Lori Ann (Steckmesser) Dawson was born in California and grew up in the South where she received her BFA in Painting at the University of Alabama.
After college, Lori read Daniel Greene’s book, Pastel which led to a further fascination and inspiration on everything about the medium. The love of drawing and the behavior of pastel drove her with energy and a desire to create. From this, she developed a fine art portfolio in people studies that, strangely, landed her a Federal Government position. This position evolved over 30 years of her civilian career as an Army technical illustrator to eventually as an Air Force senior graphic designer working with some of the highest Air Force officials at the Pentagon.
So as not to lose touch with her fine art techniques and abilities, as lead designer she would incorporate fine art portraiture into her designs whenever it could be appropriate. Her work was acknowledged by the Air Force and sometimes special requested for official portraiture work. She was encouraged to become active in the Air Force Art Program. Soon her involvement and quality of her work enabled her to be chosen for travel and artistically portray the Air Force in the many facets of its service. Frequently, she was chosen to portray Air Force award recipients, Outstanding Airmen, celebrated new and historical figures, and Air Force Office of Special Investigation (OSI) fallen heroes. Her pastel portraiture, commissioned at the request of the Air Force hang in the Pentagon, Quantico, and Air Force bases around the world.
Now living in Vienna, Virginia, a town just outside the Washington D.C. beltway and retired from civil service, she devotes herself full time to pastel portraiture. Recently, her interest has been to capture candid moments that happen during life’s celebrations or when life is celebrated.
A class taken with Dani Dawson at the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia, “was the most valuable lesson in portraiture (she) could ever have done for (her) work—for color and value.”
She is a member of The Pastel Society of America and The National Portrait Society of America.