The inspiration for my paintings comes from the working side of the maritime world—the colors and textures of tankers, containerships and rusty old bulk carriers. I’ve known this environment all my life. The colors and markings on these working ships are endlessly varied and often starkly beautiful, especially at the waterline. The rusted scrapes, drips and smears; the characteristic lettering and numbers, give each vessel a distinct personality. These ships travel the world, and each port they visit leaves its mark, which inscribes the story of each ship on its skin. Most of my work begins with an image from this seldom-painted side of the maritime world. Rather than paint a ship from stem to stern, I focus in “close-up” on its markings.
I keep in mind a favorite saying of my teacher Charles Emerson: “Reality is highly overrated.” I thus manipulate color, perspective, composition, and texture, and as a result, my paintings include realistic images that become abstract canvasses.
View Artwork by Melinda Hannigan in Person
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