lacquer & watercolor: cattitude and chopsticking

Another color I have always really liked is OPI’s Chopsticking to  my Story from their spring 2010 Hong Kong collection.  It’s a bold rusty orange that treads the line between being richly saturated and somehow subdued enough to be warm and sophisticated and not overly vivid like orange has a tendency to be.  I feel a broad spectrum of colors from this shade and felt as if it is able to leak rusty brown that fades into yellow hues onto the paper.

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lacquer & watercolor: angora muse

In the process of trying to come with some new ideas for my site header, I was experimenting with the idea of combining my love of nail lacquer and watercolor.  I was considering using the polish itself to paint with and combine the viscous shiny lacquer with the thin translucencies of watercolor, but I ended up simply being inspired by the color of the polish itself and wanted to express the color through a mix of watercolor drips.

This left me with a combination of polish swatches and paint to share with you.  I selected a few of my more favorite cream finishes from my collection that I thought went well together.

First is Barielle’s Aura Angora from their 2010 fall The Style in Argyle collection.  It’s a golden mustard with hints of burnt rusty brown to it.  It’s one of those colors I don’t think is explored enough in the nail polish world.  I find a great brown-toned muted yellow like this can be very chic while being subdued and neutral.  I’d happily pair this color with many other colors which is why I chose it for this exercise.

It’s a shame that my fingers are showing up so pink as this color works well with my light olive coloring, but I think I was pressing my finger too hard against the paper to take a picture.  Oops.  Also, this polish is fully glossy despite the illusion of a matte tip.  That’s just an interesting side effect of reflecting the very textured matte paper.

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Americana

Another set of pictures wilting in the archives were of my Fourth of July manicure. For the holiday, I took a last minute trip to the Smoky Mountains and Nantahala River for some countryside views and relaxation along with a bit of outdoor activities.

I wanted to rejuvinate the classic red, white, and blue palette with a little bit of shimmer and flakie firework action.  The blue nails were Orly Royal Navy with two layers of China Glaze White Cap on top to serve as a play on the flag’s star field.  The red accent nail was China Glaze Ruby Pumps with Barielle Elle’s Spell on top for depth and fire.  I’m pretty sure I was rocking the high gloss Seche Vite top coat at this point in time as well.

Amusingly enough, the white cap polish had a deeper meaning as there were crests of swirling white on the river rapids…enough that they assisted in capsizing our small two person inflatable raft at the end of our river run.  I took these pictures after the incident while recovering from the adrenaline rush with an icy cold red, white, and blue themed American beer.  So the tipwear was probably a direct result of clawing at the upside-down raft that had flipped entirely on top of me while trying to assume a safe whitewater swimmers position to avoid getting bashed into rocks.  Considering there was minimal tipwear, I’m giving the polish performance a good grade.

I can’t say that I have ever really considered myself much of a “country girl,” but I have been out there before and I have really enjoyed my time there because there’s just a unique soul to the surroundings that I can appreciate.  This was outside of a quintessential river haunt, a shack called Pizza By the River which serves up some tasty pizza.  Most importantly, it serves it up where you can literally sit and eat it on the river rocks and wade your feet in the stream if you’d like.  They also have great little bonfires going in the evening as the river starts to kick up a thick mist on the surface.  Sometimes there seems to be banjo music drifting down the river as well that just makes the whole environment come together.

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coral & turquoise

I realize crackle polishes have long since snuck their way back into popularity and are already wiggling their way out for new trends, so we’re not going to discuss how old these pictures are.  On the other hand, I’m always going to love this color combination and these pictures may revitalize my joy in creating crackle color combos.

One of the few crackle polishes I broke down and purchased was China Glaze’s Crushed Candy.  I figured a pale turquoise blue color would look interesting with a variety of colors.  It is subdued enough that it will pair well with other soft colors or more happily pop with bright or darker colors.

The first time I wore it, I paired it over OPI’s Color So Hot it Berns, a bright warm one-coater red that reminds me of the color of certain coral.  I’ve always loved a pale, turquoise-tinged blue with a bright orange-toned red since they are both bright but in different ways so that they highlight each other.  When I was making jewelry more frequently, I often gravitated to turquoise with coral or amber, and that’s what came to mind when I decided to match these colors up in the way of nail polish.  The crackle did its thing perfectly, and I ended up really enjoying the accents of chartreuse and ruddy brownish red of the plants I happened to find outside.  I was additionally amused by the similar naturally cracked pattern of the reddish leaves as well.

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incognitaupe.

Sometimes you just need to switch over to something mellow and subdued, and one of my favorites is Sephora by OPI’s Under My Trench Coat.  It’s a nice light sophisticated neutral with the tiniest bit of shimmer to keep it just a little bit more interesting and unique.  While I like the idea of splashing some bright colors against taupe for a chic contrast, I am finding that sometimes it’s okay to immerse yourself in a neutral palette for a while.  It’s sort of like a nice sorbet palete cleanser for the world of color and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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precocious purple.

I was searching for something really bright to pair with a nice layer of Nubar 2010 flakies, and decided I was pretty freshly intrigued with Essie’s perky purple. The idea of a neon purple itself is sort of perplexing since to get that buzzy neon saturation it seems like a purple is going to end up leaning pink in hue, and this was no exception.  In fact these images ended up looking quite a bit more pink than I felt they did in real life, but that is because the sun really brought out the pink brightness of the color.  Still, it’s a lot more interesting and a bit of a chameleon than a standard pink neon would be.

As neons tend to do, this color ends up quite matte on the nail, but with a layer of Nubar 2010 and Poshe topcoat, it obviously ended up quite glossy.  On the other hand, the wear on this was deplorable.  This is actually the second attempt at this manicure merely for the purpose of taking pictures of it.  Both times I had giant chips in the polish that began hours after application.  I used my trusty basecoat and everything and have never had a problem to this extent with any of my other polishes.  I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s matte or Essie or both or a bad combo with everything, but the wear was really awful which is a shame since it’s such a nice combination and I’m rather fond of the uniqueness of the color.

The combination of the firey flakies which shift from deep orange to yellowish green on the bright neon background made me think of the playfulness of graffiti and the flaking layers of paint, so that became my setting for this polish.  You can see how the flakies come alive even more in the shade as they catch and bend the subtle moments of light revealing their full rainbow capabilities.  If you can catch it all the way at an angle, the green really shines through.  It’s quite a fun manicure to stare at.  Too bad it doesn’t stick around for very long!

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oxidized cantaloupe.

I spent a lot of time searching for what I felt was the perfect creamy pastel orange.  It felt difficult to find the shade I pictured in my head since most of the colors I found in this range were a lot more saturated or ended up looking a lot pinker than I wanted.  I settled in on Essie’s Cantaloupe to fill that niche in my collection.  It feels more true to what I imagine a peachy pastel orange should be.  It’s a nice, chic shade that has just a little bit of something extra to keep it interesting while still being a subtle manicure color.  This is three thin coats, and application was pretty much on par with any other pastel polish out there.

I came across a creamy pale yellow dumpster with some nice oxidation that made a similar, yet subtle background to the nice tangy brightness of the Cantaloupe color.  They are colors that I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to pair, but i like the combination especially with the skintone.

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