Harley Brown was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Canada. in 1939 and grew up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
He played honkey-tonk piano to support himself through the Alberta College of Art in Calgary. He auctioned all of his paintings in order to attend the Camberwell School of Art in London. He supported himself in England by selling pastel portraits of Indians and was commissioned to paint Prime Minister Winston Churchill. When he returned to Calgary in 1966, he began intensive research on nearby reservations and continued creating paintings of Native Americans.
His first solo exhibition in the United States was in Montana in 1973, where he sold all seventy of the paintings he exhibited. Since then he has shown at many prestigious shows.
His work is in the collections of the C. M. Russell Museum; National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; and Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles. His painting media include oil, watercolor and pastel and he is known for his portraiture.
He has been featured in Art West (Summer 1977) and is a member of both the National Academy of Western Art and the Northwest Rendezvous Group. He continues to create work for his studio in Tucson, Arizona. In the year 2005 he was invited to join the prestigeous Cowboy Artists of America.