send us into spasms of hysterical laughter. Whimsey does not direct and has no one idea. It is a kind of juxtaposition of factors that provokes, perhaps, a rueful smile or a thought about how weird certain actions really are. Thus, it is playful and painless as it manifests some insane truth which may be different for each person who takes it in without much fanfare.
My photographic abstract renderings, as I call the process of manipulation I use, are whimsical from the get-go. I play with my images until each one pops out at me causing me to blurt out any one of a number of delighted exclamations. The process informs me and always at least causes me to smile curiously.