For this vigorous rendition of an Italian village, McClure used the medium of gouache which is ideal for rapid, on-the-spot painting. He adeptly captures the light and colour of the scene and the work is enlivened by lively brush strokes and sketchy lines. He began his trips to the continent when he was awarded a travelling scholarship to Spain and Italy in 1952.
Houses in Toscana is typical of McClure's earlier work which was predominantly concerned with landscape. Later he specialised in interiors which featured still lifes, flowers, studio furniture or nudes. Like several other young Scottish artists of his generation, such as Anne Redpath, David Michie, John Houston and Elizabeth Blackadder, he used bold and vibrant colours. This can be seen as reflecting the influence of Matisse, mediated through Leslie Hunter, one of the celebrated Scottish Colourists, who is acknowledged as an important influence on the post-war generation in Scotland.
McClure exhibited regularly in Scotland and as part of mixed shows of Scottish artists. He was elected ARSA in 1963, RSW in 1965 and RSA in 1971. His work is represented in many collections, including those of the Aberdeen and Dundee Art Galleries and the Universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh and St Andrews.