Richard M. Proctor was born in Detroit, Michigan, and after graduating from Michigan State University with an M.A. in Painting, he spent most of life in the Northwest. Along with teaching art and textile design at the University of Washington, Proctor operated the Childers/Proctor Gallery in Langley, Washington with fellow artist and long time partner, Ron Childers. While he is no longer involved with Childers/Proctor, he is still an Associate Professor Emeritus at the University. Proctor has also been a docent at the Palm Springs Art Museum in California since 2001.

Along with being an accomplished painter, printmaker, and ceramicist, Proctor is also an author. He has written two books, Principles of Pattern Design and Surface Design for Fabric. Proctor splits his time between California and Washington and is still creating art.