Flagged As…

…Intentionally Messy.
Or, another appropriate title for this post might be: Abstract Flag.

Regardless of picking the right title for these nails – I’m thrilled to pieces with the outcome. This may surprise you…hope you’ll read the whole post to find out the details to this odd looking nail design. Can you guess which flag was my inspiration?

I’m getting closer and closer to the end of the #31DC2013 challenge; already at design No. 28 – Inspired By A Flag. Besides the Stars & Stripes, the other American flag that Mr. Kimett and I own, is the Gadsden Flag, (which I’ve used as the backdrop for these pictures). It is the history of this flag which inspires me; NOT it’s current use as a symbol for a recently formed political party. In fact, it is in part, because of the latter that I chose to create an abstract design rather than a representational design.

Note: You most likely have seen this flag, but in case you want a peek – there is a picture of the Gadsden Flag at the end of this post. 

About the Flag: Besides the fact that it is set on one of my favorite colors, a golden yellow field; the historical implications of the flag appeal to me. Mr. Kimett has traced my ancestry showing that I am of English descent starting in Plymouth, MA (where the Mayflower and other ships brought those looking to leave England for America). Somewhere along my heritage it is quite likely at least one relative felt very strongly about this flag from the American Revolution. You can read more about the flag on this page of Wikipedia; but my favorite part is about the choice to symbolize the rattlesnake – and that it’s described with the female pronoun. I’ve copied that section below:

In December 1775, Benjamin Franklin published an essay in the Pennsylvania Journal under the pseudonym American Guesser in which he suggested that the rattlesnake was a good symbol for the American spirit:

“I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?”

Even though I am a bit leery of encountering a snake of any kind in real life, I am a person who respects “All Creatures, Great and Small”. So, even though it out of character for me to have snakeskin patterns on my nails, I really loved the significance of them and the tribute made to this flag.

Design Details

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted an abstraction of this flag on my nails. The best way I can describe my sketch, made prior to painting, is to imagine looking at this flag on the wall and seeing little missing cut-out holes in the shapes of nails all along the coils of the snake. (Like making an apron out of a pair of curtains.) I would have shown you my sketch…but, I got polish all over it – oops. On paper, I drew 5 nail shapes and the snakeskin going in a diagonal across my nail leaving a portion of the nail with just the background yellow color.

Translating my sketch into nail art, I used tape to mark off part of my nail because the stamp image was bigger than my whole nail. This came out a bit funny on some nails – but when you take in all of them, I think it made sense.

Most of the newer renditions of this flag, show the snake atop a mound of jagged green grass. So, I added a little grass section to each nail, also with a partial stamped image. Even though I didn’t focus on the words of the flag, I felt I got the coloring and image depicted pretty well.

Now, what do YOU think? Did I succeed in making an abstract design worthy of its focus? I wanted it to look like it had a purpose, but one that you couldn’t quite figure out without an explanation. While the color yellow and my skin tone don’t make for fashion buddies – I so didn’t care with these nails. I love the color yellow. And, I was pleased with my finished nail design; mostly because I was able to bring my design idea to life. So often, the finished design doesn’t portray the initial idea. Not this time, they looked just like what I wanted them to look like! Messy, but on purpose. 🙂 Yay!

Are there flags that inspire you? I know I have had visits to my blog from many countries – For my non-American readers: did you enjoy this post? Or was it too boring?

Polish Palette:

Polishes (L to R): Sally Hansen InstaDri – Lightening, Zoya – Claudine, Nubar – Greener

Stamping: Vivid Lacquer plate VL011 (used the top half of image of a speech bubble for the grass)

Image from Vivid Lacquer’s Etsy store

and PUEEN14 (diamond snakeskin pattern – I used the one farthest on the right).

Image from ChitChatNails.com

Inspiration Source(s):

The Gadsden Flag (which today can be purchased with a more fluorescent yellow color as shown below, or a more historical golden yellow like mine).

Image Source

And, the “31 Design Challenge” (more info in my previous post here)

Image courtesy of Chalkboard Nails

Thanks for visiting!!

Till next time,