Rod McRae, born in England, qualified as a doctor and worked as a GP in London before embarking on his painting career. This began with a bachelor degree in painting with honours at St Martin's College of Art, London, followed by a postgraduate degree from The Slade School of Fine Art. In 1982 Rod and his young family came to Australia, living in Sydney and Nimbin before settling in Melbourne a few years later.
Since 1985 Rod has exhibited in Melbourne at Pinocotheca Gallery in Richmond (until it closed in 1999) and in Sydney at Watters Gallery. He continues to show his work at Watters and has also had exhibitions at Watson Place Gallery (2005) and Place Gallery (2009) in Melbourne. His work has also been included in group shows and he is represented in several collections including the National Gallery of Victoria.