2021, my year in watercolours

2021, my year in watercolours

Firstly as we take this time between Christmas and New Year to reflect , let me say thankyou. I am so grateful to you all for taking the time to look at my work, and to comment so nicely on it. I work in isolation and when I send my pieces off into the world I have no idea how they will be received, it is wonderful that they are received so well and it brings me joy daily to see your responses.

I began the year , like we all did , heading into lockdown. I was determined to keep painting and keep writing a blog every week. It felt like a small thing I could do to help us all feel a little more connected.

I found a new way to paint seas, and this has given me so much joy this year.

I continued to work at improving my watercolours , and far from putting things on hold, I like to think this past year has been a time to put things in perspective. I was grateful to be able to contribute to the David Shepherd pangolin campaign , and this piece sold , making much needed funds for their conservation work.


I carried on painting my swimming ladies and mermaids and brought out new cards in response to demand.

 More mugs came out and were sold for the RSPB, and watch this space there may well be new designs in the new year. I keep trying new things and am so thrilled when they are well received.

. Another high was receiving the news I had made it into the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year , I am always nervous I might not get in and so thrilled if I do.

New commissions tested my abilities. I don't have the energy I once did, and my fingers can get very painful, that along with chronic fatigue limits my time in the studio However I think by slowing down it has made me pause and think more, and in turn I hope this has improved my work

It was so wonderful to be able to go to Cornwall and visit places that fill my soul with joy

Then summer turned to autumn, I have loved painting so many favourite things this year, from hedgehogs to flowers , but bees hold a special place in my heart. So I was thrilled when this little fella made a lot of money for wildlife conservation

 Then moving onto Christmas and getting things ready for a busy time of year.

So whatever happens next....please don't as they say 'put your life on hold' , we don't do that, we live through difficult times, this is our life. Do things that make life easier, keep in touch with people and take joy in the natural world


Happy New Year 


  • Betty

    Hello Rachel, I just found your blog by happy accident. I had been looking for ideas/techniques to help me learn watercolour and you have so much inspiration here and enviable talent too! Thank you for sharing everything on your blog :)

  • Rachel Toll

    So how do I reply to your kind words, the software I use on here doesn’t allow me to reply personally to comments , but I read them all and am deeply touched by your words. Thank you

  • Rain de Lima

    Dear Rachel,
    I’m a Trinidadian living in Miami, Florida who fell into the FB “water” and arose as a 65-year old mermaid! Lol! Your “girls” speak to me and I would love to buy any that go with with your poetry. I’d like to purchase them for the women that I know. I’m also in love with your bees, the puffins, the hares, … gosh, just everything! I’m fascinated with the soft colors and realness of the subjects that make me want to own them. Thank you for touching me with your craft and giving me glimpses of your world. It’s nearly 20 years of suffering withdrawal symptoms of not being able to visit your wonderful country and your paintings soothe my heart a little. I wish I could massage your hands with coconut oil just so we could keep looking forward to your next creation! Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.

  • Sue

    Thank you Rachel for another year of such wonderful, beautiful, inspirational and uplifting paintings, words and blogs. I love what you do (it is so calming. peaceful and uplifting – and especially so in these strange and difficult times) and am so glad to have stubbled across your website 2-3 years ago. Just about everything you do ‘speaks’ to me – and especially your seascapes, flowers, birds, bees and animals. They make me happy and cheer me up and transport me to a beautiful world! Just wish I had even half your talent! I love your choice of colours and especially the delicacy and sensitivity of all your paintings and blogs. You have a fabulous gift and a beautiful kind soul which you so generously share and which shines through all of your work. I’m glad you decided to “slow down” a little this year – you certainly deserve more time for yourself – and it hasn’t detracted from your work at all (which, if anything is even better – if that is even possible!) I look forward to seeing more of your paintings and blogs (if you have the time and inclination!) in 2022 – and hope you carry on simply being ‘you’ and doing what you love best. Wishing you a happy and peaceful 2022.

  • Mary nation

    I love your paintings of still water and would love to see some colourful boats! It’s a delight to view your work.

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