Phyllis Ray was born on October 28, 1936, in Astoria, Oregon. She has lived in Gresham and Albany, Oregon, Thousand Oaks, California, Seattle, Washington and, of course, at sea. She has lived in a cabin by Lake Washington, at Sunny Arms, an artist's co-operative in an old shoe factory, and in several regular houses. Phyllis has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon and a Master’s degree in counseling from the University of Washington. She worked as a psychotherapist from 1974 to 2004 (with a three-year sailing hiatus), when she retired to paint full-time. She now lives and paints in Kirkland, Washington, with her husband Robert and two cats, Paint and Url Grey. She is a signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society, past president of Women Painters of Washington, member of the National Watercolor Society, American Watercolor Society and East Side Association of Fine Arts.