Brian was born and educated in Edinburgh, completing his post-graduate diploma at Edinburgh College of Art in 1976. He spent most of his working life as an art teacher in Shetland, while painting and exhibiting in Shetland, mainland Britain and abroad. Now he has returned to live in Edinburgh.
After a period concentrating on figurative work, he gradually turned to still life. He likes to arrange carefully chosen objects on a table top or plinth; these are lit using a combination of artificial and natural light to create a desired atmosphere. He is interested in the effects of light on materials of varying texture and translucency. The relationships between objects can create feelings of calm or tension, and though the paintings are executed realistically, a great deal of exaggeration, omission and invention goes into each composition.