It's an attractive idea: artists just see things the way they are. But Eric Schwitzgebel at the Splintered Mind has his doubts:
The painter learns the skill of seeing the world in a certain way for the purpose of a certain technique, not the skill of apprehending our visual experience as it is in itself.
While he's arguing a different matter - artists do not "see" reality more clearly for the purposes of reproducing it - Schwitzgebel's post brought to my mind a study reported last March by Dave Munger at Cognitive Daily which demonstrated by tracking eye movement that artists habitually take in more of the presented image rather than lingering on the most prominent features of the image.
Schwitzgebel also makes the perfectly logical point that effectively rendering 3-D scenes in 2-D requires the artist to distort appearances.
None of this will of course persuade an abstract painter or poet or musician that her vision is less penetrating than mine, but I get the idea.