Faith Cameron Semmes was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and soon after, moved with her family to Los Angeles. Her art career began early: she started drawing dogs and horses at the age of 5 and by 7 she had developed a serious fascination with horses. Los Angeles was never a good fit for Faith. "I had the sensibilities of an Easterner - a Southerner, really - even as a very young child," she says " and Los Angeles foiled my scheme to have a horse." As luck would have it, Faith's family moved back to Virginia when she was 10 and she got her horse. She rode for years with the Keswick Hunt, an influence of foxhounds, horses and bucolic landscapes that figures prominently in many of her paintings today. She sold her first painting at the age of 12; an oil of the Edgartown Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard.
Faith attended the Madeira School and Hollins College where she majored in Visual Arts. After college, her love of animals inspired a 5-year foray in Animal Sciences. During this time, she worked as a veterinary surgical nurse in both small animal and equine practices. "I definitely inherited the dog-loving gene," she says. "My family never had fewer than 3 or 4 dogs at one time and my aunt is the founder of Pet Orphans of Los Angeles, one of the oldest no-kill shelters in the United States."In 1976, Faith moved to Key Biscayne, Florida and began a 15-year career as a commercial illustrator and graphic artist. During this time, she broadened her focus to include trompe l'oeil murals and decorative painting, with commissions in Miami and Palm Beach.
Faith's painting style, particularly her dog portraits, has been described as "soulful" and "having an almost religious quality". She has traveled extensively abroad, and credits these art sabbaticals as the primary influence on her painting. "Artists have been doing this for centuries," she explains. " I believe it's an absolute requirement for those artists who paint in a traditional style. Looking at all the world's great art - religious and secular art - absorbing it all, over years it shapes your own personal style."
Faith, who is the great-great granddaughter of Raphael Semmes, Admiral of the Confederate Navy, came back to the historical South when she moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1993. She resides with 5 rescue animals (4 dogs and 1 cat) and her husband in a barn loft in Charleston.
Faith Cameron Semmes paints commissioned pet and family portraits in oils and also paints for exhibition and sale. Her portraits and fine art paintings hang in both national and international collections. She is represented by Dog and Horse Fine Art in Charleston, South Carolina. For information on fine art prints contact the Gallery at 843-577-5500.
On June 15th, 2010, Faith Cameron Semmes passed away after a two year struggle with Breast Cancer. She is survived by her daughter, Cameron and husband, John Zillioux.