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 surroundings. This resulted in his initial choice of wild birds and landscape as subjects for his work.
After leaving school, 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 would be a pipedream and that teaching might offer a more realistic future. However after a year of studying for his degree, it was apparent that he was not cut out for the classroom. Nigel made the decision that no career could fulfil him other than one in art, so in 1977 he turned professional.
Although he saw himself as a wildlife artist, Nigel nevertheless realised that he would need to find a potentially more lucrative subject in which to specialise. He established himself as an animal portraits artist specifically pets- seemed to afford him this opportunity. In those early years he would paint any animals that were requested of him but began to notice a demand for dogs above all.
Nigel’s appreciation not only of dogs, but more importantly of their relationship to humans started to grow. As a result of this, his attitude and approach to his work began to change.
This represented a huge 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 develop the distinctive style of narrative dog painting which has become the hallmark of his work today.
As he says himself: I try to paint pictures, not just of dogs, but about dogs.