Finally! I can do a gradient that I like! This tutorial from Nailasaurus is what made the difference. Thanks, Sammy!
I used Revlon Muse, a muddy green cream, and China Glaze Sea Spray, a light blue-grey cream with a shimmer. A little about the polishes: Muse is a polish I was ambivalent about for a while before I bought it. It's one of those colors that I wasn't decided about until I wore it. I like the way it works with my skin-tone; it leans greener than it does in the bottle, where it appears a little muddier. Sea Spray is from last summer's collection from China Glaze. It's a very pretty, ladylike grey. I think it is a moderately adventurous but still subtle color for people who tend not to venture into wearing blues and greens, but are a little tired of more traditional colors like pinks and reds. As much as I like these polishes individually, I think I like them even better together. I think the soft earth tones are a different take on a spring palette. Note: You'll notice a trench in my middle finger. I tried to repair it, but to poor effect. Also, my cuticles are stunning right now. Apologies for both.