Dawning was born in Tillamook Oregon, but lived in the small neighboring town called Cloverdale. Her family soon separated and gave her the opportunity to live what she likes to call a "split life." Part of her life was spent on the road with her dad, and the other part of her life was spent living with her new family in SW Portland. Her life in Portland gave her the freedom to be her own person, which was fostered with help from her mom. Her mom encouraged her artistic endeavors by involving her in any activities her family could afford, and her mom also continuously brought home art supplies from garage sales.
When Dawning wasn't with her family in Portland, she was having adventures with her dad. Dawning has been writing stories about their adventures to compile a book of what Dawning calls "their greatest hits."
Dawning was fortunate enough to have hands on experience with artist mentors from birth. Not only is her mom very creative, her uncle is a professional artist. Dawning's uncle has had a huge influence on her life and art work. He exposed her to a diverse world of fine art. Dawning cherishes her time spent going to the symphony to watch him play viola, and how he always found time to take her to museums and galleries.
Dawning credits many of her accomplishments to the support of her life partner, who helps her continue her "split life." Together, Dawning and her partner pursue their intellectual and artistic endeavors in their daily lives. Being avid outdoor enthusiasts, Dawning feels that through their adventures she gets the chance to experience things not only in her perspective, but also in her partner's perspective. This gives Dawning a larger picture and a larger world to create in.