Rachael Wolford: Memories & Reflections

When Rachael Wolford left Cathlamet in 2016 to settle in Seaside, little did she think she would ever have another exhibit of her watercolor paintings. However, she continued her avocation while living at Neawanna by the Sea, even taking time to assist in teaching art classes. She also volunteered at the Seaside Museum and the Seaside Public Library, feeding two of her other passions – history and reading. She is especially interested in the history of the local indigenous peoples.

And life moved along: John, her husband of 58 years, passed away in 2019 and Rachael went through two bouts of Covid. In the meantime, the opportunity to exhibit became a reality. And then, Rachael broke her hip in a fall which opened the door to other serious health concerns. Early in 2023, Rachael moved to Astor Place Assisted Living in Astoria where she is now thriving and back to painting and teaching. She is pleased to have weathered the storms and to be able to share her work again.

The works prior to 2016 have been exhibited in prior shows. But more than half the exhibition features unshown work, with 2022 being an especially fertile period for Rachael.

“I was in a period of reflection and memories of my somewhat unconventional life,” says the painter. “Committing them to paintings has been a way of honoring my past and thanking my present.”

But to know her better: Rachael was born in England to an American mother and British father. She spent her childhood in both countries as well as the Caribbean. She has family now in Australia.

Rachael brought her passion for travel to her marriage. While she had already previously visited 10 countries, the couple went on to visit 7 more – some several times. They especially enjoyed their travels to Iceland. In addition, the couple visited 49 of the 50 states. “I don’t know how we could have missed the state of Delaware,” declares Rachael.

Rachael has worked much of her life as a radiology technician and was ordained as an Episcopal Deacon while in her fifties, serving St. James Episcopal Church in Cathlamet as well as Calvary Episcopal Church in Seaside.

Rachael’s love of the water led to many years of living on the Columbia River. She and her husband built, in their Portland home’s backyard, a 42-foot sailboat – the Bagheera, which they lived aboard for some years. They then built a motorized houseboat on a steel barge which became their next home.

Besides her watercolor artistry which she is joyfully resurging, Rachael is looking forward to publishing a book of her poems which could be viewed as word paintings as they are scribed with her artistic calligraphy.

Seventeen of Rachael’s watercolors will be on exhibit at the Seaside Public Library from September 5 through October 5, 2023.

Rachael Wolford
Exhibit time range