Meet Our Tutors

Dianne Emery

Born in the UK, Dianne attended the National Gallery of Victoria, School of Art before teaching Art at tertiary TAFE and High School levels. She discovered her interest in Botanical Art whilst studying Horticulture at Burnley Horticulture College. Dianne has been painting and exhibiting since the early 1990s when her background in Fine Art and interests in botany and horticulture combined to direct her into a new career!

She has won the Celia Rosser medal for excellence in Botanical Art three times, in 2002, 2004 and 2016. Her work can be found in private and public collections in Australia and overseas, including The Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, Ballarat Regional Gallery, City of Melbourne Collection, Esso, and The State Botanical Collection at the National Herbarium of Victoria.

Dianne currently works for The Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, where she has been running workshops and classes since 1996. She also regularly conducts Botanical and Natural History painting workshops in regional Victoria and interstate.

Helen Y Burrows 

A professional Graphic Designer, Helen has also worked in both secondary and tertiary education sectors teaching Art and lecturing in Design and Graphic Communication. 

Helen’s botanical watercolour illustrations are represented in the Victorian National Herbarium collection, The Government House Florilegium Project, The National Library of Australia, The Illustrated Garden Collection (Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens), The Huntington Library (California), The Hunt Institute of the Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania), The Lindley Library Royal Horticultural Society (London), The Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum of Berlin-Dahlem, The Missouri Botanical Garden Library and Herbarium Library of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Her work is also held in the permanent collection of The Hunt Institute as well as in galleries and private collections throughout Australia and overseas. Helen has also completed three volumes of Camellias in limited edition.

With a background in adult educational training, Helen`s pedagogical theory is to deliver instructional strategies that create the best learning experience for both beginners and advanced students. Her curriculum, through personalised designed workshops, encourages students to experience and embrace the beauty and intricacies of nature in its many forms.

David Reynolds

David is an experienced botanical and natural history artist and teacher. He enjoys painting in rich natural pigments, always looking to achieve a great accuracy within his work. David relies heavily on a combination of good composition, tone and light to achieve a high level of detail of his chosen subject. 

 His background is in commercial art, graphic design, photography and multimedia. The skills developed in these areas have given him an appreciation for colour, composition and aesthetics.  David paints using watercolour and finds the medium exciting and vibrant with its beautiful rich colours and its ‘sometimes unpredictable’ nature. He describes his style as ‘Accurate Realism’ and is always looking to portray his botanical and wildlife subjects with the most accurate detail possible yet doing it in a ‘painterly’ way honouring the watercolour medium.

 As part of Australia’s contribution to the World Wide Botanical Art Exhibition held in Canberra in May 2018, David had two Banksia paintings represented – Banksia integrifolia and Banksia serrata.

Mali Moir

Mali Moir began her career as a botanical artist in 1993 at the National Herbarium of Victoria. Combining botanical and horticultural knowledge with artistic skills, Mali has contributed pen and ink drawings for Flora of Victoria, Flora of Australia, Mulleria and other scientific publications.

Working closely with botanists in this area, Mali understands the importance of scientific accuracy, the fundamentals of precise measurement and thorough depiction of detail. She teaches botanical illustration in association with the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, at private art groups and conducts workshops in Victoria, interstate and overseas. 

Mali was awarded a Gold Medal by The Royal Horticultural Society London and was an invited exhibitor at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation USA. She is a recipient of the inaugural Celia Rosser Medal and been twice a finalist in the Waterhouse Art Prize. Mali was the first Australian to receive the Focus On Nature Purchase Award by New York State Museum USA. In 2009 Mali received a Highly Commended Award, ‘Margaret Flockton Art Prize’, RBG Sydney.

She exhibits widely in Australia and internationally and has produced many works for private, public and corporate collections.
Mali has great interest in working in the area of conservation and was proud to donate a painting for a charity auction ‘Name a New Species of Shrimp’ held by Australian Marine Conservation Society in association with Museum Victoria. Mali also contributes to ‘Art for Sharks’ with AMCS, evidence of her sincere belief, inspired by a comment by John Wolseley, that “artists make science visible”.

Mali has a keen interest in the artistic interpretation of natural history themes. She approaches her work with traditional techniques whilst developing a fresh contemporary look. Mali executes works on paper with the consummate skill of a dedicated artist as she combines her fascination for science and nature with an active desire to render works of art with beauty, character and scientific merit.

John Pastoriza-Piñol

John is a contemporary artist based in Melbourne Australia and very much a neo-conservative a rebel as he works in the mode of botanical painting, long considered pure documentation and unconcerned with any social context. His practice departs from the precise discipline of Naturalism and continues to investigate not just pure dichotomies such as man and nature, science and art but their complex and dynamic interrelationships.

A visual and emotional duality is an overarching theme as his paintings inhabit a territory somewhere between scientific analysis and symbolic realism. The hyper-representation of the natural world is documented in such a way as to create a new contemporary reality.  It is a commitment to painting as both a method and as a form of deeper inspection. Each work is created masterfully, as great attention is given to detail through exquisite painterly skills, so that it ultimately reaches a greater audience.

Being a recipient of many awards and accolades has afforded him international recognition as one of Australia’s foremost contemporary botanical artists. His work is now held in numerous public and private collections around the world including: Art Gallery of Ballarat, Hunt Institute, USA; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK; Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne; RMIT University and the Collection of Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton, to name a few.

His work is included in both the ‘Highgrove Florilegium’ and ‘Transylvania Florilegium’, projects created under the aegis of the H.R.H Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation. In 2016 John was awarded a grant from The Australia Council for the Arts and he is currently represented by Scott Livesey Galleries, Australia

Jessie Ford

Jessie Rose Ford is a botanical artist based in Thornbury. After she completed studies in Graphic Design and Illustration in 2011, she developed an interest in creating plant subjects through watercolour painting. As part of this process she discovered Botanical Art, which allowed her to align two interests – the natural environment and art – as a chosen profession. She undertook lessons at the Botanical Gardens, Melbourne with the excellent guidance of Mali Moir to further develop her practice.

Jessie now runs workshops, term classes and private lessons around Melbourne and Australia. In 2018 she embarked on a workshop tour around NSW, VIC and QLD which included an Artist Residency at the Cairns Botanical Gardens. She has received two prestigious awards including the Celia Rosser Medal for Botanical Art during The Art of Botanical Illustration 2018 at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne for her Barringtonia asiatica painting, and the Highly Commended Award during ReFraming Nature 2015 for her Argonauta nodosa painting.

Jessie’s botanical pieces celebrate the intrinsic beauty in nature. An exhibiting artist, her most recent show in Sydney showcased the cross-sections of flowers, each painted with selective colour palettes. Through her botanical art Jessie focuses on bringing us closer to the natural environment, and highlights the connection formed between artist and plant through the process of observing and recording each incredible detail. 

Kate Nolan

Kate brings a diverse set of skills and experience to our art program. She has worked professionally as a scientific and natural history illustrator and is a very experienced tutor. She has produced scientific illustrations for private clients and public agencies such as the Museum of Victoria. Her illustrations are presented in several publications including Lonely Planet travel guides and other books. Kate has taught master classes in specialised aspects of botanical illustration at a variety of venues including TAFE, private groups, and the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney and Melbourne.

Kate is a regular exhibitor at botanical art and natural history art exhibitions including the Sydney and Melbourne Royal Botanic Garden art exhibitions. She has won numerous awards and has received wider recognition for her botanical and natural history illustrations. Kate’s work can be seen on Instagram at katenolanart.

Craig Lidgerwood

In 2010 Craig illustrated Stephen Ryan’s Dicksonia Rare Plants Manual and began exhibiting at the Melbourne Botanic Garden’s exhibitions, The Art of Botanical Illustration & reframing Nature and at Sydney Botanic Garden’s Botanica.  In 2012 he exhibited at the Ballarat Art Gallery for a major retrospective: Capturing Flora: 300 years of Australian botanical art. Internationally he began exhibiting for the Societe Francaise d’Illustration Botanique at the 17th World Rose Conference at the Jardin Botanique, Lyon, 2015, and for Les Journes des Plantes – ‘Jardin gourmand’, Domaine de Chantilly, Paris in 2016 & 2017. In 2019 Craig’s painting of Trillium chloropetalum was included in the 16th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, USA.

Solo exhibitions include An Inquisitive Eye: the botanical art of Craig Lidgerwood, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne 2012, Small Wonders – Woodend Winter Arts Festival 2015, Black Anther Gallery, Woodend, Natural Obsession: botanic art of Craig Lidgerwood, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne 2016-2017.

Media has included ABC TV’s Art Nation, ‘Craig Lidgerwood: My Secret Art Life’, 2010, and Gardening Australia’s 30th Anniversary programme, 2019.

Miffy Gilbert

Miffy Gilbert is a qualified Horticulturist (BAS Hort.) and a member of the Botanical Art Society Australia, American Society Botanical Artists and a Fellow of the Society Botanical Artists (UK).

As a convert to the botanical art and illustration scene, she enjoys turning her mind to a new way of looking at nature. It has opened a journey of discovery to look at plants from a different perspective and depict the amazing structures and natural design found within. Miffy mostly works in watercolour and coloured pencils.

Miffy has lived a diverse horticultural life as magazine editor and freelance contributor to high profile professional horticultural magazines; she has also been and group greenlife buyer and nursery manager for a large group of independent retail nurseries; several years’ experience as a heritage horticulture consultant as well as keynote conference speaker and horticultural educator.


Miffy aim is to communicate her passion and respect for plants into her paintings whilst staying botanically correct.

Previously exhibited in Re-Framing Nature, Friends of RBG Melbourne (2019), Artanica with Mt Macedon Horticultural Society (2021) and currently has a solo exhibition at Seasons Restaurant in Cloudehill Garden & Nursery, Olinda titled Revelations (Dec 2021-current).



Amanda Ahmed

Amanda Ahmed completed a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art (painting) at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University, in 1994.  Upon graduating, she was a sessional lecturer at VCA in the painting and drawing departments for two years.  She had an installation-based art practice and exhibited regularly in artist run initiatives, as well as commercial and state galleries.  She was a committee member of First Floor gallery and the Women’s Art Register, curated a project for the Next Wave Festival and worked at a commercial gallery.  In 2003 she completed her Bachelor of Letters (Hons) at the Centre of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Monash University.  It was during this time she became interested in botanical illustration and began attending classes at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.   In 2011 Amanda completed her Master of Fine Art by Research at Monash University.  The title of her MFA was Botanical illustration: drawing in the space of nature which was a study of the flora of the foreshore between Mornington and Mt Martha and its historical relationship with the landing of Matthew Flinders and his team from the HMAS Investigator in 1802.  Her submission included a thesis and solo exhibition.

Since then, Amanda has worked on projects such as The Eternal Order In Nature: the science of botanical illustration which coincided with the XVIII International Botanical Congress in Melbourne, and has been a regular exhibitor at The Art of Botanical Illustration in Melbourne and Botanica in Sydney.  Other notable exhibitions have been Capturing Flora: 300 years of Australian botanical art and Vignettes both at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, also the Flora of Australia: A Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition 2018 presented by BASA in Canberra in 2018.

Amanda has been teaching at the Geelong School of Botanic Art in the Geelong Botanic Gardens for several years in graphite, watercolour and coloured pencil.  She has developed a strong focus on drawing as the basis of her teaching practice, as well as fostering artistic development in a supportive and encouraging environment.