I was about eight years old when I first got interested in nail polish. The culprit was a copper-red bottle that was my mother’s; its fiery color made even more fascinating by the fact that it’d come from the mystical-sounding place that was the pharmacy my father worked at in Jerusalem. Needless to say, the scenery couldn’t have been more different from the generally cloudy-skied Brussels neighborhood I grew up in. I liked the color so much I was convinced I’d want my nails to always, and only, be that one color. (Oh how things change!)
By then I’d already dabbled with painting–mostly with watercolors–had written my first poem at seven, and actively kept heartfelt diaries that included detailed classmate rosters and concise school field trip descriptions.
The years of tomboyishness and general disinterest in many ‘things feminine’ gradually faded, as my love of painting migrated to make-up art. A few years later still, and my nail polish collection was as varied and colorful as my make-up box’s. To be sure, there were different reasons for said re-emergences, but I’m definitely glad to have come across some helpful nail care blogs, such as one of my favorites The Polish Aholic.
So after years of acquiring nail polishes, I recently went through a stash and found quite a few old bottles–and by old I mean anywhere between 10-15 years old.
It may be that formulas have changed (which I imagine is the case), or perhaps that some brands make better nail polishes than others, because let’s just say a lot of these brands are not ones I’d buy today. Thankfully years of experimenting have led to product and ingredient knowledge that inevitably result in favorite brands. And though I was aware of great recycle programs such as Zoya’s Earth Day Nail Polish Exchange, for some reason I just kept them.
And then one day I had the idea to try painting with them. It’d been at least 12 years since I’d last painted something, so I thought why not give it a try? I’d recently purchased some small artist canvases and paints but their dullness upon drying left me longing for a shiny topcoat–and the dawning realization that perhaps I needed to paint with oils instead.
Anyhoo, I’ve done 3 paintings so far using old nail polishes, and I have to say, I’m quite glad I didn’t get rid of them. Of course it’s great to do so if you’re sure you don’t want them, but I’m also glad to have found a new use for them. I also like to challenge myself, since I paint specifically using only these old, and sometimes dried out ones. God knows I have enough colors to pretty much do any scenery with a range of colors, but so far I’m limiting myself to these 12, most of which are pinks. I use the nail polish’s brush and I’ve also tried using other paint brushes. However I’ve noticed some brushes may dry up and may not be suitable for the harshness of nail polish–it’s all in experimenting.
I love art and I love the art created using nail polish, so why not combine the two? I’m definitely hooked! Another random thought: would I be able to incorporate make-up in paintings as well? I suppose I could–ie: smudging, splattering, etc? But that’s a project for another day. 🙂
The first one:
The second one:
And the third one – my rendition of Matisse’s Femme au Chapeau: