Stormy Skies Nail Art for Kelly

It’s been a while since I made such a wonderful mess over a couple days to create a design. I had many polish bottles, brushes, paints, liquids, etc. spread out all over my work space. It felt good!! I admit, I waited one more day before tidying up — viewing the aftermath was satisfying. Stormy Skies Nail Art
Purple storm cloud rolling in behind windmill in Colorado sky

So – has the title of this design peaked your interest? I hope so. I was able to include step-by-step pictures along with more details; as well as, the inspiration story and image to share with you today. Hope you’ll click on to check it out!!

Today is Kelly’s Birthday. I became acquainted with this kind gal on Instagram (@kpnailexpressions) and her two friends Tijana (@nailart_t) and Silvie (@cheekynailmonkey) invited a group of us to create a special design for her day. Kelly is an incredibly encouraging and supportive member of our nail art community and it was a pleasure to join her friends.

Also, Kelly’s husband is a talented photographer with an impressive portfolio — some can be seen on his Instagram account: @dphotosco. Many of his famous shots are taken when he and Kelly are storm chasing. Of course, living in Colorado where the landscape is perfect for beautiful and dramatic photos is also a plus.

So for this Birthday Nail-Gram Party – the hosts asked us to create a design using purple (Kelly’s favorite color) and either a festive or storm themed topic. Here is the collage that Silvie made for the group:

Silvie added some of the storm photos in the collage –
including the one I used for my inspiration Stormy Skies Nail Art
I combined a few types of techniques to create these – including smoosh (which is favorite of Kelly’s)

It is so fun to surprise someone with these collages and nails made just for them. I wish I was physically able to create a design each time I’m invited. This one was particularly challenging with a non-traditional choice of theme. I’m not ashamed to say that it took me a bit of gear grinding to come up with an idea. Stormy Skies Nail Art
A lot of my outdoor shots were taken during a very cloudy morning — appropriate, eh?

Kelly’s “signature” nail poses often include natural props/backgrounds like a piece of weathered wood or fence. I tried to get a few shots in this style for her; and enjoyed the attempts. But I don’t have the grace or the help of a photographer. (I can only get the camera just so far away from my finger tips in these poses — short arms! LOL)

Design Details

As I mentioned, there were lots of amazing photographs on Dustin’s page to peruse for design ideas. In the end, I picked this photograph as my inspiration:

Even though the storm cloud here wasn’t purple (as it was in some of his other photographs, I adapted my design to fit the requested theme.

I was going for a layered, almost old-school collage like look. Without testing things, I just started doing it….(gulp). Here’s how I created the design:

    1. Base color: One coat of my favorite off-white creme undies with top-coat.
    2. Using liquid latex: masked off my line where the storm clouds will meet the sky color.
    3. Painted the lower “half” of the nails using the stormy grey/blue polish. Peeled off the latex. (Applied top coat after this picture below.)
    4. Using the liquid latex again, masked off the opposite “half” of the nail to keep the next step from covering up my sky (and intentionally leaving some of the white base to show through as my bottom lining for the storm cloud).
    5. Added my smoosh storm cloud by putting the polish onto a stamper and then smooshing onto my nails. Peeled up the latex.
    6. Using liquid latex again, I covered all except the “tips” to create my horizon line with the land.
    7. Added my smoosh landscape to the tips using the same method as in #5. Peeled up the liquid latex.
    8. Using a nail art brush, filled in the top outline of the storm cloud to represent the darkened sky.
    9. Applied (what I thought) was the final coat of top-coat.
    10. Even though I liked the results at this point – it was a bit too abstract for the particular prompt of purple & storm for Kelly. First I tried matte topcoat. Closer.
    11. Then later I got up the courage to add more finishing touches. I took a small nail art brush and applied some of the same dark purple along the line meeting the purple smoosh and then softened it with some acetone to give it more of a cloud-like edge.
    12. Next, I also grabbed a darker green and added a thin line for the horizon (again, used some acetone to soften the appearance) giving it more of point of reference for the design.
    13. I used acrylic paint and created several little windmills on my desktop silicone mat. Picking the one I liked the best, I put a layer of top coat over it. When dry, I applied it to my nail as a decal.
    14. And finally, one last coat of matte top coat over everything. Stormy Skies Nail Art
      The final result – after three days’ sessions of adding to it!
For the first time in a long time, I’m happier with the design AFTER adding the final touches. This has been historically the step that I feel I “ruin” the design. However, today I’m pleased as punch. I actually don’t want to take these off!

Polish Palette


I really enjoy getting to use a variety of older and new polishes from my collection. The Girly Bits polish, Stormy Skies, was one that I got from another nail art blogger in her destash sale over two years ago. I can understand needing to keep the size of a polish collection to a manageable herd, especially for space constraint reasons…but so far I just can’t seem to purge any of mine.


A little closer view of my semi-dilapidated windmill

Being a bit cheeky myself, I took some photos with some theme related props: Stormy Skies Nail Art
I knew right away I wanted to incorporate this polish!

I wore this design without the added details for a day and enjoyed the abstract look. It could be representative of a painting all on its own. Stormy Skies Nail Art
Do you prefer the crisp look with a glossy top-coat or the “cloudy” look with matte top-coat?

Having added the horizon details and the windmill finally created the look of my inspiration and the party’s theme. I hope Kelly enjoys it!! Stormy Skies Nail Art
These colors worked so well together.

And, the end-of-summer blooms are poking up around our house (fighting their way among the weeds…). Thus giving me another, perhaps final Summertime, chance to do a collage of my nails and flowers for the blog:

Iris, hibiscus, rose, dahlias and more!

Oh – and the non-flower prop (in the collage above) is part of a antler carving (from an elk) made by a mid-westerner in our family. It hangs outside overlooking some of these flowers. One of the antler points is also my prop is in the very first photo of this post. Stormy Skies Nail Art
One more look…

Did you enjoy these nails? I really did. I won’t say they came out like I imagined in my head, but I still has happy with the end result. I’d love to hear your thoughts!!

Till Next Time,

PS –  Thank you so very much for all the wonderful comments made on my Blogiversary post!! I’m truly touched and appreciative of all the feedback. Haven’t entered my Blogiversary Giveaway yet? Only a few more days left…