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Trained in the fine arts at Cal State University Fullerton, McElroy added illustration, graphics and design skills at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA. Throughout her career she has made art for herself, while creating award-winning illustrations, packaging, and collateral. She continues to teach art, design, and does computer graphics.
Her books, which are published by F&W Publications, are testaments to her inherent need to experiment. Working with co-author Sandra Duran Wilson, in Image Transfer Workshop, McElroy explains the image transfer process and offers tips for fixing mishaps. Her second book, Surface Treatment Workshop, outlines the mixed-media techniques that add depth and texture to her own artwork. Her third title, Mixed Media Revolution, due out in December 2012, examines ways to evaluate and reconfigure a work of art, taking it to the next level.
McElroy's exhibition record, which began in the early 1990s in the Bay area and Newport Beach, CA, includes numerous solo and group exhibitions. Among her suggestive show titles are Stigmata, Odd Thoughts, Scattered, Beneath the Temple, Novellas, Modern Myths, and Lost Thoughts and Ancient Cultures. A participant in Santa Fe's annual juried Contemporary Hispanic Market since 2002, she received the Best of Show award in 2010 and continues to serve as a CHM board volunteer, as well as for other arts organizations. Her work is represented at La Posada in Santa Fe, NM, and Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH. McElroy has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, since 1995.
"I have always been involved with the fight for humanity. In the mid to late 60's, I was in Berkeley, CA, protesting the Vietnam War. From there I went to the coal mining area of West Virginia where I did community organization as a Vista Volunteer, our domestic Peace Corp. After all this time, especially now, I find the need to keep fighting for mankind.
Being a tri-cultural artist and woman, I find that the road I walk shows me more than one side of issues. Because of my Irish looks, people have voiced offensive words or stereotypical thinking about Hispanics and Native Americans without realizing that, yes, I am one. Appearances are not the person. I grew up with this, but if you have your DNA done you may find that you are more than you think.
My work has always dealt with feminine and religious issues but, more recently, issues of cultural appropriation and politics are finding their way into my paintings. The messages in my art may be veiled with color and texture, hidden by more obvious messages or the viewer may only see the beauty of the paint. As in life, people see what they want to see. I paint on, leaving my messages on the canvas for people to find."