New Year, same wonderful  you !

New Year, same wonderful you !

The past year has been one of surprises for me in my watercolour world. I have continued to grow and try new things, not least teaching in France and at Lympstone Manor .I am usually very shy of speaking in public but it was amazing. I think when you love what you are doing,and the participants are so lovely,then inhibitions  can be forgotten and a shared love of watercolour wins the day. 

I also started to paint some ladies on the beach, I love the sea, I love to swim,  I don't love the skin I'm in ( but I am trying honestly). I thought if I feel a certain way then we probably all do , and I have such huge admiration for people who just go for it! Life is too short, we all have imperfections but underneath we are wonderful, so this inspired a series of paintings that has travelled far and wide ( excuse the pun) . It gives me so much joy to think so many people have seen the things I do here in rural Devon . So for this new year I am going to try to accept who I am, and enjoy what I want to do, whatever others think, 

Here is a new painting for a new decade, I hope you enjoy it.

Firstly I start by choosing some beautiful women to paint. I have several photos, or files from beach trips,my daughter on the beach gets very embarrassed, as I look around for subjects, me included! 





I like to group them so they look together and friendly.

Then I have a palette of skin tones that I get out.  

  • Cadmium Red
  • Permanent Rose
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cerulean Blue         
  •      There are a few other  colours, permanent rose , raw sienna, Then I get this out whenever I am painting people.


Now on this piece I wanted some background, I added a piece of masking tape to act as the horizon 


Then I added the sky, using cerulean blue, and trying to avoid the bodies of the swimmers.



Now I started on the skin tones, building them up gradually from light to dark. I have always struggled with people, but if you approach this the same way you approach other subjects, just painting what you see( not what you think is there). Trusting your eye and the colours. Adding darks where there are darks, it begins to work ( I hope!)



This is a picture of my paintbox, as I mixed the skin tones.

Add touches of reds, yellows, purples as you go. 

Then all I can say really is experiment and keep going, it took me a long time to get it how I wanted. I also added a suggestion of sea, and reflections in indigo.



Now just keep going.



Rest if you want to , try not to spoil something by keeping on with it when you are tired. I only tell you this as I have made all these mistakes myself first.

Now the fun but, the costumes I like to go zany !!!!


Why not wear tie dye in our 70's!!



And so it is done, a celebration of doing what you love, whoever you are , and not caring what the others think! 

And as many of you know I also tried my hand at poetry, I am no William Wordsworth but this is my new year poem to go with this painting.It comes from my heart and I hope this coming year is a good one for you, enjoy the things you enjoy, and don't care who's watching x

A new year, same wonderful you !

We get what we are given, when it comes to body shape
Some are apples, some are pears, our shape we can’t escape
As toddlers we’re happy, running ,jumping on the beach
Life is an adventure, there’s nothing we can’t reach
But time creeps up and teenage years can be so very tricky
We don’t see our beauty, we hide, we become all shy and prickly.
Then relationships sail in, to knock us off our course
Men and women, good and bad, some stay, some we divorce!
And then our bodies change again, maybe kids or other things.
Where I had smooth upper arms, I now have bingo wings!
We don’t get to choose our path in life, things alter in a flash.
We need to celebrate our bodies with lashings of panache
As we grow old and wiser, just go dancing by the shore
Swim like no one’s watching ,there's a whole world to explore!

Rachel Toll





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Wonderful art, wonderful words. Both resonate with me 💦 Thank you


Thank you! Thanks for sharing. Thanks for helping us newbie painters out. Thank you for your beautiful art. Thank you for allowing us to see your vulnerability and insecurities. But most of all, a thank you from me. You have given me an excitement to try painting again and your blog has really encouraged me! Wishing you a very happy 2020!


I have only just discovered your work, and as a 58yr old sea swimmer (no wet suit) who swims with my 75yr old friend, your words and pictures are very pertinent!


Thank you for this. What a wonderful message. Happy New Year!! May 2020 hold all that you desire. Your paintings beautiful.


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