Geraldine O’Brien was born in Limerick in 1922 into a distinguished artistic family. Her mother Cicely O’Brien was a distinguished artist. Other artistic family members include her cousin Dermod O’Brien PRHA and Kitty Kilomer O’Brien RHA & President of the Watercolour Society.
Geraldine showed her talent while still at school in Dublin, twice winning prizes in the prestigious Royal Drawing Socity (London) international competitions. In 1939, aged 17, she went to study for a year with the Dublin born plein air atist Stanhope Alexander Forbes in West Cornwall, where she was allowed to wash his brushes, “a great privilege”. Her progress must have been rapid because the following year, she exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) for the first time. She exhibited regularly at the RHA up until the 1990’s. Her artistic studies were interruped by the Second World War, and with characteristic adaptability she turned her talents to mechanical drawing. As part of the war effort, she found herself making meticulous drawings of unidentified bits of weapons.
She has always had a love of her garden, both as a gardener and a flower painter and it is as a flower painter that she has made her name. These delightful floral studies are composed of primroses, daffodils and any manner of garden flowers that catches her eye. She picks arranges and paints the flowers in her studio which she always referred to playfully as the “piggery”.
In 1948 Geraldine married David Hely-Hutchinson, and they settled in her family home at Parteen, Co. Limerick, where she still lives.