Born and brought up in Dollar, Scotland, Catriona Campbell studied at Glasgow School of Art (1957–61). She was taught to observe by her father, Ian Campbell, who was also a painter, and teacher. Catriona was "taught by a man who was taught by a man who was taught by a man who was taught by Manet." As such Catriona's father taught her the importance of observation, space, and the absolute necessity of developing. Her love of colour, light and attention to the spaces between shapes shows the influence of Degas, Uccello, Velasquez and Stanley Spencer.
Campbell was a student of David Donaldson and Mary Armour at Glasgow School of Art and Form. While studying at Glasgow Campbell was awarded the Somerville Shanks Prize for Portraiture. During her career Campbell has gone on to win the Founder's Prize and the Anne Redpath Award from the Scottish Society of Women Artists, and the Morton Fraser Award from Visual Arts Scotland. She was elected a professional member of the Scottish Society of Women Artists (now re-named Visual Arts Scotland) in 1986 and subsequently a professional member of Paisley Art Institute.
Campbell has exhibited extensively throughout the UK including the Royal Scottish Academy, The Royal Scottish Institute and The Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London. Her work is included in private collections in the UK, Spain, Hong Kong, New Zealand, America and Australia.