Have You Always Wanted to Be an Artist?


I believe that artists are born. They are creative individuals with a keen sense of observation, and an intense desire to share what they observe with the world around them and with generations yet to come. They are messengers, creators, communicators. Though other obligations, vocations or passions may intervene, artists will find a way and a time to express themselves.

For example, Robert Silverman is a doctor. He has had impressive training and a long and notable career. Silvermant ran a practice of internal medicine and endocrinology in Armonk, N.Y., for 27 years. Then he become the chief of medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital Center in Mt Kisco, N.Y., followed by a position as medical director for Cigna Healthcare.

Robert Silverman is also, and has always been, an artist, even though he did not begin to work intently on his craft until he left his medical practice. He fell in love with India ink as a drawing medium and took his first art lessons when he was just 6 years old. He had dreams of becoming an animator for Walt Disney. But Silverman’s interest in biology led him into medicine, a field not necessarily incompatible with his childhood love of art.

“Creative thinking is common to both medicine and art,” Silverman said. “Making a diagnosis is more a right-brained activity than is commonly believed.”

Indeed both artists and doctors are keen observers, problem solvers and have the ability to focus intently on details. For Silverman, it was an easy progression from medicine to art.

“There is a great feeling of satisfaction when I get a painting to look ‘just right.’ This is comparable to the emotional fulfillment I experienced when I would make a diagnosis in a patient with unusual symptoms, treat him or her, and help them to feel well again,” Silverman said. “The relative importance of these two activities to society might be debated, but the emotional reaction I experienced was similar.”

In those who are born artists, the urge to create is always there. Skills may need to be honed, new materials and methods may need to be learned, but current research indicates that artistic talent is innate and that creative brains are indeed structurally different compared to non-artistic brains.

In Susan Scutti’s book, Are Artists Born This Way Or Do They Become Different By Choice? Brain Scans Reveal Truth, she looks into whether artists’ brains are different than others.

“The artists had structurally different brains and the distinctions existed in regions of the brain linked to visual imagery and fine movements,” Scutti wrote. “Those better at drawing had increased density of gray matter in the left anterior cerebellum and the right medial frontal gyrus.”

Even after years of experience in another career, eventually the day came when a lifetime of observations were conveyed through successful works of art.

Silverman’s paintings are currently being displayed at The Governors Club, 10134 Governors Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27517.

Ora Sorensen (orasorensen.com) was born in New York but grew up overseas in such countries as Libya, Turkey, Iran, Holland and Thailand. Her paintings are collected worldwide and have been shown in numerous exhibitions.