When Macdonald begins to work in earnest towards an exhibition of new work she will travel to Iona for inspiration. It has drawn artists back to work from nature, and in all her moods provides for Macdonald both the familiarity and stimulus she needs to begin another journey.

Like Peploe and Cadell, Frances Macdonald greatly appreciates the juxtaposition of dark, angular rock and white sand. Her use of the palette knife creates a dynamism and animation in each painting. Hers is bravura painting, her means perfectly suited to capture the essence of the broken skies and raging seas in full force, with rocks transformed into cubistic patterns. In her third exhibition at The Scottish Gallery during February 2013, Frances Macdonald looked at new subject matter: sketching the flora and fauna of the Galápagos, where she visited in November, and the South of France, where she often visits. In April 2013 Frances was awarded the Charles Rennie Mackintosh residency at Collioure and visited France in May 2013.