|ARTIST BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: ||Harley Brown is best-known for his watercolour or oil portraits of indigenous people of North America. Born in Edmonton and raised in Saskatchewan, he also lived in Calgary for many years. He now lives in the United States.
Harley studied at the Alberta College of Art in the early 1960s, but disagreed with his instructors over his choice to pursue portraiture. He managed to support himself by playing the piano and selling his portraits door to door. He then spent two years at the Camberwell School of Art in London, England. While there he exhibited with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the United Society of Artists. It was only at that point that he came to Western art. Returning to Canada in 1966, he spent time on various First-Nations reservations, capturing what he feels are the pride and deep religious values of the people. He uses sketches and photographs, and takes his sitter’s history. Brown is known for his loose brush strokes and dramatic lighting which illuminate the subject’s expressions and individuality. Also a sculptor of figures and animals, Brown’s work immortalizes the life and people of the Old West. During his first solo exhibit in 1967, facilitated by the curator of Montana State Historical Society in Helena, all of Brown’s paintings were sold. After he submitted work to the 1977 National Academy of Western Art show, he won the Gold Medal for drawing.
He has also been commissioned to paint portraits of public figures, such as Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan (in 1985), Dr J.W.G. MacEwan and Anne Murray, amongst others. His book, Confessions of a Starving Artist: The Art and Life of Harley Brown (2003), contains anecdotes and plates of his works. He has been a founding member of Northwest Rendezvous Artists since 1979, as well as of the National Association of Watercolor Artists, the Oil Painters of America, the Cowboy Hall of Fame (Oklahoma City) and, since 2005, a member of the Cowboy Artists of America. He has travelled widely, and taught painting for many years, including giving workshops at Scottsdale Artists’ School in Arizona. That school also offers a Harley Brown Scholarship. Brown lives in Tucson, Arizona, and his works are found all over Europe and North America.|