Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New 31DC: Watercolor

So, first an explanation for my missing challenge yesterday, then today's challenge. Yesterday's theme was stamping, which I am terrible at. Like, to an embarrassing degree. I haven't put a ton of time into it yet, but I was not in the mood to fail. I try to be open and do not edit my photos at all (if I get handy with some editing tools, I'll let you know when they are cleaned up pictures). I try to be real about my shortcomings. Sometimes, though, I need to be a little gentle with myself. I'm not super stoked on my life situation right now, and polish (and this blog) are a little refuge for me. I may not be perfect, but I am becoming more and more happy with my polish skills and the way that my nails look. They are one of the very few things I feel I am moderately good at and they make me happy. When they don't, when they feel like a chore or a bummer, I need to stop. This is something to lift me up and give me some joy, not bring me down or frustrate me. That is not to say that I don't want to try new things that I may not be great at, but I don't want to set out to bring myself down with something as trivial, and yet therapeutic, as painting my nails and writing about it. Yesterday was the breaking point--I had done enough sketchy challenge days and was just tired of feeling like a failure, so I didn't do that to myself. I little part of me felt bad, and I may try some stamped nails later this month, but for now I'm okay with the fact that I was kind to me yesterday and I hope that you are too!

So, onto my first watercolor attempt. If you've never tried watercolor nails before, the idea is to use acetone to dilute the pigment. You start with a base and a couple of coats of top coat, then dab on color and use a brush dipped in acetone to dab over the color to wash it out and blend it together. I was having a hard time coming up with inspiration, so I went with different shades of blue.

*1 coat Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Hardener
*2 coats Sinful Colors Snow Me White
*2 coats Out The Door
*Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Co-Bolt Blue
*Sinful Colors Why Not
*Color Club Take Me To Your Chateau
*1 coat Sinful Colors Pearl Harbor
*1 coats Out The Door

I started with a clean white base.  Then, with very little direction for application, I went with my darkest color first--Co-Bolt Blue.  I love this navy, shimmery blue (which you already know if you've seen any other post I made with blue in it) and it's wonderfully opaque.  I dabbed it on and then, with a small paint brush dipped in acetone, dabbed some more!

Next I used Why not, with the same technique and (lack of) precision.  This cream is a medium blue, much lighter than I realized when it was diluted with acetone.  I'll also draw your attention to my index finger and the missing polish near the tip.  The point of using 2 layers of top coat before the water color effect is to protect your base from the acetone.  However, if, like me, you decide to add more polish or are overenthusiastic with your dabbing, you might just see your nail make an appearance...  Lesson learned.

I added a coat of Pearl Harbor, an iridescent blue glitter, to draw it all together.  This last picture was under a lamp, without flash, and I added it because the color is much truer here.  Overall, I'm not super-thrilled with this look.  I think part of the problem is the monochromatic choice, which I'll remember.  I think this look is interesting and I may very well try it again with better color choices.  Have you done a watercolor mani before?  What did you find worked well?  Do you have any good tips?


  1. I think you are improving in leaps and bounds. I am so pleased about how well your pictures and your nails are now. :) it's great to see your development.

    1. Why thank you so much for your sweet words (as always!). You are much to kind to me! I realized after the fact that this came off more than a little whinny. Really, it was just a reassurance to myself that this is all meant to be fun--sometimes I lose perspective. Thank you so much for your wonderful encouragement! I have had so much fun "talking" with you through our blogs!

    2. HA! You have done well in keeping up with a 31 Day Challenge. For that I think you can have a whine or few. And it was fine. I have been meaning to comment that you are doing much better. I wish I could say the same for myself. ;) Can I blame it on having a faulty canvas in having too short nails for the splashy designs?

  2. I actually think this looks great! I was thinking about how much I liked the choice of different shades of blue... my friend sitting next to me even commented on how much she liked it. It kind of looks like abstract blue flowers.

    1. Thank you so much! I realize, after the fact, that perhaps I should try these techniques before I post them. I was actually kind of surprised at how these went--I think I just went a little overboard with the dark blue--but I think I really want to try the technique again. You're right, it does kind of make a flowery look (I tend to dab in circles I guess).