Peter Doig

Peter Doig


Katherine Phin

Mary Porter


28 February 2012




My Interest


I chose Peter Doig for my presentation because once I had looked him up, I was immediately attracted to his work and style. Doig has a very abstracted yet mysterious approach to his paintings that are shown through vibrant colours, gestural lines, and space. I would say my fondness in Doig is mainly because his style is similar in how I would like to eventually approach my style of painting, through colourful abstraction and gestural landscapes and figures. Once I had developed my research on Doig, I became even more inspired in his process of multiple steps of experimenting with the same image in order to prepare for his finals, as well as his expansive traveling around the world to expand on diversity of cultures and landscapes to broaden his subject matter.  His dedication and hard work has really helped send his popular career, appearing in solo and group exhibitions around the globe.

Biography and Chronology


  • 1959 – Born in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1962 – Moved to Trinidad
  • 1966 – Moved to Canada
  • 1976 – Moved to London
  • 1979-80 – Studied at Wimbledon School of Art, London (Studying Theatre Design)
  • 1980-83 – Studied at St. Martins School of Art, London, B.A. (After leaving school he found a studio as well as worked as a dresser for the English National Opera)
  • 1982 – Started producing artwork for exhibitions
  • 1986 – Moved to Canada (Doig wanted to experience a new city, being Montreal where he worked as a artist and scene painter in the film industry)
  • 1989 – Moved to London (Doig moved back home to London from attraction to the landscapes, started creating paintings with a homely affect and modest subjects)
  • 1989-90 – Studied at Chelsea School of Art, London, M.A.
  • 1992 – Frieze Magazine increases Doig’s population in London as an artist
  • 1995-2000 – Trustee of Tate Gallery, London
  • 2002 – Moved to Trinidad
  • 2005 – Professor at Dusseldorf State Academy of Art, Germany
  • 2012 – Exhibition at MOCCA in Toronto, Ontario from Feb 4th – Apr 1st
  • Currently lives in Trinidad with his family



Origin and Influences


– Peter Doig was born in Edinburgh, Scotland

  • He has been traveling and residing in many places (traveling as a child was due to his fathers occupation of working for a shipping company)
  • His study of different landscapes and multiple places has led him to create work drawing from those cultures and experiences
  • He is an observer of the situations around him (people, objects, tools, space, and his mind), with these situations he broadens his ideas and mind
  • Photographs are his starting point, where he then transforms the photograph into another level or world with his use of painting
  • He looks at homeliness, by examining his human experience and sentimental ideas, working on the idea of memory instead of memories
  • Doig describes his work as influenced by Modernism and Popular Culture

Style and Progression


  • His style consists of many components of gestural abstraction, fauvism, and sometimes minimalism within the age of contemporary painting trying to evoke a sense of atmosphere in all of his work. This style is influenced by artists such as Henri Matisse, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Paul Cezanne,
  • His works are referred to as nostalgic, unsettling, surreal, emotional, and colourful
  • He works with a vast amount of mediums such as ink, pencil, charcoal, watercolour, sugar, pastel, but mainly works with oil paint on paper, cards, and canvas
  • Using techniques such as glazing and impasto harsh brush strokes (combined with his gestural and abstract style), Doig produces diverse impression within his scenes
  • All of his images capture a feeling of delicacy and memory
  • Contains a very diverse use of colours and sceneries, including landscapes(some mixed with cityscapes) and human or sometimes animal subjects
  • 2D work
  • In Doig’s earlier works he played with doubling and mirroring images, and sometimes putting images within each other; playing with foreground and backgrounds, composition, and scenery
  • From 2001-2004, Doig experimented with four paintings of Trinidadian landscapes based off photographs. For Doig this was an uncommon practice in his painting career to approach subjects from Trinidad. He considered them to be “Pure paintings, which evolved into a type of abstraction”.
  • Since 2002, much of Doig’s work has evolved in his use and play on colour, visual expression and interpretation of photographs to paintings, and has recently experimented with taking photographs through telescopes in order to capture farther scenes and shrink sizes and scale of images
  • More so now Doig experiments with a variety of Canadian landscapes, pop art, photography, film, and personal archives. He continues to explore human being and how they fit into nature.

Artwork Discussion


  • Peter Doig, “The House that Jacques Built”, 1992, Oil on Canvas, 200 x 500
  • This image consists of 3 layers of different spatial sense. The pieces foreground and background type space separated by the set back scene in the middle layer helps of make meaning of the top and bottom layer in subject with the rest of the image. The use of colour vibrancy, abstraction, and the surreal image in the middle show the beginning stages of Doig’s playfulness with images and approaches. This would later lead to his experimentation with doubling and mirroring images.
  • Peter Doig, “Canoe Lake”, 1997-1998, Oil on Canvas, 200 x 300
  • While Doig was living and working in Canada in 1986, his influence for this piece and multiple versions of this series were from his viewing of the movie Friday the 13th. Doig captured the image of the girl passed out in a canoe on lake placid from the movie and later on spent 10 years on experimenting and developing this idea and exhibition. This was one of his most famous paintings. Striking in colour and emotion the image captures my attention and has become my favourite of all his pieces.
  • Peter Doig, “Gasthof Zur Muldentalsperre, 2000-2002, Oil on Canvas, 196 x 296
  • Doig’s influence from this piece is based off of a photograph taken at the Opera House when he worked there. The two figures in the middle are Doig and a friend dressed in costume, making it difficult to know who is who. The painting reflects a surreal and dramatic landscape, while almost hiding the two figures in the front making the image more complex.
  • Peter Doig, “Drifter”, 2001
  • Peter Doig, “Country Rock”, 2001
  • Peter Doig, “Pelican (Stag)”, 2004, Oil on Canvas, 276 x 200
  • For a short period of time Doig was influenced by landscapes and subjects from Trinidad. He worked of four different pieces containing this subject matter and played around with the pureness of the landscape by making it abstracted. The main thing i noticed in these four pieces is the consistent use of blues and greens which is much different from his playfulness in colour in his work before this period and afterwards.
  • Peter Doig, Untitled, 2007, Oil on Canvas, 50.5 x 38.5
  • Doig’s change in style around the year of 2007, created new more abstracted subjects, focussing mainly on figures. In his early works he focussed more on detail while maintaining an abstracted approach, and throughout the progression of his artwork we have seen a loss in detail and more gestural and figurative approach.


Works Cited


Doig, Peter, and Kadee Robbins. Peter Doig: Works on Paper. Vero Beach, FL: Windsor,
2005. Print.

Doig, Peter, and Richard Shiff. Peter Doig. Ed. Judith Nesbitt. London: Tate, 2008. Print.

“Peter Doig.” MOCCA. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.


“Peter Doig.” The Saatchi Gallery. Web. 26 Feb. 2012.





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