Sally Maltby


In conversation with Humph Hack - Curator


Sally told me that sometimes she has found that the type of work she lists on is considered less “art” than more traditional works made with paint.

We agreed that discussion has always surrounded the way artists work and their techniques. Not since Marcel Duchamp who exhibited "found objects" and called it Art has it been able to reject any way of making works, based on the process alone. For example, more recently, David Hockney has painted using just an iPad and a printer – his new work, prints on paper, are now sold in Limited editions of 30+

Every new technology opens up new avenues for artists.

The stark fact is, that if you like, or even love a piece of art, it matters not how it was produced, but how much it means to you. You can admire the skill and technique of a digital artwork as much as one made simply by hand.

Sally told me that her initial motivation comes from the study and representation of plants. “I want to show the structure and growth of various plants, so expressionist painting is not an option here”. Her work begins with photographing plants that grow in the wild. Her digital camera has a good lens but not all shots make the cut.

Having worked on the images, design for actual prints on the computer begins. “Software like Photoshop can eliminate sharp backgrounds, but I need to work with subtler images”. She told me, “I will carefully choose what to eliminate and what to keep – it takes ages and I love it!” Eventually importing these chosen images, into a paper size and playing around with changing the order of the resulting layers takes even more time. Her knowledge of plant structure and her technical ability are both vital in achieving the finished product.

Before editing/After editing

I asked Sally about her history of studying and making art.

“I studied Fine Art and Pottery at Farnham Art School and went on to a post graduate year at the Central School of Art in London in the Textile Department, where I won the RSA souvenir travelling prize in that year and spent my first time in America”.

She was commissioned by Courtaulds to design for their new fabric. At the same time she drifted towards watercolour and was offered an exhibition in a Central London Gallery.

A great commission, was designing the covers for Waitrose Frozen Vegetable foods some years ago.

She has illustrated over 40 books and published two of her own.

When she moved to Winchester, she studied MA degree in Design for Digital Media at Portsmouth University. “This increased my digital skills and gave me time to experiment with animation”.

Moving again to the Jurassic Coast offered more inspiration leading to paintings for exhibitions in and around Dorset.

So…..Sally has illustrated books, published her own books, designed textiles, painted and now her focus is in these limited edition prints. Her varied career has always centred around plants.

She has travelled widely, always looking for plants; whether outside her front door or while visiting Western Australia!

“I started out selling prints of plants of the wayside - as single species on ready to hang canvas – but now prefer the way I can present them with gentler backgrounds light or dark, to suit different tastes”.

Whatever is next, there’s one thing for sure – It will feature plants and it will be exciting!

April 2024

Selected works


 Click here to see Sally's other works  See Other Featured Artists