Alistair Smyth was educated at Hawick High School and Perth Academy.
Deciding against acceptance of a place in medical school, he went to Edinburgh College of Art where he studied drawing and painting, under the then Principal, Sir Robin Philipson.
On completion of his studies he took a teaching post in Easter Ross, based in Tain Royal Academy.
At the age of 26 he was appointed Head of the Art Department at Plockton High School, under the then Headmaster, Sorley Maclean.
At the age of 28 he was appointed Principal Teacher of Art at Lochaber High School, a position he was to hold until his retirement from teaching in August 2004. During these 32 years the Department was highly regarded, not only for having some of the largest presentations in Scotland, but also for its exceptional pass rate at all levels and the quality of much of the students' work. At this time statistical studies into further education patterns showed more students from Lochaber High School entering into Art and Design courses than in any other sphere of activity.
Simultaneously to his appointment to Lochaber High School, Alistair was invited to become an assessor for the Scottish Examination Board. Initially he marked O Grade and Higher Art then became an assessor for 6th Year Studies. He continues to be actively involved in assessment, marking the new Advanced Higher for the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Alistair is the longest serving and most experienced assessor in his subject.
While at Plockton High School, Alistair was involved in setting up the first Regional Summer School for gifted students in Art. This Summer School continued for 20 years until it ceased to be economically viable. Latterly, Alistair shared the Directorship with the then Advisor, John Crawford.
Pivotal to his activities as a teacher was the belief in the importance of precept example and demonstration. Consequently, the importances of maintaining and enhancing his own skills through his own painting have always been integral to his life. Alistair has exhibited and painted private Commissions & Sales successfully in the North and West of Scotland and with the advent of the Internet and recent developments in printing, it is hoped to reach a wider audience.
He currently has work on display, at "The Crannog Restaurant" on the pier in Fort William and The Lime Tree Gallery, Fort William.