Saturday, 30 November 2013

Playing catch up with 'October Week' - Nail Art Challenge, Inspired by an Artist (final challenge) Pick Your Favourite!

YESSSSS! I have been looking forward to doing this mani since before I started this nail art challenge in July! Life got in the way and I have had some time off, but there is absolutely no way on earth I was going to miss the last installment of this challenge. I had planned on doing a mani inspired by this artist even before I knew what the group had organised, and so when I decided to participate I chose to put my personal plans on hold and save it for the last week of the 'Inspired by an Artist' challenge. So I have been waiting a long ass time for this moment, and nothing was going to stop me from doing this final mani!

The last week of this challenge is 'Pick Your Favourite!' and there can only be one winner for me, this is the legendary Gustav Klimt. Though the name may not be familiar to you, there is one particular painting of his that probably will be as it is generally quite well known, I see it everywhere, and it's the painting here on the right called ' The Kiss'.

 Now before you read any further please know, I am a total nerd about this guy, this is as about as nerdy as I get for anything. I really really love his work and I really don't think I could live without it, so you are gonna have to forgive me for the lengthy post because this is an artist I'm quite passionate about! By the time I've told you why I love this guy, and then about the painting I chose for my nailspiration, we will have been here a while already, I just find everything about it so interesting! If you've got shit to do and just want to see the nails, scroll down to the bottom (you will see a second painting on the way down that my nails are inspired from), but if you've got 10 minutes and the patience for a bit of a read, there is at least a cool little story in it for you too!

Gustav Klimt was from Vienna, Austria, and is also famous for being the founder and leader of the Vienna Secession along with a few other prominent Austrian artists. This group was created because Klimt and the other artists had grown tired of the original Association of Austrian Artists, who were more focused on a conservative, traditional style of historic art.

Klimts images are full of fantasy and imagination, at times even a touch of surrealism, and with a strong erotic undercurrent too it's no wonder that he tired of the conservatism of his previous group and moved on to establish his own. I am so glad he did as the result is a collection of some of the most beautiful and sensual paintings I have ever seen.

If you really only know the painting pictured here, I strongly recommend you go and do a google search on his other works, they truly are spectacular. His rich choice of colour is always absoultely perfect, his use of pattern is imaginative and enchanting, and the sensuality of a lot of his paintings just pours out the images and washes over you. What I really love about Gustav Klimt though, is that he really truly adored women. I am more than a bit of a feminist, I think women are godesses that should be worshipped not just respected, and that we have all failed to understand this for far too long. Despite modern movements for the freedom and equality of women, we are still undervalued, underappreciated, and underestimated, and it grates me that some people still refuse to accept that we are infact the superior sex. (hehehe :)

But Gustav Klimt got it. I look at many of his paintings and I just know that even then in the late 1800's he saw women just as I do now,  as ethereal Godesses to be adored and worshipped and venerated. Every image of a woman he has ever drawn or painted screams 'LOVE, RESPECT, AWE, WORSHIP'. Women were his inspiration, his muses, he understood their power and embraced their superiority, he valued their individual beauty and complex nature, and he appreciated those things. Every single brush strokes says 'I love you and I live for you'. Seriously, what is not to love about this guy?

So now you know why I am totally in love with this artist, and you will hopefully have googled some more of his images and understood what the hell I'm babbling on about, let's talk about my nailspiration!

I chose one particular image to work from, it's one of my absolute favourites, and the image is known as 'Judith 1'.

Judith's story is basically of a beautiful widow who tricked her way into the tent of Holofernes, (a general who was going to destroy her home) by manipulating him using the desire she already knew he held for her. After seducing her way into his tent, she gets the general so drunk that he passes out, at which point she draws his sword, decapitates him and carries the head away with her. There is still some debate today as to wether Judith may also have been a rape victim of the general too, and though the biblical version insists that no such violation took place, let's face it, it's pretty good motivation to go out and chop someone's head off!

The story of Judith has been depicted in literally hundreds of paintings throughout history. Earlier renditions show Judith as a kind of messenger of god, virgin like and chaste, fighting against evil. In more recent times however, modern artists started to explore the darker virtues within her, those that drove her to commit such a violent act. These modern images concentrated more on the seductress that gained access to the general with tempation, a ruthless woman who decapitates a man without a second thought, a fearless and rather aggressive femme fatale.

This image by Gustav Klimt is one of the most famous of those modern and more erotic depictions and I love absolutely everything about it, every last detail, every last significance. I love the use of colour, the bright but warm earthy green mixed with rich metallic golds and bronzes, I love the details and transparency in her robes and the patterns in the background, I love that it shows only half of the decapitated head as though to say to him ''This story is not about you'', and most of all, I love that Judith looks like a powerfully smug, elegantly aggressive, erotically supercharged yet classy as hell, mother fu*kin' Queen! She is flawless and the expression on her face just says it all.

An interesting fact about this painting is that the face of Judith is actually that of Klimts longest standing lover and muse, who's face you can actually recognise in a few of his paintings. I can't recall her name right now (My 50 books on Gustav Klimt are in a storage unit!) but it was reported by friends that Klimt did in fact adore her. I think the fact he chose to use the face of his most loved muse for the role of Judith in this stunning, powerful and fierce portrait, speaks volumes about his perception of her.
She was his Queen, and with this image he's basically saying ''You got my balls in the palm of your hand my Godess, and I love it!''

I have an enourmous copy of this painting waiting for me in my storage unit when I return to Europe, which alway takes pride of place in my house, It's kind of a little welcome note that lets people know who is the Ruler of my kingdom!

I always thought that this painting had some beautiful patterns and colours that might be simple to replicate onto the nails, and as much as I love that Queen, I could never paint her onto my nails with the skill that she deserves, she would end up looking like a cartoon if left to me, so I decided to just leave well alone and stick to the finer details.

My sister in law Taisa is modelling for me again and I am sooooooooo jealous it's not even funny, she's been wearing it for a couple of days now and everytime I see them I wish my nails were in a good enough condition to have done it on me, I guess I'll just have to give it another go on myself when mine are better and hope it comes out as nice!

I used way too many polishes to get into it really, there were like 3 different shades of gold, 5 of green, most of which have mixed or blended, the detailing polish, a flaky (It's an orange and yellow flaky as leaves of the tree on the ring finger but it wouldn't even come up in the pic), a whole bunch of different brushes, I am sure you have heard enough of me going on today already, I guess one day I'm gonna have to start doing videos of all this stuff!

Though certainly not anywhere near Klimts standards, I really like this mani! I was never going to be able to convey all the crazy stuff I see and feel when I look at this painting on my little nails, attempting it would just be setting myself up for disaster, but I still think I've managed to create quite a striking, unusual but elegant design, and considering I painted it all free hand and strictly with polish, I've managed a pretty good job of the small details, which is unusual for me! Regardless of how I feel about this mani, I already know that I will be attempting many more klimt inspired designs in the future!

If you made it this far through my long ass post then I thank you for your attention and patience, I hope you at least found it all as interesting as I do, and that the nails at the end were worth it!

I'll be back next week with a bunch of cool nail designs and swatches that I managed to prepare before I made my big move!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Playing catch up with 'October Week' - Nail Art Challenge, Inspired by an Artist - Jackson Pollock

So as you will have gathered by now, I've spent some time off from my blog due to personal circumstances and now that I am finally back to it I'm trying to catch up on some mani's I've missed out on. 

For several weeks before I  was forced to take time off from my blog, I was taking part in a weekly 'Iinspired by Artists' nail art challenge, organised by the lovely girls in the facebook group ''Llama Nails'.
I've always been interested in art, I am an artist in my own right as I do many other creative things as well as nails, and this was a challenge I just really wanted to particpate in. It was a 13 week challenge and I kept up with it every week so it really sucks to have missed the last 2 weeks just cos life gets in the way. So the last half of October Week is me catching up with my last 2 nail art challenge mani's, and today's artist is Jackson Pollock. 

Pollock is famous for his abstract expressionism using unique 'dripping' techniques. Honestly, I personally don't think much of his work, it's nothing personal against Pollock or his work, I actually don't think much of any of this modern abstract impressionism, I fail to see what's great about it.

Say what you will, but I just don't think there is much talent or skill in randomly splattering paint onto a canvas. It must be very therapuetic yes, I can even understand how fun it must be just going wild and throwing paint everywhere, and yes, I will even admit that sometimes it can be half interesting to look at, but I do not think that the end results even come close to justifying the value placed on some of these paintings, especially not when a four year old is capable of coming up with something very similar! So as interesting as the technique may be, in my opinion it just does not require much talent. I would even go so far as to say that this abstract impressionism is just a bit of a cop out, and I find it a little unjust that someone who basically just paintballs a white screen could come under the same description and title as real amazing talent like Michelangelo, Van Gogh or Picasso, now these guys got talent!

So anyways, now you know how I feel about abstract impressionism, let's move on to the nails! I decided not to take inspiration from any partiular painting of pollocks, I find his choice of colours a little bland actually, so I just decided to stick with the style and do my own thing, and as I'm offiicially entering into the southern hemisphere summer I went for bright neon colours. For this mani I used my sister in law Taisa's nails as my own are not great at the moment, and I didn't realise until after she had already removed the paint job and I saw the picture, that there was something dodgy going on with my camera settings when I took the picture. So the pic wasn't great quality, and I've had to photoshop the shit out of it to get the colours right. 

It took more talent to do the adjustments in photoshop than it did to achieve this effect anyway :)

To do this mani I first painted a base coat of Sinful Colours 'Snow Me White'. I then filled a plastic cup with water, dropped a couple of drops of one colour polish onto the surface of the water, and then sprayed the polish covered water with hairspray to break it up into interesting patterns, and then my girl dunked her nails in to pick up the patterns. Then we picked the next colour and repeated the process. I just used 3 colours in the water, the blue (which came out green on top of other colours) is Jesse's Girl 'Mermaids Lagoon', the pink is Mode 'Love Me', and the orange is a new Brazilian polish that was given to me as a gift by my other sister in law, Thats in another house across the street and I can't be bothered to go get it and see the name right now (lolz) but I'm gonna swatch it for you all in the next couple of weeks anyways, so no worries! 

Of course, I finished everything off with a nice layer of top coat, here I tried another brazilian brand Risque 'Gloss and Shine' I haven't put it to the real test yet, so I will let you know how I feel about it later!

So this is my Pollock mani, I like the colours I used, I think the effect looks pretty darn funky, but I still insist that it really didn't take any skill or talent to do! :)

Tomorrow I will be finishing my October themed week before resuming normal activities, with the last of the nail art challenge series, and this time it's pick your favourite artist! A lot of girls in the group struggled with this one as they found it really hard to choose, I however, had no difficulty at all as there is one artist in particular who always wins for me, and in my opinion is responsible for some of the most beautiful paintings in existence. I love his style, I love his use of colour and pattern, I love his choice of subjects and I love what he expresses in his images, so be sure to catch up with me tomorrow so I can share this amazing artist with you all, and finally complete this challenge!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Playing catch up with ''October Week'' - Halloween Nails!

Hey everyone welcome to my belated naily Oktoberfest, where I am catching up with all the nail occasions I missed that month because that annoying thing called life got in the way!

Now who the hell would want to miss Halloween? I certainly didn't and I wasn't going to let a silly little thing like moving to another country get in my way, so today you get a halloween mani! (Come ooon, who the hell wouldn't want 2 halloweens!?)

I didn't get this mani done in advance before all the madness of my move started, I thought I had plenty of time, and was so so wrong. I also did not take into account that emptying a house of furniture, living in a van for 2 weeks and lugging around tons of suitcases would totally wreck my nails, and at the moment they are not fit to be shown on a blog! I broke most of them during all the stuff that was going and had to file them all right down to tiny little nubs, and have been trying to get them to grow back fast ever since. They have actually done really well and and most of them have grown back nicely, but for some frustrating reason the middle finger nails on both hands just keep breaking and breaking, I've already filed them all down twice, and I refuse to sacrifice all the nice nails yet again just because these 2 little fu*kers refuse to co-operate!

But as luck would have it, I've moved in with the inlaws here in Brazil, and it turns out my sister in law has really nice nails! (The bitch has got those lovely long nails beds that I would kill for, so even when she has nubs they are still long, Gah!) So, she has been employed as my nail model for the rest of this weeks mani's, and then afterwards I have some mani's I prepared on my own nails a couple of months ago before I broke them all to show you too. Hopefully a middle finger nail on at least one of my hands will be fine again soon, because it's so much harder to get good photographs of someone elses nails than it is of my own! 
So let me introduce my guest hands for the week, my sister inlaw Taisa, sporting my halloween design!

I'm sorry that the picture is not as good as they usually are, but Taisa is not used to posing her hands the same way I usually do and had a really hard time with it, this is the best picture I could get in this position.

To do this mani I used my new ILNP Ultra Chromes 'Birefringence' and 'Mutagen' which were delivered to my door just as I started all my packing to leave, so I didn't even get a chance to swatch them for you all before my nails all broke. :( I will do that as soon as my nails grow back, I promise.
If you haven't seen these polishes yet, they are AHHH-MAZING and full of multicoloured shifty awesomeness, but they were totally the wrong polishes to use on a model to show you the awesomeness, as it was too uncomfortable for her to pose her hands in all the various positions required to catch all the colours, so you are going to have to wait until I can swatch them to see how awesome they really are, but at least purple and green are still good halloween colours! 

Everything that I wanted to do for this mani went wrong! On the index finger there are 2 bats and the little finger a spider web, I wanted to do nail stamping for this but when I came to do it, I realised I couldn't find my book of nail stamping plates anywhere! Things have been so mental I don't know where they could be, I don't know if I accidently put them in some boxes of stuff I posted home to my mum in the UK, or if I stupidly left them in Australia somewhere, or if I left them at my husbands other house 800 kms away when we were visiting in the last few weeks, or of they are even around here somewhere and I have just misplaced them, either way I can't find them, and I'm pretty gutted about that as my folder contains my ENTIRE collection of plates, and there is more than a hundred dollars worth in there. :( So pray that it turns up for me please ladies!

So yeah, I free handed the spider web and the bats and they look pretty meh, I could not even get the bats to show up in the picture over that nail polish!

On the middle finger I was trying to do a cool water marble design, but of course that wasn't co-operating either, and after several attempts and watching the level in my expensive and gorgeous ILNP bottles drastically drop, I gave up and went for a beetlejuice type striped design instead. I couldn't cotinue throwing that gorgeous nail polish down the drain!

The ring finger nail turned out OK I guess, I like the green and purple gradient, but my haunted house is not looking very creepy. But hey, at least I actually got to do a halloween mani and didn't have to wait a full year to get the opportunity again! Right?

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Playing catch up with ''October Week'' - Breast Cancer Awareness Mani

Ohhhhmyyyygoooood it's been so so long since I was last here sharing with you all! I just read my last post and had to laugh, go on read it, it's a favourite mani's from September recap posted on the second of October, a post in which I bang on about how I hope my October mani's are as good as Septembers, HA! What October Mani's!? Wishful thinking much?

If you're out of the loop - I just had a huge change in my life. I was living in Australia, but new (and unexpected!) changes to the immigration rules meant that I couldn't stay in the country legally anymore. Bring on the mad rush to basically shut down the life I had built for myself there, and prepare for a huge move to some other part of the world. As you can imagine that whole process has been soooo much more than time consuming, and stressful to stay the least, so my blog had to take a back burner for a while. Worst timing ever, story of my life!

So anyway, Welcome! This is the first post I am writing to you from my new (for a few months) home, with my Husbands family in Brazil! Apologies for taking so long to get back to it, but you know what it's like, you go to your husbands home country to meet your latino inlaws for the first time, and it's all ''heeey, come here and meet this family member, and that family member, eat some barbeque, drink a caipirinha, don't forget to go meet grandma on this side of the country, and the uncle on the other side of the country, and more barbeque, and more caipirinha, and the second cousin twice removed in that other place, and another caipirinha'', and so on and so forth...
I've been here a month and until last week I have basically been dragged around the south of Brazil in a hurricane of introductions, kisses, welcomes and food. Lots and lots of food. And cocktails. Whew! I've basically been eating like I'm on holiday for 6 weeks now because I also had a 2 week road trip in Australia before I got on the plane too, (one last good bye!) and quite tragically I have reached the 'Can't deny that I need to go on a diet anymore' stage, HA! Wish me luck with that one in a months time at christmas! But despite the excess junk in the trunk, it's been wonderful, and a tad overwhelming, and I have officially been approved and accepted into the family, and formally released to return to normal life again!

So here I am back with my lovely little blog (oh how I have missed thee!) and I have a lot of catching up to do! I am sad to have missed October, there were several naily occasions that I really wanted to mark with a nice mani that month, and not only did I miss them all, I didn't get time to post a damn thing! The frustrating part is that I actually had a bunch of mani's prepared for October in advance because I knew it was going to be madness, but I didn't realise that there would be so much madness I wouldn't even get time to write posts for the poor little mani's gathering dust in in my photo vault! I was most sad about the October specific occasions though, so I thought screw it, when I finally get back to the blog I'm just going to have ''October week'' so I can do the mani's I wanted to! And here we are, at my very own belated nail themed Oktoberfest!

First up in my Oktoberfest catch up week is my Breast Cancer Awareness mani. This mani is the main reason I decided to do October week, and I'm sorry that this post is turning into such a long one, but this is a really important one to me because my own mum has literally just had breast cancer. She came off the chemo end of last year and is still going through a multitude of rigourous and invasive tests that keep us in constant fear.
Let me tell you about my mum, she is wonder woman. No really! Not only can I talk to her about anything and she still always accepts me for who I am 100% all the time, (and I got some pretty craaayzee shit going on let me tell ya), she is also the strongest, toughest, craziest bitch I know, she handles everything like a boss and she pulls it off with mad style and elegance. My mum is the last person on earth you would expect to be struck down with something as silly as cancer, and yet, at just 46 years young she was diagnosed with a breast tumor, and chop chop, kissed goodbye to her left tit. (You may be shocked about the way I refer to it, but you should hear how my mum talks about it, cracking sense of humour that woman!) Even the cancer didn't get to her though, during everything with the tests and surgerys and chemo and tit chopping and what not, she still remained the strongest and toughest bitch I know, but more so. So you know this post is dedicated to my mammina! (Thats Italian for little mum, she's fierce, but comes in a tiny, tiny pixie like package!)

 When she was diagnosed with cancer I was soooooo pissed off. My mum has not had an easy life, I have watched her struggle through like a trooper for many, many years in the face of all kinds of stuff that one woman alone should never have to go through. I have grown up longing for the day when she would finally get everything she ever wanted and deserved from life. That day finally came, mammina was bestowed with everything she had ever wanted to make her happy, and at that very same moment the cancer reared it's ugly head threatening to take her away from it all. You cannot begin to imagine how angry I was, she is an amazing person and deserves so much more from her life, it's so unfair that this should happen to her now when her happiness is already so long overdue. I hated whatever cosmic force it was that would deliver such a blow like that to my mum, of all people. So fucking unfair. But mum didn't think so...

She said she was happy with her life, that she had four beautiful children that all turned out way better than she could ever have hoped and prayed for, children that she loves and that love her. She said that even though she had not been with her current partner for very long (it was a couple of years at the time of her diagnosis), she still considered herself most fortunate to have met him and to have finally experienced real love and respect from someone who truly wanted to make her happy, even if only for a short time.
''Some people never get to have what I have had even in a full lifetime, never mind a half'' she said...
''I have been so lucky, and I'm ready to go'' she said...

2 years and an ''all clear'' later, I still can't see things the way she does, I'm still pissed off and angry and think it's unfair, so nobody can tell me that she's not wonder woman, or that she doesn't deserve this dedication, and so much more besides.

In the end it all just goes to show, it doesn't matter how tough and invincible you know you are, nobody, and I mean nobody, is immune to the clutches of the big 'C'. Breast cancer in particular is so ridiculously common, the statistics are insane, and how many of us actually even know how to examine our boobs properly? Or what the hell we are even supposed to feel in there?
If you are not all already fondling your breasts on a regular basis ladies, you bloody well should be. You all need to be at the same point I am, fondling your breasts so often that it becomes second nature and random stangers keep catching you absent mindedly molesting yourself in innappropriate places. You may laugh, but that is how vigilant you need to be! Call me paranoid (though it is in my family now and I think I'm justified in being so) everytime I go to the Doctor for something whatever it is, I always make a point of getting my bewbs checked by a professional too seen as I'm already there, you can never be too careful. For some strange reason the male Doctors are always overly nice to me... :) (I'm just joking of course, all very professional!)

So before I allow you all to finally see my breast cancer mani, I INSIST that you click on this link below and learn how to give yourself a proper breast exam, then you can see the mani as a reward :)
Seriously though, click it bitches. Breast cancer doesn't have to be a killer anymore, but you have to know your body well to make sure you catch it in time, so you can show the cancer who the real bitch is, and not the other way around! If you don't know how to examine yourself, or what your even looking for, then take advantage of this opportunity because you really should know this stuff, regardless of how young you might still be.

OK now you can see my mani haha.

I'm not going to talk about how I did this mani or what I used, this post is already long enough and frankly, how I painted my bloody nails seems so unimportant in light of the real message behind them, we're obsessed with nails yeah but lets at least get our priorities straight! ''Stop painting your nails when you should be stroking your boobs woman!''
If you do have any questions about the nails though, feel free to ask.

I hate to keep you all much longer but I have one last thing to say, or to ask rather, from all of you.

My mum's battle with cancer is still not over. Only one year ago was she given the all clear after her course of chemotherapy, and she still has to have monthly tests to make sure it really is all clear and that it doesn't come back, but the lastest tests have been great cause for concern. Basically the lastest test results have worried the doctors enough to put my mum through yet another rather lengthy series of additonal tests to the ones she usually has, the doctors won't discuss 'potential' problems with her when there may be nothing wrong at all. She will only know what's going on once the confirmed results of their medical exams come in, and in the meantime all the doctors say for now is 'we're just being precautious', but that doesn't change the fact that more tests means more possibilities for negative outcomes. My mammina, trooper that she is, is refusing to worry about it. Until the doctors say there is a problem - there is no problem, and she believes that the postive energy being sent to her from all the wonderful family and friends she has dicsovered are surrounding her during this hard time, will be the biggest influence over what happens next.

So this is what I ask of you my lovely readers and fans, send my mammina some positive vibes, all the positive vibes you can muster, leave that positive energy in a comment below or simply send it from your heart via the airwaves, it really doesn't matter. Just keeping sending your love so I can keep my mum, because she's too young to go, and I'm too young to be without her....

I love you mum XXX

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