The beating art of a hospital theatre

Dr Bob Smith (Damjan Janevski) 243236_01

Goya Dmytryshchak

For decades, Dr Bob Smith has held patients’ lives in his hands.

Now, the retired anaesthetist has gained recognition for his paintings of scenes in the operating theatre.

Dr Smith, 79, was appointed director of anaesthesia at Western Health in 1984 and worked for them until five years ago.

He continues to go into Footscray Hospital for a four-hour session once a week.

Dr Smith, who worked at Sunshine and Footscray hospitals, has been painting for decades.

“After I was divorced from my wife, pretty close to 40 years ago, it was something for me to do when I was home by myself,“ he said.

“Essentially, landscapes – and most of them are Australian landscapes – and portraits or people doing things; colleagues and friends, almost entirely. And family.“

He also does ink and pencil drawings.

“At my house, here, I would have 30 books of drawings,“ he said.

“For instance, on a Canadian rockies cruise, up the Canadian coast, I only took pencils and a drawing book – I didn’t take a camera.“