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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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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for Neptune.

In honor of the many evenings in high school that I spent replicating Sailor Moon imagery and the moments in class doodling more Sailor Moon symbols and doodles on many notes to pass in the hall, I decided to revisit my past while experimenting in the world of watercolor and gouache.  I made this as a Christmas present for my best friend from high school who came to discover, adore, and obsess over the unique stylings of Japanese animation at the same time I did.

I’ve always thought that a portion of the beauty lies in the process, so I also decided to document some of the layers and the transformation of my workspace as the image revealed itself.

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