Rottnest Island captures the beauty and charm of the location through illustrations and oil paintings, accompanied by selected prose and poetry from well-known Western Australian writers such as Tim Winton and Craig Silvey.
Simmonds said he is excited for the launch and the opportunity to take the crowd on an artistic journey around such a unique and iconic island.
‘My hope is that anyone who has visited Rottnest can look at my paintings and the book and recognise a favourite spot they went to or reminisce about their time spent there,’ he said.
Simmonds’ last book, The River, was a bestseller in Western Australia and he said he wanted to create a similar book to capture the essence of Rottnest.
Teaching ‘Art for Recreation’ at the City of Nedlands Tresillian Centre five days a week, Simmonds has built a strong following around the Western Suburbs.
Followers of his work may notice a difference between the Rottnest Island exhibition and previous work and he is excited to see what people think.
‘Book illustration is very different and I enjoy it greatly,’ he said.
‘It is a real thrill to be trying new artistic styles and embarking on different projects so late in my career.’
‘I probably should have stopped if I were a normal person, but it just feels so fabulous to still be doing what I love, having exhibitions and producing books at my age.’
‘Most of my friends admire what I’m doing but a few think I’m crazy because I could be relaxing all day!’
While normally a reserved character happy to hide behind his easel, Simmonds said he really enjoys experiencing the limelight at a launch.
‘It’s very exciting and it’s so nice when people I don’t know and people who have never seen my work come up to me and want me to sign their book,’ he said.
‘I never tire of experiences like that even though my hand might!’
Simmonds spent a busy four months at the start of the year creating work for the exhibition and narrowing down which images to include in the book.
He said the island presented him with countless opportunities to paint pictures.
‘Every time I turned my head there was something to capture,’ he said.
Simmonds said the book would double as a catalogue at the launch as people have the opportunity to buy the original artworks.