Laura Craig McNellis was born in Nashville, TN, the youngest of four girls, and lived with her family for 41 years. A developmental disability prevented her from going to school with her sisters, so instead she watched her mother refurbish a neglected boarding house into a single-family home.
After spontaneously making a painting following a shopping outing, she began depicting her expanding environment, including subjects such as buildings, cars, and planes. By the time she was an adolescent; McNellis was a relentless painter and often worked throughout the night. Her immense oeuvre was later stored in numerous boxes around the family’s home.
Beginning in 1985, she ceased painting for fifteen years, then resumed making her art once again. She currently works at Studio XI/ Signature Home in Morgantown, North Carolina.