Thursday, September 4, 2014

The 31-Day Nail Art Challenge Day 4: Green - Malachite Nails

Since my degree is in geology, I get a lot of inspiration from nature -- specifically, from rocks and minerals (there's a difference - know it, respect it!  :^P  ).  There is an incredible range of beautiful and colorful inspiration that can be derived from the study of geology, from invertebrate paleontology to mineralogy and petrology, stratigraphy, and even hydrogeology!  Until now, I haven't done a single nail art design related to this topic, which is surprising, since I find it endlessly fascinating and have a long list of designs I'd like to try.  Luckily, for the fourth day of this challenge, the idea for the design was obvious to me:  malachite.  Malachite is a fascinating copper-rich mineral that often grows in concentric rings (forming little baby stalactites).  When ground smooth, these laminations of malachite appear as little blobby circles of different shades of bright, bold green.  For obvious reasons, malachite is used pretty extensively in jewelry.  Interestingly, it also forms as a pseudomorph of another copper mineral, azurite (a pseudomorph happens when one mineral changes through chemical processes to another mineral, preserving the original shape of the first mineral).  Azurite is a fantastically bright blue mineral, and often, these minerals are found together as an amalgamation of vibrant blue and green crystals.  Isn't nature amazing?!?

Aaaannnnnnyyyhoo, I wanted to replicate the texture of polished malachite on my nails, and ended up with the following results:

I'm super happy with how these turned out, even though I had a few setbacks along the way.  For reference, here is a picture of some polished malachite:
Link here.  Disclaimer:  While I personally am not a believer in the healing properties of crystals,
my motto is "to each their own!"   She also has lovely pictures of rocks!
To create these designs, I used acrylic paint exclusively, since I didn't have the right colors of nail polish. I used two shades of green as well as white to produce the designs.  I first painted a light green base on my nails, and then painted large and small circles with dark green.  Using the light green, I painted rings inside of the dark green circles, and so on, until my dots looked the way I wanted.  I then used the light and dark green to paint little shapes in between the circles.

The paint above was my main issue -- it had separated in the tube into a clear gel and a grainy green sludge.  This made doing the dark green bits super difficult and annoying, and made the finished surface super bumpy.  I'd like to try this again with better quality paint, to see if I could get smoother circles and a better overall effect, but for now I'm satisfied with the results.

I ended up using two coats of Salon Perfect Topcoat to smooth it out... I might need to pick some up really soon; my bottle is almost empty!

What aspect of your life regularly inspires your nail art?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments :^)

Before you go, don't forget to check out the incredible work of other nail artists at the end of this post, and be sure to add yours to the list if you are participating!  The prompts for this challenge are in the image below, courtesy of Sarah at Chalkboard Nails! 

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