Iola was born in Cambridge and studied at the Slade School of Art from 1950 to 1954, winning a scholarship to Italy, where began her lasting admiration for Piero della Francesca.
Iola works mainly in oils, pen and ink, watercolour and gouache, and occasional etchings with aquatint. She prefers trees, landscapes and seascapes, which allow her to explore the interplay of light on beaches and water.
Many of her pictures are of North Wales, where she has a cottage, and Aldeburgh in Suffolk. Overseas she has enjoyed capturing Mediterranean light in southern Spain, Gozo and Venice, where she subtly marries architectural detail and light and water. She prefers working outside, directly from her subject, and acknowledges the influence of Turner, though she also enjoys the challenge of portraiture in oils.
She is a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy and the Manchester Academy of Fine Art. She has exhibited at the Royal Academy in London, and has had seven ‘one man’ shows at the Tib Lane Gallery in Manchester, as well as many joint shows at the Tegfryn Gallery, Menai Bridge; Glyn y Weddw, Llanbedrog; the Snape Gallery and Halesworth in Suffolk.