Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Artist Cara McKinnon Crawford: I will give you my soul in my paintings of Scotland

Cara McKinnon Crawford at Acharacle, Image by Sandy McCook.
Cara McKinnon Crawford at Acharacle, Image by Sandy McCook.

As the daughter of an influential Scottish artist and a descendant of William Wallace, no less, painter Cara McKinnon Crawford has a lot to be proud of.

Today, the culmination of her life’s work and experiences will be on show as her latest exhibition opens at Resipole Studios in Argyll.

Her work includes land and seascapes, some of which were inspired by her time painting the cityscapes of Govan and the Clyde, which she fell in love with while a student at Glasgow School of Art (GSA).

The First Minister views some of Cara’s work.

The paintings were viewed by Nicola Sturgeon, two of which now reside in the Scottish Parliament.

Seeing beauty in the city’s industrial skyline, 21st Century Clyde acted as part of the inspiration behind her latest series on Loch Shiel.

The project, which she worked on during lockdown, was the subject of a BBC Alba programme and prompted the artist to create an album of music to accompany the exhibition.

Artist Cara McKinnon Crawford looks at some of her work. Image by Sandy McCook.

“I have been painting both rivers for a long time but started my love of the Clyde when in my first year at GSA,” says Cara.

“My entire first year project was based on the river,” she says, adding that the Loch Shiel project “will be the largest exhibition I will ever do.”

Journey of the Shiel is an exploration of the loch and river viewed by Cara by land, sea and air, and the artist quickly put paint to canvas to capture the beauty and power of the dramatic landscape in over 60 paintings.

“Normally I would paint on-site,” says Cara. “I’m a dying breed of artists. So few of us go out and paint on-site because it’s cold, it’s wet, but you cannot replace the smells, the sounds you get. It all goes on to the canvas.”

This Silver Water Loch Shiel. Image by Danna Sim.

The Shiel holds a special place in her heart, and she has painted the Ardnamurchan area for over 30 years.

“Every year I make a special trip to Shiel in the autumn,” says Cara. “There’s a massive area of water and a little bridge. It’s a gateway to this beautiful area.”

Cara at work outdoors.

Recalling that it was a “huge inspiration”, she says: “I don’t have the words to tell you how breathtaking it is. A cacophony of colour, and it’s all reflected in the massive pool.

“It was that pool that made me think I’d like to see more of the river but it wasn’t really that accessible. So I took a kayak, jumped in it and meandered all the way down, right to Loch Moidart.”

Cara in the exhibition space. Image Sandy McCook.

Cara decided to go one better, though, and take to the skies for a bird’s eye view of the landscape.

“I’m always looking for different things. It’s exciting to try and look for unusual aspects, so I flew down the loch in seaplane and we landed in the loch.

“To see it from the air – the view just where the river begins and then a whole panorama to Eigg and Rum, and Skye – and the light…” she enthuses.

“It was magical, and when I came down to Earth, I phoned the pilot after it and said, ‘That was the most incredible experience of my life!’”

Cara also took to the skies over Skye and made a DVD of the journey, aptly titled Skye High.

The location of Resipole Studios at Acharachle, Loch Shiel, is therefore the perfect place to showcase her latest work. And she has included some of her own music behind the project to help people experience the landscape as she has.

The 10-track album is called Turadh (“dry spell” in Gaelic) and features a series of songs on the clarsach and fiddle, with Cara on vocals, and arrangements on cello and guitar by Swedish producer Par Carlsson.

Autumn Glory. Image by Danna Sim.

“I was hearing the music as I was out painting the silver water,” she says. “I was standing at the top of Loch Shiel looking right down, and these mountains were coming out from the loch and into infinity, and I was hearing melodies.

“So I got to it. I wanted to connect the music I was creating to the painting.”

Her father, John McKinnon Crawford, also an artist, died in 2005. A GSA graduate, he was an influential painter, art advisor for Highland region and was responsible for the development of all the art departments in all the secondary and primary schools in that region. He remains a huge inspiration to Cara.

“Two of my paintings from the 21st Century Clyde series are installed in the Scottish Parliament,” says Cara. “It was undoubtedly my proudest moment. I just wish my dad had been here to see it all.

“It took me three years to pick up my paintbrushes after he died.”

Cara’s studio.

But spending time at the Shiel always ignites her passion for painting, and now Cara has contributed to the next generation of artists with her youngest daughter a graduate of London College of Fashion, and her oldest daughter having exhibited and sold work, also.

It is something she is immensely proud of, along with her Scottish heritage and the landscape she paints.

Image Sandy McCook.

“I’m a descendant of William Wallace. Maybe the blood has whittled down to me,” she laughs. “I am very proud that I am a painter of Scotland. In my paintings I will give you my soul. This is me.”

See Cara’s work at

Contact Resipole Studios

Listen below for an extract from Turadh

Guardi. Image by Danna Sim.