Courtney earned her BA in Studio Art from the University of California Davis. She received her MFA in Painting from the New York Academy of Art, Graduate School of Figurative Art where she studied anatomy, contemporary painting and the techniques of the classical masters. She has attended the Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art in Brittany, France, The Art Center in Pasadena, as well as having spent four years at the California Art Institute where she studied with figurative artist, Jeremy Lipking. She has held positions as a resident artist at Art Square in Leesburg, Virginia, a professor of Art Foundations at the Art Institute of Washington and a Professor of Fine Art at Northern Virginia Community College. She is currently a Professor of Art at Long Beach City College, Moorpark College and California State University Long Beach.