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Nigel Hemming

Born in 1957, Nigel grew up in the village of Kinver, Staffordshire. From an early age he showed a keen interest in painting - his rural upbringing resulting in his choice of wild birds and landscapes as subjects for his work.

After leaving school at eighteen, Nigel spent a year at art college deciding 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 education, 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 fulfill him other than art, so in 1977, at the age of twenty one, he turned professional.

Although he saw himself primarily 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 portraits - specifically portraits of peoples' pets - seemed to afford him this opportunity. In these early years he would paint any animals requested of him, but in time it became apparent that dogs, above all other pets, were the most requested.

In 1982 Nigel married. His new wife, Sue, brought with her a dog and a cat. Never having lived with large pets before, the experience came as a revelation. Nigel's appreciation, not only of dogs, but more importantly of their relationship to humans, started to grow. As a result, his attitude and approach to his work began to change, culminating in a picture called 'In Retirement'. It's combination of pathos, character and narrative ensured that it met with considerable popular acclaim. For Nigel, it represented a turning point in his career, which ultimately led to him abandoning any serious desire to paint wildlife. Instead he chose to concentrate on his canine subjects and developed the distictive style of narrative dog painting that has become the hallmark of his work today. As Nigel says himself, "I try to paint pictures, not simply of dogs, but about dogs."

Nigel's work has been published in limited edition form since the mid 1980's, enjoying increasing popularity with each new edition. His published works and original paintings have featured in one-man shows as well as a number of shared exhibitions. His work is now seriously collected throughout the UK., Europe and the USA.

In 1996 Nigel received the Fine Art Trade Guild's Published Artist of the Year Award.

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