Rae’s paintings combine the influence of landscape and travel with painterly abstraction. When Rae was awarded a travel scholarship in 1966, it unleashed a love of travel that remains with her. Although she does not like the term landscape painter, the importance of place is very apparent in her works; in particular the human traces and patterns of history that are left on a landscape. Spain is Rae’s favourite destination, providing her with endless inspiration as we can see in her latest work. Rae’s printmaking has been integral to her artistic activity since her student days. The way she conceives and works on her mono prints, screen prints and etchings complements and informs her approach to painting. The discipline imposed by these media and the unique opportunities offered by them create a set of possibilities, which stimulate her vision of the world, whether she is drawing, painting, making prints, or simply observing.
Barbara Rae studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1961 to 1965. She was awarded a travel scholarship, enabling her to work in France and Spain in 1966. She went on to have a teaching career in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow.