Sheila Tolley was born in Birmingham in 1939.
She went on to study at Bournemouth and Poole Collage of Art.
Tolley has been a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours since 1978. She became a full member of the Royal West of England Academy in1992 and was included in the Seven Academicians Exhibition in 1996. In 1988 she was included in Some of the Moderns exhibition at the prestigious Belgrave Gallery, London which also included works by the likes of Paul Feiler, Patrick Heron and Roger Hilton.
Landscapes and more abstracted work, inspired by the Cornish landscape, remain a frequent theme.