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Artist Biography

                                         Kathleen Truax


Even as a child I loved to draw and paint. My mom’s sculptures and my dad’s slides of artists’ renderings of the planets were my first exposures to art.  At age 12 I took my first formal art lesson.  At 16 I taught myself watercolor painting from a book.  I won a couple of “Honorable Mention” awards during high school, for watercolor and for a self-portrait.

At Occidental College, I did not major in art because the art department rejected realism, which was all I knew. I majored in history, married, and moved to Cambridge Massachusetts with my husband.  Art took a back seat while I put him through graduate school. Later we moved to a town near Cleveland Ohio. While raising three daughters I took studio art classes in design, life drawing, life painting, and sculpture.

Between 1969 and 1979 I took 33 units of studio classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art, The Cooper School of Art in Cleveland, and with William Grauer, who included the Cleveland Art Museum among his collectors.  I also worked one summer as a quick portrait artist at an amusement park.  Our family moved from Ohio to California in 1977.  For the next 2 years, I took studio art classes at Marin Community College, the Mill Valley Art Guild, and at Ann O’Hanlon’s Sight and Insight Gallery in Mill Valley.  There I began to delve into abstraction.

Painting was my avocation throughout adulthood, even after I returned to school for a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and pursued a career as a licensed Marriage and Family therapist.  I illustrated a column in the Independent Journal, participated in Open Studios in West Marin, Marin Open Studios, and the Marin Art Festival in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

I practiced as a licensed MFT for 30 years, both at a local agency and in private practice in Marin and Sonoma counties.  I also taught at Dominican University in the Counseling Psychology Department. Children and families were a focus in my clinical practices.

Following retirement in 2012 I studied oil painting for 4 years with Sandra Speidel, painting landscapes en plein air, as well as abstractions, still life and figures. I continue to try to integrate realism and abstraction believing that doing so benefits both approaches.

I began visiting Port Orford in 2015 with longtime resident David Quaife at his cottage The Cat’s Meow.  I now return several times a year. The magic created by Battle Rock and the sea stacks, sculpted over millennia by the surf, has inspired more than 30 paintings since that first visit. My website is  I can be reached by email at or 707-996-1919.