McRae studied at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen from 1987 to 93. Since 1988 her work has appeared in group and solo exhibitions in Britain and America, and she has won numerous awards including the BP Travelling Scholarship in 1999. Best known for her distinctive portraits, she has had work commissioned from the National Portrait Gallery, London and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. McRae is also an enthusiastic printmaker. She currently lives in London.