Unlike many artists, Loretta Tearney Warner began her artistic career later in her life. She was one of nine children, raised in Tucson, Arizona by her father. Her parents were both from farming and ranching families in Iowa and South Dakota, families that prized and ingrained hard work, resourcefulness and perseverance. At an early age Loretta and her sisters were taught by an aunt to sew their own clothes and mend clothes for their brothers, and to use materials at hand to make numerous useful things. Sewing exposed Loretta to many types of fabrics, their different properties and textures. That exposure remained with her as she grew into adulthood, when she continued to make things from a myriad of materials, including designer clothes and everyday items. Her facility and creativity in working with these materials led some to say “she could make something beautiful from nothing.”
In her youth Loretta also fell in love with drawing and painting, a love that became a passion that continued throughout her life. But in her late teens Loretta moved to California and for economic reasons began a career outside the arts. And while her artistic drive never left her it was not until many years later that, after developing her own business, marrying and raising a family, she was able to devote herself to a serious pursuit of her artistic impulses and begin to realize her creative potential. She studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art and the Animation Guild in Los Angeles, California. She participated in numerous workshops with David Leffel, Scott Christiansen, Henry Yan, Sherry McGraw and Jeffrey Hein. From this she developed her own artistic voice. Her work has been exhibited at Monarch Gallery in La Jolla, California, Alice Rice Gallery in Laguna Beach, California, Simon Gallery in Tucson, Arizona, the 2016 Los Angeles Fine Art Show, Stephanie’s Gallery in La Cañada Flintridge, California, and in shows in Brentwood, California, Pacific Palisades, California, Venice, California, and at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
Working for several years with oil and acrylic, in 2011 Loretta incorporated textiles into her art, making use of her lifelong knowledge and experience with these materials. After much experimentation, she chose burlap as the predominant material she would use because of its color and versatility and because she found meaning in its common quality—stitching large and small pieces of burlap to a linen backing provided the right mix of texture and flow, definition and diffusion, to allow her to highlight imperfection and gracefulness in her subjects. The process by which Loretta combines fabric and paint also facilitates change in her creation, a very important value in her working technique. For Loretta, making art is a process of experimentation. She almost always begins with a clear image, and sometimes that clarity remains. But often she tries to lose that clarity, finding a new statement of the original. Arriving at that new statement gives her the truest sense of her expression in a mosaic of materials converging to express deep emotions. Her new body of work, “Images in Textiles and Paint”, embodies these concepts and methods.
Loretta lives and has her studio in Santa Monica, California.