Story by Julie Blair
Photos by Johnny Miller
Although she is an internationally collected artist, Ann Moeller Steverson calls north Alabama home. She has a studio in Huntsville’s Lowe Mill and lives in Madison with her two daughters. “Madison County is a gorgeous and green place to live. I’m raising my girls here, and the community feels safe, has great schools and has lots of activities and opportunities for them,” Steverson said. “I’m in close proximity to Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, making it a quick ride into my studio. I grew up here, and to have the largest privately-owned arts facility in America spring up here is a magical gift.”
Steverson’s art includes paintings of portraits and still life. She said she finds inspiration all around her. “So many things strike me as beautiful and compelling. Sometimes I am interested in an idea or concept, but so often a spark is something visual I encounter. I am inspired by other artists’ work, travel, Instagram, color combinations or impressions of my everyday life,” she explained. “Right now, I am deeply interested in meditation and trying to listen to a voice outside myself when I’m painting that knows how it wants the painting to be. I am usually a realistic painter. Listening to intuition and learning to untie myself from a visual reference is very freeing and expands my work. Simply put, I hear a voice that says, ‘I think it would be pretty to’ or ‘I just wish this was different or would be better if’ and then I do that.”
It isn’t easy to be a working artist, and Steverson’s career path has taken a few turns. “For undergraduate school, I attended the University of Montevallo and UAH and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in graphic design and web cognate minor,” she said. “I then worked at an advertising agency for a year before deciding to go back to school to become an art teacher. I got my Master of Arts from Alabama in art education. While getting my degree, I was hired to teach art in a middle school, which I did for several years. I left public school teaching when my first daughter was born. Instead of returning to the public-school classroom, I then started to pursue my own painting professionally while still teaching as an adjunct at several universities, the Huntsville Museum of Art and in my own studio.”
While her career always focused on art, she also ventured into several businesses. “I partnered with two other artists to form Protégé Atelier. Protégé has brought internationally-acclaimed artists from all over the country who we wanted to study with to advance our own skills and share something special with our local artist community,” Steverson said. “I also launched Venus Copper panels to introduce my own special copper painting surface for artists.” The product line was picked up by Artefex panels and is now sold nationwide.
Currently, Steverson said she counts herself lucky “to combine my passions for teaching, painting and entrepreneurship. I’m fortunate to be internationally collected and spend my days doing what I love and working with wonderful inspiring creative people.” Steverson teaches in her Lowe Mill Studio and for Calhoun Community College and Athens State. She also offers workshops in other cities. “I offer a variety of drawing and painting classes for all ages and levels – from Saturday group classes with a topic as simple as how to put paint on your palette and mix colors, to private mentorships for serious artists trying to put together a portfolio or figure out how to take their work to the next level,” Steverson said. “I offer social figure drawing classes in the evenings and portrait/head study groups. There really is something for everyone.”
Lowe Mill isn’t the only place to find Ann’s work. She is represented by the Little Green Store on Monte Sano Mountain and sells work in group shows all over the country. “Sometimes folks fall in love with a piece they find in my studio, on Instagram or Facebook or from my website, and I can send it to their home. I also take commissions and work with individuals to achieve a combined vision,” Steverson said. “Often my commissions are portraits of loved ones and become treasures for the whole family.”