Monday, August 18, 2014

Making Nails

In July, the Thorspecken Clan descended on Orlando. Cornelia and her daughter Nini came from Wiesbaden Germany, Don, Val and their kids, Nichole and Kyle came from Connecticut. Carol and her kids, Anna and Kristen came from Upstate New York. Terry and I drove to the hotel where everyone was staying on the first night. Anna immediately wanted to borrow my watercolor paint supplies. I gave her a watercolor palette and a brush and for the rest of the evening she created a tropical sunset on a paper plate. Mark Bishop took a test drive in Terry's new Porche, and his animated excitement about the ride was fun to watch.

Anna then began to experiment with painting fingernails and toe nails. She created pink strawberry toenails  with bright green leaves and then neatly placed black seeds. Other nail designs included smiley faces and floral nails. Every woman left with fully painted toe nails and finger nails.When everyone came to our house for a visit, Anna set up a little lab on our kitchen table. A blue plastic cup was filled halfway with water and then fingernails paint was poured in. The nail polish floated on the top of the water and then she would pour in another color into the center creating concentric rings of color that floated on the water. She would drag a small stick into the slick and pull it outward much as baristas do with patterned foam in a coffee cup. The result was a sort of colorful spider's web. She would then submerge a fake fingernail under the slick and try to get the pattern to appear on the top of the nail. The experimenting went on for hours and Terry helped out by attaching nails to sticks.

I'm still experimenting with a tablet to draw, and the results are a bit garish as I get used to the interface and controls. I haven't yet found the tools that can give me a spontaneous took that I usually get from splashing real watercolors on the page. Like Anna, I need to keep playing until I get the results that I want. Terry hates the look of the digital sketches and feels I should stop trying to use technology to sketch. I'm stubborn however and I'm convinces that in time I'll get amazing results. I'll keep throwing spaghetti at the wall until it starts to stick. If I look back at the sketches I did the first year I started this blog, I have to admit that there was plenty of sketches that just didn't work back then. I just need to find the tools that work for me. Right now I'm fighting the machine but eventually when it becomes fun to work with I'll improve. One step forward, two steps back, that is what it takes to keep growing as an artist.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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