Artists don’t think like other people
By R. W. “Bob” Goetting
For the Porterville Recorder
Robert walked into my office and noticed that I was wearing one of my favorite Friday shirts. It’s a gaudy article, fire engine red with hot sauce bottles all over it. The inscription “Hot Shots” in bright yellow script across the back really sets it off, in my humble opinion. “I like your shirt”, he says with a smile. Robert is a brilliant “tech guy” who has worked for companies here and in Europe and has a great deal of life experience. As he eyed my shirt a smile came across his face. “You know, artists think and see things differently than other people………” I appreciated his good natured observation and he was correct. Artists do have a heightened awareness of color, light, form and atmosphere. They experience life from a different angle than the average person.
What comes to your mind when someone says the word “artist”? In its modern use it includes musicians, actors and dancers but here we concern ourselves with the visual arts. Do you think of a guy in a white smock and beret with a little goatee and a French accent? Maybe you think of a bohemian, a wild unruly carouser who has all sorts of vile habits, staying up all night working feverishly on his masterpiece. Perhaps an unsociable hermit comes to mind; one who works secretly like a mad scientist and appears only periodically to show his work.
Our strange perceptions of the artist are understandable when we look back through time and inspect the behavior of some of the greatest artists to ever walk the earth. After all, who in their right mind runs around in nothing but their underwear all day long, working on paintings and sculpture, living like a peasant in a French Chateau? That would be Pablo Picasso. How about a fellow who failed as a minister before becoming an artist? He created nearly 900 oil paintings in less than 17 years, but managed to sell only one. Yes, that was Vincent van Gogh. Another was an artist so gifted he could paint a masterpiece while holding a deep intellectual conversation at the same time. Talk about multi-tasking, that’s using both halves of the old coconut at the same time. This fellow was fluent in several languages, and had such a capacity for diplomacy, Kings used him as their political envoy for negotiations. This would be Peter Paul Rubens.
These artists are of course the exception rather than the rule, but real live artists are among you right here in Porterville. For the most part, they don’t have berets and goatees, or run around in their underwear. They do however see the world through the eyes of an artist, seeing things that ordinary people ignore or are not even aware of. With their creations, they add color, animation and new dimension to everyday life. You owe it to yourself to wander into the local art galleries or take a trip down to the L. A. County Museum of Art to see an art exhibit. Perhaps you can view the world through the eyes of an artist. Better yet, maybe you will find out what it is like to create art yourself. Who knows, you might look good in a beret.
R. W. "Bob Goetting California artist