||Nigel Hemming - Profile|
Born in 1957, Nigel grey up in the village of Kinver, Staffordshire. From an early age he showed a keen interest in painting - his rural up-bringing resulting in his choice of wild birds and landscape as subjects for his work.
After leaving school at eighteen, Nigel spent a year at Art College before deciding that teaching would be a suitable career to follow. Despite his abiding passion to paint professionally, he felt that this was a pipe-dream and that teaching would offer a more realistic future. However, after twelve months studying for a degree in eduction, it was apparent that he was not cut out for the classroom. Taking the bull by the horns, Nigel made the decision that no career could fulfil him other than one in art, so in 1977, at the age of twenty one, he turned professional.
Although he saw himself first and foremost as a wildlife artist, Nigel nevertheless realised that, at least initially, he would need to find a potentially more lucrative subject in which to specialise. With this in mind, in order to stand any chance of establishing himself as an artist, animal protraits - specifically peoples pets - seemed to afford him this opportunity. In those ealy years he would paint any animals requested of him but in time it became apparent that it was dogs, above all other pets, that were the most requested.
In 1982, Nigel married. His new wife, Sue brought with her a dog and cat. Never having lived with large pets before, the experience came as a revelation. Nigel's appreciation, not only of dogs, but more importantly, their relationship with us, started to grow. As a result, his attitude and approach to his work began to change, culminating in a painting entitled 'In Retirement'. Its combination of pathos, character and narrative, ensured that it met with considerable popular acclaim. For Nigel it represented a turning pint in his career which ultimately led to his abandoning any serious desire to paint wildlife. Instead he chose to concentrate on his canine subjects and developed the distinctive style of narrative dog painting that has become the hallmark of his work today. As he says himself, "I try to paint pictures, not simply of dogs, but about dogs".