Although Harley was born in Southampton he spent most of his childhood in Yorkshire, and it is from this upbringing that he developed a love of the countryside. Never an academic, his art master encouraged him to produce posters for all the school events that took place.
Returning to Southampton he got a job at the docks where he spent many happy lunch hours sketching the ocean liners, which arrived and departed daily. This was the beginning of HarleyÃ¢€â„¢s experience of selling his artwork, mainly to members of the crew disembarking from their ships, and his life long passion for maritime subjects was born.
After National Service he decided to try making a living as a full time artist. Although he has no formal training, he gradually developed his own techniques, using knives with oils to create crisp, clear and detailed paintings. In addition to contributing many articles for Leisure Painter magazine, he has also produced five tutorial videos on these techniques.
In recent years Harley has been fortunate enough to travel all over the world on cruise ships lecturing and demonstrating his techniques. His work has been exhibited and sold in Europe, Canada and America and seven of his original works now adorn one of the stairways on board the prestigious ship Queen Elizabeth 2.