Behind the Curtain

Today’s watercolor experiment: another ‘stab’ at pain (pun intended):

I like to understand. Slowly things come into focus. The first thing that came to my mind when I was told, “you have a kidney stone,” was a small rock inside my kidney. Then my doc said, “the pain stops once the stone leaves the ureter and drops into the bladder.” News to me.  Since I need pictures help me understand, I turned to my trusty anatomy book illustrated by the famous Frank H. Netter, M.D.  His section about the kidney was the basis of today’s watercolor.


I used my HB pencil to copy one of the pages depicting the kidneys from one of Netter’s anatomy book. To this figure, I added in some red waves (using techniques from Waves and Reflections) to represent waves of pain. While the paper was still damp, I dripped some red ink in the area of the kidney stone. In the bladder area, I made blue waves. Blue is a cool color and represents a calming relief from pain.

I used yellow gauche to paint an asterisk stone on top of one of the red ink spots. The gauche does not soak in to the underlying color.

I painted in the major vein and artery and used blue ink to outline the ureter. After the stone, I inked the ureter red.

To avoid the look of an anatomy book page, I obscured them with some neutral tint and permanent mauve. The result was a literal visual ‘pulling back the curtain’ on the mystery of what was going on in my gut.

Watercolor: Abstract - Kidneys, Stones and Pain

Behind the Curtain
16″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I put in red ink arrows radiating from the stone and an orange asterisk below the bladder which, I anticipate, will be where the real pain will occur in a week or two.


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