Manarey's early work, primarily in oils, was based on the Alberta
landscape. Later works utilized acrylic and watercolour but she is
perhaps best known for miniature etchings. Her subject matter
included figurative imagery but she also painted larger abstract
canvasses using white pigment on a coloured ground to emphasize
positive versus negative space. She stated her objective was "to
achieve simplicity with content, whether it is in pencil, oils,
watercolour, or acrylic, whether the format is large or small,
whether the subject matter is realistic or abstract. My concern is
with negative and positive space and in the use of colour".
Born in Edmonton, Thelma was educated at the Institute of
Technology and Art, Calgary (later the Alberta College of Art). She
attended summer and extensions courses at the Banff Centre School
of Fine Arts, University of Washington and University of Alberta,
as well as a variety of workshops, including Emma Lake,
Saskatchewan, in 1960 and 1963.
She was an active member of the Alberta Society of Artists and
held several offices, including Vice-President (1967-68),
'Highlights' Editor (1957) and Assistant Editor (1960, 1963). For
her contributions to the Society, she was awarded the designation
of Life Member. She was very involved in the arts in Edmonton. In
1962, she was presented with an A.Y. Jackson painting as the prize
for obtaining 68 new members for the Edmonton Art Gallery! In 1973,
she received the Performing and Creative Arts Award, Visual Arts,
from the city for her "outstanding contributions to the cultural
life of Edmonton". She was also a member of the Canadian Society of
Painters - Etchers and Engravers.
Manarey's work has been chosen for many government buildings in
Canada and abroad; she was commissioned to paint several official
government portraits. Her work is represented in numerous public,
corporate and private collections, including Alberta House, London,
England and the Edmonton Public School Board.
As to medium and technique, I've run the gamut all right;
realism, impressionism, cubism, abstract expressionism - the lot.
Each of these explorations took a large chunk out of my life and
while I was doing it I figured "this is the greatest". Now, with
the etchings, I feel I've come full circle from 1955. She lectured
at the EAG from 1953, was on the council of the EAG 1967-69, and
taught extension courses for the University of Alberta in the
Northwest Territories. , from 1956.