For the first eight years of her life Geraldine Simmons lived in London, England and then settled in Australia in 1968.
As a child, the two activities that made her heart sing were riding her bike and drawing. Time spent alone riding her bike inspired her love of nature and deep appreciation for all living things. At any opportunity and with wonder, Geraldine would study things that caught her eye, such as the unique patterns and texture of a tree trunk, the way the light shone through the leaves, or the soft, velvety feel of a flower petal. These experiences helped enhance and develop her observational skills as well as the patience required to create detailed works of art.
Over time Geraldine’s love of drawing has evolved into the realistic portraits that she draws today in either pastel and coloured pencil, or scratchboard. These mediums enable her to capture the emotion and essence that bring each animal to life. Through paying close attention to the eyes, her mission is to communicate that animals are innocent, loving and sentient beings just as we are.
Geraldine has exhibited both nationally and internationally receiving many invitations to donate her works to well-known animal conservation groups such as Humane Society International, Sea Shepherd and Borneo Orangutan Society.
In 2018 Geraldine became a signature member of International Society of Scratchboard Artists.
Geraldine supports several animal welfare and environmental groups through donations of her works of art. Closest to her heart is Friends of the National Parks Foundation (http://www.fnpf.org) in Borneo, Indonesia, who focus on the conservation of orangutans and other Indonesian wildlife. At the time when FNPF worked on rescuing and rehabilitating orang-utans Geraldine had the opportunity to visit the rehabilitation centre. That experience became the catalyst for her mission to raise funds and awareness for endangered wildlife.
Inspired by this life-changing trip Geraldine founded the “Riding for Rangas” annual charity bike ride in 2009 (biennial since 2013) to raise funds and awareness for FNPF. Riders are sponsored to complete the challenging 300km distance in two days.
Geraldine donated her drawing “Sole Koala” to help raise funds for making the feature-length documentary “Milking The Rhino" in 2008. Made to raise awareness of African wildlife conservation, the film won many awards in several film festivals, including best documentary, best nature documentary and best cinematography.
In 2017 and 2018 Geradlne was invited to donate origianl artwroks for silent auction in Sketch for Survival in conjunction with Explorers Against Extinction - a global art initiative that highlights the plight of elephants and other iconic species; to raise awareness about threats to habitats and to raise funds through frontline projects.
In 2018, AFC members were invited to create one or more 8 x 8 inch artworks of any of the 678 endangered bird species for the Silent Skies super mural project Geraldine chose the Cebu Boobook owl from the Philippines as her subject.
The spring of 2019 and the summer of 2020 was the most catastrophic in Austratlia's history for bushfires and the consequent loss of 480 million animals and 18.6 million hectares of habitiat. Geraldine took it upon herself to set up an online Facebook silent auction of one of her koala drawings to raise funds for the Port MaQaurie Koala hospital in NSW. Through the connection of social media Geraldine's page was discovered and she was invited to participate in "100 Artworks for a Koala - Konservation Project" through non-profit organisation Living With Koalas. 100 Australian based artists will provide an original artwork relating to koalas. This is an auction led event on an International scale where funds generated will be used for awareness programmes and school visits as well as funding LWK koala food tree nurturing and planting programme. The event will commence in July, 2020.
In 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019 Geraldine's artwork was selected for the virtual exhibit and companion hardcover coffee table book for the Art of Conservation- An International Exhibit of Nature in Art in conjunction with AFC annual festival in Vancouver, Canada.
Finalist - The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize 2016. One of Australia’s richest and most prestigious art competitions the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize attracts close to 1000 entries from national and international artists. The art prize was named after Frederick George Waterhouse, one of the most eminent naturalists of his day and curator of the South Australian museum from 1860 to 1882. The purpose of the exhibition is to “promote and recognize excellence in art that depicts natural history or wildlife.”
AFC selects an artist each month for artistic excellence and extraordinary dedication to conservation. In 2010 Geraldine was awarded the AFC Conservation Artist Award for May.