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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up close

I find myself quite often with my  nose more or less pressed up in the paper and my breath pushing the wet color around a little bit.  It’s always a little disorienting to see things from this perspective and then step back and look at the painting again when you’ve been intimate with each individual drip that encompassed most of your view.

In that regard, the following pictures are more of an accurate portrayal of what the previous painting looks like in my memory.

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for Bergie & BoBo

This painting was a surprise present for someone dear to me. We bonded over BoBo, the betta fish that I had, and he would speak fondly of his dear Bergie fish who had passed away a while ago.  Sometimes you get the privilege of the presence of a fish with a lot of personality, and I know I’ve spent many an evening watching a particularly expressive fish flit around the little garden I created for him. I suppose it’s part of that fondness for all things aquatic, but I can easily say I’ve been totally enamored with a dear fish or two in my time just as much as any other type of pet.  Sadly, BoBo passed away very recently, and while this was meant to be in the image of Bergie, I know that BoBo was very much an inspiration to me in painting this as well.

This is for them and for all of those who have loved a betta fish.

I had a lot of different thoughts on how I wanted to go about this, but as I sketched, I ended up wanting sort of an almost Chinese paper cut-type feel to the lines and kept them thin and delicate. I wanted to imply the edges of a bowl and keep the colors kind of muddied down for the most part while being very loose and watery. This is how it happened.

Here is the image I used as reference, and I changed the color and some of the proportions to match the descriptions of Bergie.  You can also find some other amazing betta photography there as well.

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