I am a retired colorectal surgeon working in Sheffield but painting is in the blood. In the early days, science took precedence over art. I was told that you can do art as a doctor, but not the other way round. My late father (GS Shorthouse VPRMS HS) taught me to paint watercolour miniatures, exhibiting at the Hilliard Society of Miniaturists (HS) and the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Etchers and Sculptors (RMS). My sister is a well known floral watercolour artist (www.viviennecawsonart.co.uk). I was elected RBSA (Member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists) in 2022.
As a surgeon I went to Ron Ranson’s watercolour courses, and exhibited at the Medical Art Society. As I became progressively busier in my surgical career, active leisure painting stopped, but always intending to return to art in retirement. I then went to Paul Wright’s oil portrait workshops in Leicester and did life-drawing sessions.
Art and surgery are inextricably linked. It is extraordinary just how many medics do art.
I designed Armorial Bearings and the Presidential Chain of Office on behalf of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland (ACPGBI) and subsequently was elected President before retirement. The Arms were registered with College of Arms in 1994.
I was President of the Section of Coloproctology of the Royal Society of Medicine and a founder member and President of the European Society of Coloproctology.
Charity work can be rewarding. In 1993 I curated an exhibition of paintings by my own family and a group of Sheffield artists on behalf of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital Endoscopy Appeal, Sheffield, and an art exhibition at the annual meeting of the Association of Surgeons in Harrogate in 1994.
All proceeds from my paintings are donated to charity, notably St Luke’s Hospice, Sheffield, where I am a patron.