Elaine Badgley Arnoux was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1926 as Helen Elaine Harper. At age 11, she moved to Whittier in Southern California. She attended Chouinard Art Institute from 1944 to 1946 on a scholarship. In 1946 she married Robert Stranahan. They moved to San Luis Obispo, and she worked as a watercolorist depicting landscapes and buildings of the area. She helped found San Luis Obispo Art Association in 1952, and was its first president.
Painter, portraitist, teacher, activist and illustrator, Arnoux’s works are featured in the collections of numerous museums, including the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, the National Women’s Museum in Washington, D.C., the Triton Museum of Art, the de Saisset Museum and the Berkeley Art Museum. Some of Arnoux’s San Franciscans portraits are featured in the book, The People of San Francisco: Lives of Accomplishment.