Meet our tutors. Gosford Regional Gallery employs a range of tutors to deliver our classes.
Monika DiakIllustrator & Art TeacherIllustrator & Art Teacher
Monika Diak is an artist based on the Central Coast who works predominantly in watercolours and oils, as well as mixed-media sculpture. She is also an illustrator with her work appearing in children’s books, on the covers of Sci-Fi and Poetry novels, and in exhibitions across Australia, Japan and Europe. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the National Art School (majoring in Printmaking) and was awarded First Class Honours for painting at the Sydney College of the Arts. In 2022 Monika was a finalist in the Blue Mountains Portrait Prize, Gosford Art Prize, Lakes Prize, Newcastle Foundation Portrait Prize and the Frankie Goodstuff Awards. She was selected as the First Place winner in the Bluethumb Art Prize for the portraiture category.
In her drawing classes Monika “encourages observing from life to gain confidence in ways of seeing” and uses a range of materials so students can get a broad experience with different mediums. She has a gentle and practical step-by-step approach, ideal for beginners or those lacking confidence in their arts practice. Students are encouraged to find ways of embracing their own style and honing their skills at their own pace.
To see regular updates on her classes and student work please visit: https://www.instagram.com/artwithminty/
Molly is a nature artist and certified botanical illustrator. She describes her personal art style as “precise and scientifically accurate”. She enjoys creating detailed portraits of living organisms and accurately depicting the textures, colours, and forms of the natural world. She also enjoys experimenting with new and various techniques, styles, and mediums, and helping students to reach their personal goals and full artistic potential. Molly strives to teach her students something new in each class, and she gives her students lots of notes.
Molly received her certification in Botanical Illustration, in 2010, from the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens Botanical Art and Illustration Program. Her pen and ink drawings have appeared in various publications, including the cactus chapter of NY Botanical Gardens’ Intermountain Flora (volume 8), and the botany journal, Brittonia. Molly has illustrated desert plants for various projects, including “Rare and Sensitive Plants of the Grand Canyon” and “Cacti of Arizona”. Her desert plant illustrations have been exhibited at The Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens, Grand Canyon’s Kolb Studio. Molly taught Art, Reading, and Special Education in Arizona before moving to Australia in 2011.
Molly has been a member of the Gallery’s Central Coast Botanical Art Group since 2011. She has been teaching art via Gosford Council since 2016, with classes at both Gosford Regional Gallery and The Entrance Gallery. Her classes have included “Flora and Fauna” (nature art), “Drawing with Colour”, “Introduction to Art”, “Watercolours”, and children’s classes. Molly also previously taught art at Willandra House through Ryde Art Society and at Pablo’s Art House in Green Point, and for several years designed and supervised children’s holiday activities for the Education Department and Macleay Museum, Sydney University. She has exhibited at Ryde Art Society’s Cox’s Road and Willandra House, Gosford Regional Gallery, Wangi Library, and Pablo’s Art House. Molly is a two-time finalist in the Gosford Art prize with “Aussie Green Man” and “Driftwood Lady: Forresters Beach”. Her artworks have won awards at Cox’s Road and Willandra House. Molly was an anthropologist “in a past life”, with a specialization in Oceanic ethnology and material culture. She has an M.A. in Museum Studies and Anthropology (1987) from George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. in Anthropology and Art History (1983) from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Molly spent 10 years in the Anthropology Department of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and one year in the Anthropology Department of the Horniman Museum, London.
For the past five years, I have worked at Gosford Regional Gallery as an art educator and workshop facilitator, teaching and developing the Afterschool Kids Art classes. My teaching experience has had an emphasis on K–12 Visual Art, working with primary and secondary students.
With a Bachelor of Education in Visual Arts, a Master of Education Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies, I have been teaching art for more than ten years. My classes are all focused on enhancing overall learning and personal growth, and all greatly favour the creative process and hands-on learning opportunities above the final product. Educational Philosophy
My mission as an arts educator is to provide students with new experiences to help them think creatively, along with inspiring and motivating them through supportive guidance to become independent and confident learners. I believe art making experiences should act as a starting point for students to structure their work, allowing them to slowly build an understanding of complex ideas and techniques. Teaching students how to break these skills down encourages them to take a closer look at what they’re creating so they feel more confident in applying concepts in future activities. By guiding students to create works that incorporate ideas from art history and art theory, I aim to expand students' foundation of ideas. Within my Art class experiences I design activities to develop and extend students skills, work ethic as well as encourage students to help fellow peers with similar interests and talents. This builds a positive community in the classroom. I hope that with time and practice students will strengthen motor skills, develop problem solving and critical thinking through supportive experiences, working effectively at different levels to develop creatively in their own unique way.
When I started teaching in the 80’s I decided my approach would be to teach the things that had fundamentally benefited my own work. My Foundation course is therefore designed to introduce students to what I consider to be the essential basics while at the same time allowing students to develop their own style.
Not only do I consider drawing to be the basis of painting but they are essentially the same. My approach to teaching is not about learning techniques and then applying them or that painting is about drawing and then filling in. I believe that people are innately creative but this aspect has not been nurtured and therefore forgotten. By challenging preconceived ideas and one’s approach I help students to realise and reconnect with their creative side. It is after all not what you see but how you see it.
“Drawing and Painting for me is about discovery, desire and language. It becomes a catalyst for more ideas and communicates an emotion or significant concept.”
Newcastle born, Russell Austin has exhibited his work in both group and solo shows throughout the Central Coast, Sydney, Newcastle and Japan.
Also known for his incredible mural work and his love for teaching, Austin is an active and passionate member of the Arts Community.
“I like to teach in an environment that promotes imagination, communication, and a bit of fun. This helps to alleviate the common fear that comes with painting.
The interaction with each other can help with ideas and concept building.
Most sessions will include some form of painting demonstration by me to help with visual understanding of the different techniques used in oil painting.
I will guide each student with composition, sketching, underpainting, experimentation, techniques including brush work, tonal arrangement, colour combinations and glazing.
Each person has a limit of skill depending on previous experience. This limitation can be the basis of their individual style, therefore I like to encourage their unique direction, whether beginner or advanced, and provide tools for them to explore and open new doorways of discovery without feeling pressured to be perfect.”
Russell Austin – past achievements.
2015 Winner of ""5 Lands, Art in the Open "" award , Gosford Regional Gallery
2011 Winner of the 'Artist Choice Award' for the annual Terrigal en Plein Air Competition
Winner of Under The Blue Moon 'Through a Glass Darkly' art prize, Sydney - 2010
Sydney Morning Herald Drawing Competition; Russell's work was sent to Nagoya, Japan for an exhibition and Certificate signed by artist Lloyd Rees. - 1988
People's Choice Award for the Fabulous Fakes Competition/Exhibition - 1998
Drawing in the Gardens Competition; Painting sent to Japan as part of an International Collection - 1999
Portrait Demonstrations, TV/Newspaper/Radio interviews and Public Outdoor City Exhibitions
Part of a mobile Exhibition Art Walk through the streets of Sydney – 2006
Art Whispers Project , 18 meter ink multi portrait work of 10 local families, exhibited
Somersalt Gallery and Gosford Regional Gallery.
3 x solo exhibitions and over 100 group shows between 1991 – 2023
Finalist in Gosford Art Prize many times.
Private Mural - Terrigal NSW – ‘Trevi Fountain’
5 x Murals for GBID Gosford Business Improvement District
Mural/Bollards for Wyong Council at Long Jetty NSW (2013)
Mural for Banksia Community Centre, Bateau Bay – (2014)
Mural for Berkeley Vale Cellars (2014)
Mural, Kincumber Neighbourhood Centre (2015)
Design installed on 2 Theatre entries, 'Art House' Performing Arts Centre ,Wyong (2016)
Urban Gallery- 3x Mural designs – Terrigal, Kooolewong, Gosford Stadium . (2017)
Mural, Toukley – ‘Local Legends’ – Heador St Toukley
Mural, Soccer inspired, Jubilee Oval, Long Jetty.
Mural, Heatherbraes Pies, Ourimbah.
"Cathryn McEwen holds an M.Ed in Visual Arts and has been an exhibiting artist since the 1980’s. She has lectured in Visual Communication at the Design Centre, Enmore (1989 – 2005) and UTS (2003 – 2008) and trained visual art teachers at UTS from 2000 – 2002. Cathryn’s current work was selected recently for the Kennedy Prize, Lethbridge Art Prize, North Sydney Art Prize, Greenway Art Prize, Whitewall Gallery Art Prize, and Gosford Art Prize. McEwen is an active member of the art community on the Central Coast. She founded the Art Studios Cooperative in 2014 (producing 75 exhibitions in 4 years) and has been involved with the 5 Lands Artists Collective since 2012, helping to set up the 5 Lands Art Trail. Cathryn has been involved with the Gosford Regional Gallery since 2017 teaching painting and drawing, coordinating a vibrant workshop program, and initiating and managing the annual 20x20 Art Exhibition in partnership with the gallery. "
Anna Seymour is an artist based on the Central Coast who works across drawing, textile and installation. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) at UNSW Art, Design and Architecture. Anna’s artmaking documents the natural world as an interconnected living being. Through creative approaches she aims to foster relationships with the earth that are eco-sensitive and symbiotic. Ecology and site-based explorations are a common theme integrated into her workshops.
Vanja was born in a Croatian village in former Yugoslavia in 1970. Growing up in a village where handmade items played a significant part in the culture and lifestyle, a love of art and craft was established. During her schooling years, Vanja spent a lot of time learning different craft techniques including knitting, embroidery, weaving cotton and wool on a small wooden frame and creating with found objects from nature, string art on cards and more. Being creative and making intricate thread creations helped her through the war years in her country.
Vanja migrated to Australia in 1994 and made a home on Central Coast. Since then, she has met many people who have introduced her to the Australian world of craft. Vanja's craft techniques and skills have expanded and now include making recycled paper, crocheting with recycled material, paper crafts and a variety of kid's craft activities exploring many materials and techniques based on recycling, upcycling and reusing things around us.
In 2011, Vanja started teaching crafts to children and adults at school and a home studio, and in 2016 she started teaching workshops at the Gosford Regional Gallery.
"I am enjoying being creative and innovative as this enables me to express myself through my cultural beauty and uniqueness and I believe that sharing my creative ideas inspires new generations and encourages them to satisfy the planet's limited resources, while enjoying the colours that surround them."