The Friends of Geelong Botanic Gardens are pleased to have a team of accomplished artists who tutor classes to new and advanced students.
Dolores Skowronski-Malloni is a botanical artist who trained in Graphics and Interior Design in Buenos Aires and also gained a BA in Melbourne at Monash University. Dolores has been a practising botanical artist since 1993. Her work develops in a theme format; always searching for a new subject to challenge her imagination.
Dolores teaches Botanical Art at the Geelong Botanical Art School with the same approach; keeping her students interested and looking forward to learning new skills, further developing their designs and learning more about the subjects they are studying and painting.
Three of Dolores' original works are held in the State Botanical Collection at the National Herbarium of Victoria. Original paintings are in private collections in Australia and overseas. Dolores was awarded Gold and Silver Medals from the Royal Horticultural Society, London. Dolores was commissioned by Wyndham City Council to produce a calendar of Australian plants, Christmas cards and prints of Australian trees.
John Pastoriza-Piñol is an internationally renowned contemporary botanical artist, residing in Melbourne. His practice operates somewhere between both the centuries-old tradition of botanical illustration and contemporary art, prompting a reading that goes beyond the purely representational whilst remaining true to the fundamental principle of objective observation of the natural world. John has an exceptional ability to create a tension between the beauty and perfection of the specimen depicted and the symbolism with which it is infused.
John studied botany at both Monash and Melbourne Universities, completing a doctorate course at the Universidade de Vigo, north-west Spain. As a young artist, John studied in Melbourne under Jenny Phillips, emerging as a significant artist in his own right. John's work is held in numerous public and private collections around the world including: 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. In October 2013, John was awarded the prestigious Dianne Bouchier Award for Excellence in Botanical Art from the American Society of Botanic Artists and he is currently collaborating with Nellie Castan Projects in South Yarra.
John has been teaching intermediate/advanced classes at the Geelong Botanic Gardens since 2005 and has expanded his teaching circuit to include interstate and international Master Classes, educating his unique approach to the art form. John's classes are held fortnightly on Saturdays during the school term.
If you would like to discover more about John and his extraordinary work you should visit his web site.
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 Amanda 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.
In recent years, 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.
Amanda has been attending John Pastoriza-Piñol’s classes at the Geelong Botanic Gardens for a number of years and has developed a strong affinity with his teaching program which fosters artistic development in a supportive and encouraging environment. Alongside the other classes available at the Geelong School of Botanical Art, Amanda looks forward to contributing to the teaching program in a similar manner whilst drawing on the beautiful setting of the gardens as inspiration.
Deb Chirnside completed a Bachelor of Education, Secondary Art and Crafts in 1980. Upon graduating she embarked on a teaching career and taught a variety of art subjects including graphic communication, ceramics and painting. Her botanical art career began after being inspired by a talk by Jenny Phillips at one of the Winter lunches held by the Friends of the Botanic Gardens in Geelong. Fortuitously Margaret Muffet began botanical art classes at the Geelong Gardens at this time. This was the beginning of a love of botanical art that has continued to this day.
Deb has gone on to practice as a botanical artist since 2003. She has participated in exhibitions both nationally and internationally. These include the 13th International Exhibition at The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, USA, the 16th, 19th and 20th ASBA Annual International Exhibition in New York and the 19th International Botanical Conference in Shenzhen, China. She was represented in the Capturing Flora, 300 years of Australian Botanical Art exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Victoria. Last year Deb participated in BASA’s Botanic Art Worldwide exhibition in Canberra.
Deb’s work is in the Florilegium collection of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, NSW and the State Botanical Collection at the National Herbarium in Melbourne, Victoria. Deb has received two Celia Rosser Honourable Mention Awards at The Art of Botanical Illustration exhibitions 2010 and 2018 in Melbourne.
Deb continues to explore and develop this wonderful art form through classes and workshops that are available throughout Australia and is looking forward to contributing to the wonderful teaching program available at the Geelong Botanic Art School.