Saturday, November 26, 2011

31 DAY CHALLENGE -- Day 27: Inspired by Artwork

Hey everyone! Today is Day 27 of the Challenge, which means INSPIRED BY ARTWORK NAILS. While I love Van Gogh's Starry Night, I wanted to go with another artist who gets less love: Henri Matisse.

Matisse is famous for using very bright, bold colors in his paintings. Later in his life, when his health began to fail him and he could no longer paint, he switched to making collages. He wrote: "The paper cutouts allow me to draw with color. For me, it is a simplification. Instead of drawing an outline and then filling in with color - with one modifying the other - I draw directly in color... It is not a starting point, it is a completion." And I love that. In dance, we're taught to use the efficiency of movement in our art, and that's exactly what Matisse did.

His last (and arguably most important) work was a collection of mixed-media collages. Matisse arranged brightly colored paper cutouts into striking compositions, and added written text in his own handwriting to create a book that has been referred to as "the visual counterpart of jazz music". He originally planned for his book to be called The Circus, but eventually changed his mind as he wrote the accompanying text. Many of the collages feature circus performers. Just 250 copies were printed in the first edition, but Jazz has been reprinted over and over, and it's still in print today!

I first fell in love with Matisse's work back in high school. I painted his Creole Dancer on a ceiling tile at school.. and then I also got to paint a huge 16' x 9' mural of Sorrow of the King in the art hall at school during my senior year. That was really cool.... I wonder if it's still there?

Creole Dancer
Sorrow of the King
 But those aren't the painting I decided to go with for my nails. This time, I decided to do a Matisse that I haven't done before... the first picture of this post: Icarus.

Icarus was a character from Greek mythology. He was the son of Daedalus, who was the most famous inventor of his era. According to legend, Daedalus invented wings of wax and bird feathers for himself and his son to escape from the island of Crete. Daedalus warned Icarus to be careful, but Icarus wouldn't listen. He loved flying so much, he got excited and flew too close to the sun. The sun's heat melted his wings, and he fell to his death in the sea below. 

I used Wet N Wild's Saved by the Blue for the base, and acrylic paints for the accent nail. I really love Saved by the Blue. it's such a bright, striking color! I thought about adding stars to my other nails as well, but ultimately decided against it because I wanted the focus to be on little Icarus.

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I hope you've enjoyed your mini art history lesson today! Dance and art are two things I'm pretty passionate about, so I was really excited for this prompt. :)


  1. Great manicure. I love the inspiration. I also love the art history and mythology lesson too. :)

  2. I love Matisse-he's one of my favorite artists. You did a great job on Icarus!

  3. Love love love this nail art!!!  This is definitely one of my fave looks!  By the way, I adore the look of the blog.  Snowmen are my favorite!!!


  4. Thanks, Steph! I really love sharing history and info on stuff that I'm passionate about. :D

  5. Yay! I'm glad to know someone else who loves him too! I feel like he doesn't get enough love sometimes. ♥

  6. Thanks, love! I rather enjoyed having little Icarus pal around with me all day.. He might come back for visits from time to time!

    Is it too busy? I feel like it's a bit much with the header and background. Hmm...