Rick Solves The Comox Glacier

May 4, 2010 · 2 comments

When the rain, fog, and clouds of Vancouver Island aren’t in the way, my parents have a splendid view of the Comox Glacier out of their living room window.

It rains a lot on Vancouver Island.


Guests will often come and go and never catch a glimpse of the fabled edifice, so Rick painted it for them to hang beside the big window. At least this way when they’re socked in, it helps people see what they’re missing.

Come to think of it, that’s what artists do for the rest of us. They help us see what we’re missing.


See that teeny splooge of red at the base of the evergreen on the right? That’s how much I know about the process of painting, just so we’re all clear.

However, I am becoming quite the expert at the process of watching Rick paint.


Painting appears to be a strenuous exercise in problem solving, involving both seeing things as they really are and knowing how to trick the eye into seeing what we think should be there.

Until I started watching Rick paint, I hadn’t realized that I have only been processing my visual world as it makes sense to me, and this is not anywhere close to the same thing as seeing what’s really there.


My favorite part is the guessing game I play with myself as I watch him paint.

(Well, that and the way his shoulder muscles flex. I think I may have mentioned before this makes me want to bite him. But he’s painting and also has a strange aversion to being bitten, so I refrain. Noble of me, don’t you think?)


He’ll stare at the painting for a bit, then squirt out a splotch of the most unlikely color onto his palette, and smoosh it around with a little of this and a dab of that. As he lifts the brush up, I almost always think, “Now, where the heck are you going with that, Mister?! There’s no crying in baseball, and there’s no electric blue in a landscape!”



And all of a sudden, there’s a new freshness or relief or believability or something that hadn’t been there the moment before.


A dribble of honeydew green grows into the top of a tree. A big bold swipe of shark blue… I see the contour of a hill.

And now I think I’m starting to understand how this seeing/tricking thing is done.


It’s magic.

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Debra May 4, 2010 at 9:20 am

Pure Magic. 🙂 I’m sure they’ll be delighted and it will be hung proudly in your parents home. 🙂

Kathy P. May 4, 2010 at 9:18 am


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