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Organ of Corti! This itty bitty, teeny tiny organ can be found deep inside the cochlea. Found within are these little hairs that are attached to special sensory cells. When vibrations from sound wiggle the hairs, they send messages to the sensory cells, which relay it onto the brain, where we can make sense of those vibrations. So really the mini-structures found in this organ are the very essence of sound itself and are so very special for all things auditory. But HOW SPECIAL AND FANTASTIC is this organ for the eyes? The histology slides I’ve seen of the Organ of Corti are so dang beautiful, they take my breath away. The first time I saw one I knew it was meant to be rendered in watercolor. And so I have, multiple times.
With this particular painting, I had the idea to turn the organ 90 degrees and paint a reflection. It gives a very Rorschach inkblot feel, doesn’t it? I did very little to “abstract” this painting, since the structure itself doesn’t need much alteration to look distinct and abstract. The overall effect I think… I hope… is an arresting and intriguing structure whose minimalist portrayal belies the shocking physiological complexity within.
I’ll also mention that this is a part of my Reflections on the Senses series. Every painting in this series contains a light, airy component and a dark and desaturated component. This is to remind us that we have a choice as to what we fill our senses with. We can, and usually do, waste our senses by filling them with, simply put, mindless junk. Instead, let’s choose to enrich ourselves by placing enlightening and empowering material in front of our ears, eyes, hands and more.
The organ of corti watercolor original can be found here. Enjoy!