He went to London in 1979 to study art at the Wimbledon School of Art, St Martin's School of Art - where he became friends with Billy Childish - and later the Chelsea School of Art where he received an MA.
In 1991 he won an important award from the Whitechapel Art Gallery, and in 1993 he won the first prize at the Liverpool John Moores University exhibition with his painting Blotter. This brought public recognition of his work, cemented in 1994, when he was nominated for the Turner Prize. From 1995 to 2000 he served as a trustee of the Tate Gallery.
In 2002, Doig moved back to Trinidad and Tobago with his family, where he set up a studio at the Caribbean Contemporary Arts centre near Port of Spain.
Many of Doig's pictures are landscapes, with a number harking back to the snowy scenes of his childhood in Canada. His works are frequently based on found photographs, but are not painted in a photorealist style, Doig instead using the photographs simply as a reference. Peter Doig's work, captures moments of tranquillity, which contrasts with uneasy elements similar to that found in a dream. He uses unusual colour combinations and depicts scenes from unexpected angles. This gives his work a magic realist feel. In The Architect's Home in the Ravine the thick undergrowth partly obscures the house. It is the play of twig like shapes and range of colours overlapping the building which one notices. He is also a photographer, using both his own and others' as reference for his paintings.
In 2003, Doig, together with Trinidadian artist Che Lovelace, started a weekly film club called StudioFilmClub in his studio.
In 2005 he was one of the artists exhibited in part 1 of The Triumph of Painting at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
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