Keyword: patient's point of view

Mountain thumb


Robert was often influenced by the lyrics to popular songs. The Elvis song, “Lord, You Gave Me a Mountain,” written by Marty Robbins (1968) is a gospel-flavoured dialogue with God, a tale of pain and bewilderment, a hard life surviving

Hospital Room and Ocean thumb

Hospital Room and Ocean

Robert draws his own feet on a hospital bed and a window in a bare room opening to a world outside that is inaccessible to him, yet a source of dream and hope. This drawing, made in a downtown Toronto hospital, pictures

Red Mitten thumb

Red Mitten

The activity of knitting adds a note of normality to the patient’s condition. Daily routines take on increased importance. The red knitted object placed near the woman’s heart suggests hers is a labour of love. Even as she undergoes treatment

Curtain thumb


Robert had drawn a study of a patient lying before a closed curtain. He showed this drawing to his brother Doug, who suggested adding a second figure glimpsed behind the curtain. Doug was a student of 19th century literature and fascinated

Window (Day) thumb

Window (Day)

Clocks often appear in Robert’s work, especially after his illness. One thinks his drawings of Terry Fox jogging past Halifax’s Old Town Clock, or of the clocks that appear in his images of waiting rooms. This de Chirico-like scene, combining

Visitors thumb


Friendship was always important to Robert, who faithfully kept every letter, card and note ever written to him. Study notes show how the artist planned the image Visitors to be divided into three sections, right, left and center, each conveying

Self-portrait with Dr. Langley thumb

Self-portrait with Dr. Langley

Robert’s third version of the doctor examining a patient reaches back into art history to quote Goya’s Self-portrait with Dr. Arrieta, the physician who Goya credits with saving his life. Goya’s painting is both a grateful tribute and a pieta

New Steps thumb

New Steps

Nurses, like angels, assist a patient, weakened from a long convalescence or possibly a stroke, to get back on his feet. It looks as though a grown man is relearning to walk. This is the start of a journey back to

Hug thumb


Compare this image to Robert’s earlier series about lovers, “A Seal Upon Thine Heart.” In the earlier series, there is a strong feeling of compulsion, bewilderment, loss of control, even at times a feeling of antagonism, as if a battle

Sparrow thumb


The view from the window of spring-time trees in first leaf and blossom, the atmosphere of burgeoning life, contrasts with the patient’s sense of confinement and immobility. The world outside becomes a dream-like fantasy the patient longs to be a