Born and raised in Saint Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia. Her father was a chief of operations department of the country's largest shipping company, and her mother was a physicist and a descendant of the Russian hero, Peter Telushkin, featured in the famous painting by Russian artist G. Chernetzov, "Parade Celebrating the End of Military Action in the Kingdom of Poland on Tsaritsa Meadow in St. Petersburg on 6 October 1831" which hangs in The State Russian Museum.

Katya studied at the Stieglitz St. Petersburg State Academy of Art and Industry in St. Petersburg, Russia, concentrating on classical painting, drawing and decorative textiles. While a student, she frequently traveled to Western Europe to paint city scenes en plein-air. She graduated with a Master of Arts Degree in 1995.  Her diploma work, a hand woven tapestry "Seven Feet Under Keel," was included in "The Best Diploma Works" exhibition at Stieglitz Museum. In 1999, she was inducted into the League of Designers of Russia.

Katya has traveled extensively in Europe as an artist, travel writer and photographer, gathering first-hand knowledge of the Masters by studying their paintings in Germany, France, Italy and England.

In 1998, Katya moved to the United States, while keeping a residence in Russia, and has continued to study various painting techniques in classes and workshops notably at Studio Incamminati, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, I.E. Repin's Academy, St. Petersburg, and Angel Academy in Florence, Italy.