I am a self-taught artist and use the skillset I have honed in every design I dream up! I work very hard on my two passions each and everyday, my daughter and my art. My little girl is my secret weapon! She brings me endless inspiration and a much needed giggle when the competition gets tough.
Week 10: Wildflowers
Week 9: KUPA
For my Passport Perfection creation I wanted to create a design that really takes you somewhere, under the sea that is! For this creation I only use the products KUPA provided with the exception of chrome powders in colors blue/green, blue/purple, gold and black.
For the mermaid’s tail I took inspiration from my daughter’s wooden toy snake. Using gel top and Artfinity powder I was able to make a tail that has natural-looking movement as if the mermaid is swimming through her favorite reef. The gradient on the tail shows through the carved scales to add both texture and a pop of color. On my reef nails, the corals are all carved with the ManiPro Passport and a variety of bits. Carving to this degree isn’t something I have ever tried but now I’m addicted. I wanted the carving to show as much as possible so I only added a fish here and there to add a pop of neon. Through the hole on the ring finger there’s a surprise friend, an eel, that can swim into the scene. On my thumb, I wanted to create a close up view of the reef with more detailed corals and fish. There is also the star of the thumb, a green sea turtle. The entire turtle is constructed out of acrylic so that the front flippers will move up and down while the turtle swims. All in all I wanted to create an oasis filled with color and texture. A place I would love to visit someday and get a stamp in my passport.
Week 8: Swarovski
When I first read the description for Futuristic Reflections I started thinking of Roman Mythology. I researched Roman Mythology and Flora immediately stuck out as a fabulous choice! She is the goddess of spring, flowers and new growth. That feeling of spring is exactly what I wanted the viewer to experience when looking at my set. With bright yellows, shining crystals and bumble bees.
Another element of Futuristic Reflections is the space-age formats; for this I wanted to go back and take inspiration again from Flora. This time with a focus on growth. I thought, I could make the nails grow! So that is what I did. With the help of a tiny straw and a few magnets, it worked perfectly.
I also created some other movement in the design with a flying bumble bee under the thumbnail and the hinged bar shapes on the sides of the other nails. These elements all move without having to touch them directly, when you pull the nails open they shift as well!
I used the new Electric Yellow Delite, Electric White Delite, and Iris, as well as the elongated Hexagon and Pentagon shapes included in the package. I also included some Ivory Cream, Blush, Rose Gold and Jet, and baguette crystals to make the design come to life.
Week 7: Gel II
When I first looked at the Gel II New York Collection I couldn’t help but imagine a skyline sunset. I also knew I wanted to take inspiration from my summer in New York when I was 12. All the 3D work is created with 4D Gel. I tinted the Extreme White with a dark green gel-polish to give the Statue of Liberty the iconic minty green patina that the copper statue has transformed into.
Looking at the Statue of Liberty from a boat and being away from the hustle and bustle of the city is one of the most peaceful experiences you can have in NYC. This is the feeling I wanted to create. I also wanted to include both the tourist ferry and a personal sailboat, to represent that both visitors and locals can take a moment to really appreciate the sight. The two boats are attached to a wire imbedded in the water so that they can float past the Statue.
I used each color in the New York City collection, to bring this piece to life. The colors; Times Square and 5th Ave glow nicely under a blacklight so I used those colors on my clouds and to highlight the Statue so that it would glow like it does at sunset.
Week 6: ORLY
I chose to base my design and concept on Jennifer Lopez and not just any style from J Lo, but her red carpet looks. She is known for wearing dresses with extreme cutouts and clear panels. Her outfits also include geometric patterns and metallic highlights. I used all of this information in the creation of my design this week.
The nails are sculpted with the ORLY GelFX Builder in a Bottle. The overall shape of the nails is full of angles and sharp lines. The top of the nails is filed flat with a hidden apex created by angling the form slightly up from the nail bed. I used a layering technique with some of the color and details within the nail and some of them on the nail’s surface. I utilized the clarity that BIAB offers, leaving portions of the nail clear. For my color scheme I used the metallic foil colors, Rage, Shine and Luxe. Those shimmer colors catch the light and make the nails come alive. Each nail is similar in style and structure but with it’s own unique pattern. French tips are known for precision and clean lines so I paid extra attention to keeping this challenge clean and sharp.
Week 5: Ugly Duckling
When I read the challenge breakdown I knew in an instant that Hey Diddle Diddle was the nursery rhyme for me. It’s simple, cheery and whimsical. I wanted each element to have their own space so that the story is easy to see across the nails. Each element is placed so that they are all visible with the nails aligned or spread. Sculpting the nail shape was something I enjoyed thoroughly. I wanted to challenge myself and create a nail shape that allowed for the background to show from the side of the nail. For the background I created a lovely gradient that continues from one nail to the next. Ugly Duckling’s Shmelt It did a great job of creating soft fluffy looking clouds. I sculpted each 3-D element with color acrylic and added the details with gel paint and gel-polish. The characters have a personified realism to them. I painted in the hair texture on the cat and dog. The dish has a delicate china pattern on the edge. The cow is attached to a spring so that she will wiggle as if she is mid jump. “Over the Moon” is one of my favorite phrases so this nail is obviously my favorite!
Week 4: Glitz Accessories & Such
I have been dreaming of traveling to Las Vegas for one reason, to see Reba! I have been a Reba fan since I was 11 years old and her music has been a constant in my life since then. She has been dubbed the Queen of Country Music and what is more glamorous and glitzy than a queen? For these reasons I decided to base my design Ms. McEntire. On the Reba hand I have a caricature style portrait on the middle finger with her arms spreading across the other nails. She is dressed in her iconic red dress which is encrusted in crystals. The surrounding nails have 3-D music notes and a lovely gradient background, also crystal covered. The thumbnail is wrapped with a strip of sheet music and the notes are from the first song of her’s that I fell in love with, “Survivor.”The Caesars Palace hand has Michelangelo’s David as the show piece. Vegas is known for its worldly replica’s and as an art enthusiast “David” has always been intriguing. He is surrounded by leaves inspired by the crown moulding in Caesars Palace. The thumbnail has the hotel’s logo. All of the 3-D work in this design was created with Glitz’ 4D gel and the painting done with gel paint. In fact I used up the jar of Creme De La Creme completely!
Week 3: LeChat
When we received the email explaining this challenge I was making mini French silk pies, so it only seemed fitting that I make my design based on cooking. I have made everything from full size wedding cakes to simple sugar cookies and each recipe has one thing in common…I make an incredible mess in the kitchen!
I sculpted a full body self portrait down to my pink toenails. I wanted to show that I don’t take things too seriously so I am licking a wooden spoon and I have purple batter in my hair and down my clothes.
My partner in crime is with me in almost everything I do so my daughter, Melody, is standing next to me reaching towards a spilling bowl. Next to her is spilling milk that nobody seems too worried about, why cry over spilt milk anyway? I created a to do list pinned to wall above her that has “NTNA” written down it. On the shelf is the infamous mixer that started this fiasco.
The cabinet is equally messy and has a dirty pan piled on top of it. If you open the door you’ll find a cat has snuck in there when no one was looking, to take a bath. On the table you’ll find a second cat reaching toward me, trying to taste whatever is on the spoon. There is also a cake and a cupcake on the table that seemed to have missed the chaos and managed to turn out looking professional.
The clock on the wall has a different time than the microwave and the oven, whenever I’m working on a project it feels like time has a way of shifting. Inside the oven is a pie baking, on the stove a small kitchen fire. The microwave is currently serving as a way to hide some dirty bowls so I won’t feel the need to clean them.
The techniques I used with the 3-in-1 powders are:
- Dipping/pouring the background
- Acrylic for the 3D work
- Sugaring on the table cloth and towel
- Creating a paint with gel top coat
Week 2: En Vogue
I wanted my set to have the depth of the galaxy on each nail with a little something special to set each one apart. Creating the galaxy effect with a layering technique brings a visual depth that makes it seem as if the colors keep going for an eternity. Starting with a dark glittery color lets the sparkle shine through all upper layers giving the whole nail movement. I added a glow-in-the-dark swirl so that it has an aurora borealis effect in the dark.
On my Cancer hand I wanted to keep a laid back vibe with my sandy beach and sun bathing crab. For the large crab I built her up with layers of Simply Clear Sculpt and various Lac it! colors. I chose to use oranges, reds, and yellows for the crabs so they have a high contrast against the purple and blue background. On the middle finger I have the moon orbiting the nail because the moon is Cancer’s ruling planet.
On my Virgo hand, I wanted to create a continuation of the color palette from the Cancer hand so my maiden’s hair is the same oranges, yellows and red, with a touch of pink! Virgo’s are ambitious so I gave my 3-D maiden a determined look on her face and my flat maiden is reaching toward the stars. On the middle finger, I sculpted Mercury orbiting the nail. Mercury’s coloring is very similar to Earth’s moon, but slightly darker. Mercury’s surface is pure rock, so depending on the sunlight, it tends to glow, so I added a bit of glitter on Mercury.
Underneath all 10 nails I painted the symbol for each sign. When painting something on the top of the nail to be viewed from underneath, you must paint it backwards so it will look forwards when you flip your hand over. Since this challenge is about creating two compatible hands, the thumbs of my design fit together like a friendship necklace to form a heart shape.
Week 1: CND
For this challenge I wanted to take a metaphorical interpretation of “Secret Garden.” The first thing that always comes to my mind when thinking about gardens is growth. I feel like as artists, we are always trying to push our self growth and our self knowledge. The more we understand ourselves, the better our art is. With this in mind I created a design with a woman looking through a mirror and instead of seeing her reflection she sees herself as a skeleton.
I wanted to dress the woman in 18th century-inspired clothing, with an era hairstyle. I wanted her to have a dainty quality that is seen in the paintings from the Romanticism movement, with a serene look on her face as if she has a complete understanding of the skeleton on the other side of the mirror. She is painted with CND Vinylux, and her clothing is made of Shellac. For her skin I created a custom acrylic mix of Pure White and Clear and tinted my monomer with Flowerbed Folly to give her a realistic skin tone. Even her nails and lips are painted with Kiss From a Rose. I didn’t want the skeleton to be creepy or gory but just a different perspective of the woman. We all have our bad days, where things are not going our way, where we feel tattered and torn like this skeleton. However these are the days when we have the most opportunity for self growth and even for inspiration, if we just take time to really acknowledge the woman in the mirror. My skeleton is sculpted with Pure White acrylic polymer and painted with Vinylux. My mirror and nail tips are painted with CND Oxblood shellac as well as the English Garden collection to give them a Mahogany coloration common of the era.
This design is all about the moments of calm when I have the chance to reflect and understand myself, and let myself grow. We are all our own secret garden and the more time we nurture our art the more it will blossom.