Doig was born in Scotland in 1959 but spent his childhood years in central Canada until 1979 when he moved to London where he studied art at the Chelsea School of Art. He received an M.A. in 1990. He lived in London for 23 years. In 2002 he moved with his family to the Caribbean island of Trinidad where he presently lives and works.
In the 1990s many of his paintings showed people on skis or in a snowy landscape, but he has recently begun working with tropical imagery. Peter Doig has referred to his images as memories, flashbacks, or dreams. He doesn't think of them as realistic, though there is an element of realism. Utilizing film stills, footage of actual events or photographs of urban and rural environments, Peter Doig's work emanates a quiet sense of nostalgia reminiscent of ones past. They conjure up a feeling of a long forgotten memory. Doig is known for his exploration of the formal and thematic possibilities of landscape.
Peter Doig has been included in important international exhibitions and is the recipient of numerous prizes. He has exhibited at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, and Kunsthalle Nürnberg. Doig was the recipient of first prize in both the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition (1993) and the Prix Elliette von Karajan (1994). He was also short-listed for the prestigious Turner Prize (1994), and received the Whitechapel Artists' Award (1991).