Let me introduce myself: my name is Caroline McCormack
and I live with my husband John at Poppy Cottage in Lochcarron, Wester
Ross, on the Scottish mainland near the Isle of Skye. We have a Border
Collie dog called Poppy. As you may have gathered, I love poppies!
all, I should perhaps explain
why we named our home Poppy Cottage and called our dog
Poppy. I like painting all flowers but poppies are my favourites as they
are so delicate yet so vibrant. I also love the significance of them as
they are a symbol of peace. My grandfather and my father fought in the
First and Second World Wars respectively and I believe that the cause
for which they fought should never be forgotten.
In my early life in the 1960's I lived in Crosby, a
suburb of Liverpool made famous recently by Anthony Gormley’s statues of
the iron men on the beach. As a youngster I used to sit at the table and
draw and paint – it’s something I have always enjoyed. I attended
Seafield Grammar School and studied A-level Art & Design and Art
History. On leaving school, I trained as a nurse but continued to paint
and draw in my spare time.
On finishing my nursing training I went to London to art
college and stayed there for 3 years, also working part-time as a nurse.
I found the big city claustrophobic, so I moved back to Liverpool and
continued my nursing career there. I found art college very enjoyable
and was even more sure I wanted to be an artist. Working three 12-hour
shifts per week gave me more opportunity to take up my painting
“properly” with a studio in my flat.
I met my husband John in 1992 (he
framed my paintings for me). Love blossomed and we found that we had
many shared interests such as photography, walking and nature – and he
makes me laugh!
When we got our first border collie, a
rescue dog, we called her Rosie. We started holidaying in Scotland,
going away for a month in the summer – and we loved it! We always felt
at home and loved the grandeur and wilderness of the Highlands. Thus the
Scottish landscape became a passion of ours.
I have always been very interested in
impressionist art and love reading about it. Luckily enough for me, I
have also had an excellent mentor in Peter McKay who is totally
self-taught and paints landscapes of the Lake District, for which he is
already collectable. I would like to thank him very much for his help
and constructive criticism over the years. John has also helped me so
much – he will always tell me exactly what he thinks!
Anyway, to get back to Scotland:
whilst we were away on holiday, we used to take lots of photographs and
I would do a lot of sketching. We used to go walking with our dog,
Rosie, and she just loved splashing in the rivers and lochs and romping
up and down the hills. In latter years, at the end of our holidays, it
became quite a wrench to leave the Highlands and return home to
So, in January 2007, whilst on holiday
in Lochcarron (staying in a cottage on the beach where the high tides
splash against the window, thus inspiring the painting shown here on the
left), we decided to take the plunge and move.
As already mentioned we now have a new
dog called Poppy who is also a border collie. She is a beautiful looking
dog but not always “beautifully” well behaved! We love her very much –
she is such fun. 18 months ago I started doing paintings of her and of
John and myself set amidst the Highland scenery we love so much. This
enabled me to imagine myself there and thus It was a lot more personal
I also enjoy putting figures into the
landscape as it can give a sense of perspective. Poppy has got used to
posing for the camera and we call her Kate – as in Kate Moss! In the
Spring I am hoping to do more plein air painting alla prima and am
looking forward to this very much.
Now let me tell you about Lochcarron
itself. It’s the prettiest village I have ever seen with its row of
cottages stretching along the shore of Loch Carron from which it gets
its name. The views from our cottage stretch for miles across the loch
with huge mountains ranging far back into the distance. You can hear
deer roaring during the autumn as it is the rutting season. We watch the
otters playing on the shore just outside our front door and eagles soar
overhead. We also saw quite a few dolphins during the summer. The lady
who lives next door even has a tame robin which comes in and sits on her
coffee table when she has a cup of tea!
I have never seen scenery so majestic
and yet so beautiful, changing all the time with the seasons and the
light. There is so much to explore around here with spectacular views
round every corner. We cannot really believe we are here – we are very
lucky. There is so much to see that I will never be able to paint it
At last we are open!
I am hoping to have my on-line gallery
up and running soon but in the meantime am pleased to report that our
gallery at Poppy Cottage is now open - at last! We were supposed to be
open months before but, as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when
you're busy making other plans".
On the day
of opening the gallery something rather strange happened: Poppy, our
dog, dipped her tail in red oil paint. I found it quite amusing that it
was red paint as it was almost as though she wanted to dress the part
for the opening!
would like to come and see us, please do - you will probably find me
painting away as usual.
To make sure we are open, it is probably best to ring us
beforehand (01520 722153) as I will be painting over in
Applecross on certain days. You are very welcome just to come and browse
and if you wish to purchase anything we accept most major credit cards.
Original oil paintings on box canvas frames start from as little as
I hope you have enjoyed reading about
us and have found it interesting.
Caroline and John McCormack
and, of course, Poppy!