Irene Messina grew up in the borough of Manhattan in New York City but has lived on the beautiful North Shore of Long Island since 1979.
Irene came to botanical painting via her love of orchids. She and her husband began growing orchids intensively when they built their greenhouse in 2000 which is home to over 1,000 orchids of many diverse species. Irene and her husband are also Fully Accredited Judges for the American Orchid Society. Together, they travel around the United States and Canada judging at various orchid shows.
Irene is also an avid gardener, using many native plants in her landscaping to attract, feed and shelter birds, butterflies and other species of wildlife. Her property has been designated as a National Wildlife Habitat, a Certified Butterfly Garden and a Monarch Butterfly Way Station.
A chance encounter with renowned artist, Rose Pellicano, gave her the impetus to try her hand at painting in watercolor. Although not formally trained, Irene took her first course in Botanical Illustration in Watercolor with Rose in May of 2005. Irene and members of her botanical painting group exhibit under the name of Flora and is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists. Irene continues to paint under the guidance and encouragement of her mentor, Rose Pellicano.