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After two years illustrating children’s books in London, Brian moved to Amsterdam where he continued to paint watercolours and expanded into painting on silk and making limited edition silkscreen works on paper and fabric. From Amsterdam he moved to the Scottish Borders and sketched the local Cistercian Abbeys, castles and the two earliest Christian monasteries in Britain on the islands of Iona and Lindisfarne.







    Los Angeles was his next stop, and California was to become his home base for the next 25 years. After an initial period of designing stained glass windows there, he moved to settle in the peaceful foothills of Northern California, where he developed special techniques of painting large scale watercolours measuring up to one by two meters, focusing on still life and floral subjects. In addition to painting and extensive travelling, Brian also became curator for a small private museum with an outstanding collection of European paintings, sculpture and decorative arts, allowing him to closely study the works of several great old masters at first hand.


 




     During a four year sojourn in Italy, he lived in Naples where the extraordinary quality of the light was a major revelation and inspiration for him. Through contact with several Italian artists and research at the University of Naples, he rediscovered some ancient early Renaissance techniques and added egg tempera and acrylics to his ever expanding repertoire. In addition to the easel paintings, he began a series of huge wall-murals in villas around the city, and on the island of Capri.


 





         Then came the re-opening of China, where Brian discovered the sacred Yellow Mountain known as Huangshan. Atop its lofty peaks and unusual rock formations, he was captivated by the ‘Sea of Clouds’ as it slowly but constantly changes, its ebb and flow revealing and concealing different aspects of the enchanted landscape. A tree in the foreground remained fixed, but the light, the spiritual and emotional atmosphere in which it lives and exists is endlessly changing. How to capture this? To focus on something crystal clear in a world which is constantly changing?








    Japanese screens of the Edo period provided an answer; to paint the subject on a background of pure gold. These contrasting mediums allow for a constantly changing relationship between the luminous and the opaque. After learning how to prepare and apply gold leaf, Brian developed a technique of applying a textured overlay to evoke the deepest essence of the subject. The result was the exceptional series named California Gold.   







    Later, while staying with his brother in Thailand, Brian was exposed to tropical vegetation and deeply saturated colour. This resulted in the Thai Gold series, which centred around orchids and exotic flowering trees.



 




   Large scale works greatly increased when he moved back to California and was invited to design, build and paint stage sets for ballet, opera, and Greek and Renaissance plays. Painting backdrops up to thirty meters long by twelve meters high was an enormous challenge and a thrilling adventure.









    Then while designing stage sets for two separate productions; a Sufi play based on Attar’s Conference of the Birds and the ballet the Pharaoh’s Daughter, Egypt and Sufism came to the fore, and a timely visit to Egypt ensued. After visiting the great pyramid and the mosque of Sultan Hassan on the first day, Brian realized he was on to something big. Immediately after the two productions were staged, he moved definitively to Egypt and came to settle in a village on the west bank of Luxor.


   




    Since then Egypt has been the source of inspiration for Brian in his pursuit of artistic and spiritual quests. Working mainly in acrylic, he explores and investigates aspects all aspects of rural life in Upper Egypt, from the local farmers markets to the ancient sacred texts; from the natural beauty of the Nile valley to Sufi gatherings; from everyday utensils to the great mosques of Cairo.


 





    ‘Egyptian Gold’ was also a natural progression from the previous highly successful series on gold leaf, but with a different focus; dates or lotus, architecture and angels became the subjects, embedded in 24 carat gold. Although the subjects may seem mundane, digging just a little beneath the surface we uncover the fact that their symbolic properties are all mentioned with great respect and esteem in the sacred texts, thus they merit such a precious and dignified setting.







    Brian’s most recent paintings reflect his present understanding of both the ancient Egyptian texts and the cosmological teachings of the great Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi. They focus on the Duat, which can be seen more as a state than a place, situated between heaven and hell in the cosmic hierarchy. Using vivid, saturated colours and often incorporating pure gold leaf these bold  and often dramatic canvases delve into the profound sacred mysteries concealed within the Duat. Following the analogy of RA on his sacred bark, when our own bark (body) plunges into the depths of the unknown realm, we enter a vast ocean of uncharted waters filled with wondrous treasures yet also fraught with dangers. It is like diving for pearls, searching for that pearl of great price – the treasure to keep throughout eternity.








The latest development out of the Duat - that magical place where all possibilities exist simultaneously in a yet-unmanifest state - is the passion play of the Sufi dervish as he gambles all he has in diving for metaphysical pearls. He becomes like a Pearl Fisher who risks his life daily, plunging deep into clear turquoise waters in search of the pearl of great price. Inspired by the great Sufi festivals of Egypt, these allegorical paintings tell of adventures that lead to the mystical intoxication of Divine Ecstasy, where the lover and the beloved unite to become one. Like an enchanting tale from the Arabian Nights, they follow the dervish’s passionate search through both inner and outer trials and tribulations, hypnotic rituals of movement and song, and celestial gatherings before he can reach the sincerity and purity of a love so deep that you can drown in its elixir. They are a celebration of life itself.







And the journey continues....