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I have mixed feelings when I am commissioned to paint vessels and arteries, for I have found that if I’m not careful, the end result looks more like a barren, leafless tree in the dead of winter, rather than a beautiful, life-giving anatomical structure.
To avoid this painting pitfall, I wanted to add robust texture and lots of color depth to each little branch. I made sure to load up my brush with the richest, deepest reds that I could. Then when I put my brush to paper, I allowed my hand to shake, almost vibrate, when fleshing out the vessel—usually a big no-no in painting! (It felt freeing, let me tell you!)
I also forced myself to lay the color down in very transparent layers, thereby creating the overlapped “panels” of color that you see. This takes a while, as I have to wait for each layer to completely dry before adding the next, but it was worth it. Those transparent panels perfectly frame those dark, vibrant, energetic vessels.
I find the final effect of this painting to be electric. There is so much energy and force thumping within it. It’s the perfect result for an anatomical powerhouse like the carotid.
The carotid in red watercolor original watercolor can be found here. Enjoy!