November 4, 2014

Nails for Yiayia

Catherine Hatzilias was an amazingly gifted woman.  She had an incredible singing voice.  Her garden was truly an Eden, a sanctuary, a paradise.  She was a devoted wife, loving mother, and an incredibly passionate Yiayia (grandmother).  She was also an amazing artist, her favorite medium being paint on canvas - or anything she could get her paints on.  She kept painting even after rheumatoid arthritis severely crippled her hands.

My mother once showed Catherine my nail art, which I'd posted on Facebook.  "Wow!  Katie, they look professional!" (If only you could hear that in her voice.  Such a sweet, melodic voice she had.)  I should paint these things on paper or canvas, she said, so I can frame them.  But my only painting skill is with polish - on paper, everything I do looks gloppy.  "Why not paint with nail polish on paper? So?"  Dear sweet Yiayia, she'd have done it if you handed her some polishes and a piece of paper.

(I told my mom to tell Yiayia that I want to paint her nails some time.  "Oh, ya! That's what my hands need! One nail goes up, one nail goes down. You better paint something I can put on the wall instead.")

So, when I heard of the death of Catherine, my Yiayia, my namesake, one of my first thoughts was that I needed to paint my nails for her.  Specifically, I wanted to paint them to match one of my favorite paintings of hers.  I have no idea how old this painting is - I just know that it's been on the wall in her house for as long as I can remember, and that I have always loved it.  

 This photo really doesn't do it justice.

Some nail artists that I've seen could probably get that wispy, watercolor look of the background onto their nails.  I probably could if I had several hours or even a whole day to work on it, but I had to sort of rush this nail art so I could fly from Maryland to Michigan for the funeral.  So I went with a simpler look: the wallpaper-y stripes that I've often seen in vintage rose nail art designs.  Pink on my left hand, and blue on my right.


My flowers look more like Yiayia's later paintings, when she could really only paint using dots due to her severe arthritis.  I'm totally okay with that.

I didn't feel that any of my pinks were the right shade, so I mixed Zoya Wendy with Julep Bunny and a bit of China Glaze Innocence.  The lighter stripes have extra white in them.

I didn't notice until editing these photos that I dinged my middle finger here.  
Which is surprising, because I wore this design for a whole week!

My blues felt like a better match, so I simply used Zoya Robyn and mixed in a little bit of Bunny for the stripes.


I did three different colored flowers: white with a pink center (I really meant to make them more red), using a mix of China Glaze White on White and Sally Hansen CSM Red My Lips; blue (Robyn and Bunny) with a darker center (Robyn); and pink (Wendy and Bunny) with a darker center (Wendy).  The leaves are Spoiled by Wet N Wild Green To Be Heard, lightened up with Bunny.


And the glitter nails have a thin layer of Nicole By OPI Heavenly Angel with a coat of Zoya Sparkle Gloss on top.  I actually kind of wish I hadn't used Heavenly Angel, because it didn't look as delicate as I'd thought it would, but oh well.  It still looked nice.

 Blue nails and blue flowers.

My mom was really proud of my nails, so she snapped all of these shots with my nails in front of the painting on her phone.

Pink and pink.

Painting these nails for Yiayia was both cathartic and nostalgic.  It brought me back to all the times I used to sit and paint with her.  I just wish I'd gotten the chance to paint something beautiful on her nails, rheumatism and all.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Katie-Kate. I did not see this blog post until today. What a beautiful tribute! I mean, your nail art dedicated to Yiayia and in her style was itself a beautiful tribute that I absolutely adore, but this post! ::sniffles:: Beautiful, Kate, just beautiful. Yiayia is SO proud of you! So am I. I'm proud of you for your lovely nail art, and also for your writing. And yes, Yiayia did and still does want you to paint with nail polish on paper... or canvas, or, you know, a chair or a wooden spoon. :D <3