Nigel Hemming : Limited Editions

Artist photo forNigel Hemming

Nigel Hemming is undoubtedly one of the country’s most successful animal artists. Born in 1957 in Staffordshire, he grew up in the village of Kinver. His career has been well documented with transition through the media of watercolour, acrylic, pastel, and finally oil. From an early age he showed a keen interest in painting. His rural up-bringing resulted in his choice of wild birds and landscape as subjects for his work.

After leaving school at 18, 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 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 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 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 peoples pets, seemed to afford him this opportunity. In those early 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 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 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 popular acclaim. For Nigel it represented a turning point in his career which ultimately led, in the mid nineties, to his abandoning any serious desire to paint wildlife. Instead he chose to concentrate on his canine subjects. His works have been published in limited edition form since the mid 1980’s, enjoying increasing popularity with each new edition.

Nigel now has an ever increasing demand for his limited edition prints in North America as well as the UK and in 1996 he was voted Artist of the Year by the Fine Art Guild.

In 2013, however, having never lost his passion and fascination for British Wildlife – particularly birds – he felt a growing desire to revisit his first love.

Last year the opportunity to explore a more contemporary and exciting approach to his subjects came along. Now attempting to maintain the ethos behind his canine images, he says “I try to paint pictures not simply of my subjects, but about them”.

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