Poppy Cottage Art

Lochcarron, Wester Ross, Scottish Highlands

This is Poppy, our Border Collie, to whom this website is dedicated.


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We are a member of the "Live the Highlands" project which aims to promote quality sustainable tourism throughout Wester Ross.


About Me


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!

First of 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.

Caroline McCormack and Poppy posing in front of a selection of Caroline's oil paintings.

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!

Caroline McCormack's painting of the view from the window at Seabank Cottage, Lochcarron, looking across Loch Carron towards Attadale.

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 Liverpool.

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 to me.

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.

Poppy, to whom this website is dedicated, and who was the inspiration for the name of Caroline McCormack's business, Poppy Cottage Art.

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 all.

A winter view from the shore at Lochcarron looking towards Attadale. Prints of this painting are available as Christmas cards.

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!

If you 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 £35.00.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about us and have found it interesting.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline and John McCormack

and, of course, Poppy!

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