Hooray for another year of trial and error in the realm of nail art!

New Year’s 2014

I kicked off the year with this design, also pictured on the 2013 nail art page:

New Years 2014 nail design

I intended it to be reminiscent of fireworks on New Year’s Eve. People told me it looked like disco lights or something. Oh, well.

New Year's Eve nail design 2014

If You Put it in a Frame, it’s Art

I guess with this design I was trying to pay respect to nail artists everywhere, whose work is often unappreciated simply because it isn’t on a huge canvas. I did some modern-art sort of designs on my nails, and painted frames around each one.

modern art framed nails

At first, I was a little disappointed with how it turned out, but my family was impressed. Over time, the design grew on me, and I was sad to take it off.

modern art nails frames

I’ve always been annoyed by the lack of appreciation by the general, non-nail-artist public towards nail designs: attitudes range from condescendingly indulgent, to downright hostile. That’s not to say that there aren’t enthusiasts out there, I just wish more people loved and respected the trade.

modern art framed thumbnails

Poison Art Frog

Nature is often an inspiration for art. In this case, my nail art was inspired by the patterns of some colorful poison dart frogs at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

turquoise poison dart frog nail design

After I finished painting this on my mom’s nails, I got a little jealous and wished I’d done something like it on my own!

poison dart frog nail design

Both my mom and I really liked this manicure.

turquoise poison dart frog nails thumbs

Paint Bucket Nails

I think these nails look like metal paint buckets, with paint dripping out or splattered on the surface.

paint bucket nail design

At first I considered this design to be a failure. But eventually it grew on me. And by the end of the week, I was sad to take it off!

thumbnails paint bucket

The Speckled Egg Nails

This design on my mom’s nails reminds me of some children’s movie I watched in elementary school, about a speckled egg that hatched to release a very special dinosaur.

blue speckled egg nails

Modern Art Mani

I’ve done modern-art style nails on myself before, but this was the first time my mom requested it. She chose the colors, and I came up with the pattern:

modern art nails purple pink

She considered it a great success. Maybe someday these nail pictures will hang in a museum. 😉

pink/purple modern art nail design

Kitty in Pink

I used my newest color, OPI Elephantastic Pink, as the base color for this design. Then I added colorful tiger stripes and cheetah print. I’ll have to work on the cheetah print.

tiger cheetah pink nails

Patriotic Ombre Nails

This was my first true ombre nail design. It was time-consuming, but worth it for sure!

American flag ombre nail design

I call it a “patriotic” nail design because I used red and white as the main colors, with blue star glitter. There was no particular American holiday the week I wore this design, but in my view any time is a good time to be patriotic with one’s nails!

patriotic american flag ombre nails

Chevron Nails

My aunt didn’t ask me specifically to paint the Chevron symbol on her nails. But somehow, the design I painted under her artistic direction ended up looking quite like the symbol for that car company!

chevron symbol purple nail design

I wasn’t too pleased with how this design turned out, but my aunt seemed to like it. As long as the customer is happy, I guess…

purple chevron nail design

Crocodile Style Nails

It seems my younger brother’s fascination with reptiles has rubbed off on me a little bit! For this nail design, I invented a homegrown “sgraffito” technique utilizing a paper clip to draw a pattern reminiscent of crocodile scales on most of the nails. It’s a bit faint, but here it is:

crocodile scale nails

On each middle fingernail, I painted a red eye to represent the eye of the crocodile. Here it is peeking out at you:

crocodile nails with red eye

Passion in Pointillism 

This belated Valentine’s Day nail design was one I had been dreaming of and planning for over several weeks. I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

pointillism heart nail design Valentine's Day 2014It’s one of my heart’s true passions – nail art – displayed in pointillism form!

Valentine's Day 2014 nail design heart pointillism

Monarch Mani

When my mom first saw this nail design, on which I’d worked very hard to try and emulate the wings of monarch butterflies, she insisted it looked like “just an abstract design.” I was very disappointed, and thought, here goes another long week of having to explain my wacky nails to people.

monarch butterfly nails

Fortunately, as it turned out, my mom was the only person who didn’t get my nails. Everyone else that saw them guessed immediately that they were monarch butterflies.

monarch butterfly nail design

People were still complimenting me on this nail design several weeks after I’d taken it off. Success!

monarch butterfly thumbnails

Indian Textile Nails

I intended this nail design to be somewhat reminiscent of the famously vibrant textiles of India. Not sure I was entirely successful, but it’s still a pretty good design!

Indian textile nail design

St. Patrick’s Day 2014

I made sure to avoid being pinched this St. Paddy’s Day with this unmistakably green festive nail design!

St. Patrick's Day nails 2014

Each ring finger was gold and glittery to represent the fabled pot ‘o’ gold at the end of a rainbow in traditional Irish folklore (or at least, the American stereotypical conception of traditional Irish folklore.) The middle fingers and thumbnails sport four-leaf clovers for good luck, and the other fingers are green with glitter (because you can never have too much glitter!)

st. patrick's day 2014 nail design

Tart Deco Nail Design

My mom and I both love the Essie brand nail color, “Tart Deco.” Here I painted it onto my mom’s nails, and added a modern-art style nail design.

Essie tart deco nails

Organic Mani

When my friend painted my nails all the same green color, I knew I’d get bored of sporting plain,  homogenous nails before too long. As soon as I got home from my friend’s house, in fact, I added this design over the green layer she’d already laid down for me.

organic green plant nail art

While the nail polish we used was definitely not “organic” per se, the curling stems and pink blooms I painted certainly made me think of nature.

green plant organic nails

Tribal Triangles

I’ve been into the “tribal” style of fashion lately. These nails are sort of reminiscent of tribal jewelry.

triangles orange blue nail design tribal

Springtime Mani

Aren’t these blue nails with little pink blossom petals the perfect manicure for spring?

pink and blue flower petal nails

My mom requested this design, one I had never tried before, and luckily it turned out pretty well. Here are the thumbnails:

blue/pink flower petal nail design

Pink Pop Art Nails

These nails were intended to reflect the style of pop art: bright colors and bold shapes.

pop art nail design

The dotted nails used Ciaté brand “Comic Book,” a super awesome matte glitter topcoat I found at Sephora and totally recommend!

pop art nails boxes

Mondrian Mani

My mom approached me one early spring weekend with an unusual craving for a very particular nail design: one inspired by Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter whose famous works include many like this:

Mondrian_CompRYB(picture from Wikipedia)

Here is our interpretation:

lavender nails inspired by artist Piet Mondrian

Even my very anti-nail polish little brother was interested, and asked my mom what inspired this design.

Piet Mondrian inspired nail design

While it was time-consuming, I think the end result was worth it!

Piet Mondrian artist nail art

Wedding Mani

This was my first commission to paint a relative’s nails for a formal event. My cousin was going to a wedding and dared to allow me, an uncertified amateur, to add a design to her salon manicure for the event. Each ring finger ended up looking like this:

wedding nails lines dots

And the thumbs sported this pattern:

wedding nails pink lines thumbnail

Flowery Fingernails

Flowers are surprisingly hard to master on nails. I’ve attempted and failed to paint flowers many times. But this design on my aunt’s nails seemed to be a success.

purple nails flowers design

One response

  1. A year expressed through nail art (or 1/3 of a year, anyway)

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