Close up of artist's hand holding paintbrush on half completed canvas

Sally Browne: Captivating Illustrations of Australian Nature

Sydney-based artist, Sally Browne, has been hugely popular since she joined Bluethumb in July of this year. The UK-born artist has a distinctive ability to capture the native flora and fauna of the Australian suburbs.

Artwork of 2 black cockatoos sitting on branches

Black Cockatoos and Cymbidium Orchids is available as a print from Sally’s Bluethumb profile!

Growing up in England, Sally found an escape from the boredom of being an only child in drawing. That simple escape turned into a passion, and eventually Sally left school at the age of 16 to study art. In this time, she discovered textile design, which became the focus for her studies. Early in her career she was creating fine art, before switching to design. Years later, she has found her way back to fine art.


Sally relishes the freedom of creating her own art. Her take on the change is that “it’s an interesting mix of experiences to come back to fine art after being a designer. It’s really refreshing not to have a brief to work to.”

The gardens and trees that line the streets of suburban Sydney inspire Sally the most. Although the area where she lives is densely populated, there’s a vast array of birds and plants to sate her appetite for natural beauty. She wanders the surrounding area daily, and during these times has noticed how there is never a lack of wildlife, no matter the season. It is “the very nature of Australian plants, and their hardiness and their scrubbiness” that she is drawn to most, because “they’re just totally unique”.

Magenta hued painting of birds in tree branches

Sally likes to work with a small selection of colours in each piece. This artwork is called Magenta Birds and Proteas.

Just the fact that so many houses have gardens is something of a novelty for Sally. The part of England in which she grew up was bombed a lot in the past, and so gardens have never truly flourished. “I’ve lived here 25 years and I still get a rush, I get a buzz, when I see a swarm of cockatoos flying over.” Australia’s natural beauty is a welcome change in Sally’s life.

Painting of flowers in a vase hanging in modern grey living room

The Flower Thief by Sally Browne

Primarily, Sally works in gouache. Her choice of colour palette tends to stick to a small collection of harmonious tones for each piece. She says, “I love working in varying hues of the same colour.” When it comes to her materials, she says, “I enjoy working on heavy watercolour paper with calligraphy brushes and using a limited colour palette, usually one or two colours. I have always been attracted to blue and white china and oriental decoration, and this inspiration is really starting to show in some of my latest works on paper”.

Watch the full interview with Sally in the video below!


A Year in Review: Highlights from 2017

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