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This article was published 15/3/2019 (273 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The basement of Annemarie Layman’s split-level Charleswood home is part workshop and part art gallery. Her brightly coloured and carefully hung paintings are the first things you notice when you walk in the front door.
Layman has been an artist her whole life, but embraced her artistic passion more seriously when she retired from teaching 18 years ago.
"When you’re a teacher, summer comes and every parent says, ‘Oh, great you’re off.’ It takes the entire month of July to come down from the stress and by August you’re already thinking and working on what you’re going to do next year," she told The Metro. "It’s a rare artist that’s able to do (art) if you’re teaching also."
Layman is one of 44 artists taking part in this year’s Artarama charity art exhibit and show from March 29 to 31 at Mary, Mother of the Church (85 Kirkbridge Dr.). Proceeds from the annual event organized by Knights of Columbus - Council No. 5264, are donated to local charities like Winnipeg Harvest, Rossbrook House and Habitat for Humanity, among others.
An involved member of the Winnipeg art community, this isn’t the first time Layman has shown at Artarama — but it is an event she looks forward to each year.
"It’s really fine work and it’s nice to see such talent in this city and the province," she said.
Layman grew up in Germany and came to Canada when she was in Grade 5 following the end of the Second World War. As a child, she was constantly drawing.
"The teacher would give me an ‘F’ in art, which used to outrage me because I thought I was pretty good," she said, laughing. "That came forward later."
In adulthood, an opportunity to teach an art class at her daughter’s school — and the encouragement of her late husband — inspired her to become a teacher. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a degree in fine arts and education and went on to work in the Winnipeg School Division for 15 years where she taught nearly every subject.
"I wouldn’t go near math, but the irony of it is that I worked 10 years before that at a bank," she said. "That was my second life."
Throughout her career, Layman’s style of painting with bright colours and bold brushstrokes has remained largely unchanged. The media she works with, however, has been constantly evolving.
"It’s good to try different media, it’s not good to stay in one I really believe that, you need to branch out, you need to try new things."
These days she primarily works with acrylic paint and collage.
In the upper level of her home hangs work that is close to her heart, including a collage featuring the first act of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and a watercolour she painted after an African safari with her husband.
"That’s the one that won’t leave my house," she said of the painting of a herd of zebras.
For Layman, inspiration comes from all sorts of places.
"A lot of it comes from travelling and from memories and looking at other art and meeting other people," she said. "It’s rare when there isn’t any (inspiration), you just need the time to put it down."
There will be more than 2,000 pieces of art available for purchase at Artarama, with prices ranging from $3 to $2,000. Admission to the event is free. Visit mmoc.ca/events/artarama-2019/2019-03-29 for more information.
Eva Wasney reports on arts, culture and life for the Winnipeg Free Press.