In the four short years since she washed ashore, island artist Meredith Hanson has certainly made a name for herself. From her stunning landscape paintings on display at the Artists Association of Nantucket, to her business Mer’s Anchored Artists — where she teaches painting to the young, budding artists of the island during the summer months — to her megawatt smile and contagious positive attitude, Meredith’s talents are undeniable. N Magazine sat down with the painter to hear about art on Nantucket and what inspires her creativity.
N MAGAZINE: How did your love of art and creating art develop?
HANSON: At a very young age, I loved to pick up a paint brush and express “my inner artist” with bold colors and a variety of different themes! My whole life has revolved around animals and I believe with all my heart that painting and drawing these beautiful creatures has allowed me to really express this incredible spiritual connection I share with them.
N MAGAZINE: What first brought you to Nantucket and when did you first arrive?
HANSON: I first arrived on Nantucket when I was 10 months old! Throughout my childhood and teen years, I vacationed on the island with my immediate family, grandparents, and cousins. I made Nantucket my permanent home, however, after I graduated from Wheaton College in 2011. Once I arrived, I immediately realized how welcoming and supportive the art community on Nantucket truly is!
N MAGAZINE: How has your art changed since coming to Nantucket?
HANSON: Since moving to the island four years ago, the most dramatic changes in my art work have been my color palette and the canvas sizes. I am drawn to certain blue/violet hues such as ultramarine blue, kings blue, misty blue and radiant violet – I find that these colors have a soft and calming quality about them. I particularly love using these colors in my skies and in my wave paintings. Over the past few years I have also intensified my brushstrokes by allowing separate strokes to stand alone. You can see the best example of this type of brush work in my “Frothy Waves” painting. While changing my application and brushstroke technique, I also found my love for painting on large canvases. I have gone from standard size canvases to 5 and 6 foot canvases! Painting on such large canvases allows for my brushstrokes to free up and makes me appreciate the physical part of painting as well.
N MAGAZINE: How would you describe the art scene on Nantucket?
HANSON: The art community on Nantucket is sensational! When I joined the Artists Association of Nantucket in 2012, my art career took off. I owe much of my artistic success to the wonderful people at AAN who have encouraged and supported me, and to all the Nantucket artists I have had the honor and pleasure of painting with over the past few years. As a young artist it can be difficult to find your way but the Nantucket art community embraces and nurtures young talent. I couldn’t imagine being an artist anywhere else!
N MAGAZINE: Why do you think Nantucket is home to so many artists?
HANSON: Nantucket is a visual feast for the art community which is why so many artists have made the island their home. For me, it is a magical place because it inspires me to do my best work! As one of my young art student’s told me, painting on Nantucket is something we can all enjoy doing together, it is our meeting place. It doesn’t get any better than that!
N MAGAZINE: If you could share a meal with any artist dead or alive, who would it be and why?
HANSON: I would love to share a meal with Mary Cassatt! When I first learned of Cassatt’s work and her life journey as a female artist, she immediately became my art role model, or spirit animal as people are saying these days! Mary Cassatt portrays the most intimate and beautiful moments shared between mother and child. When looking at Cassatt’s work it reminds me of how lucky I am to have the most extraordinary mother in the world!
N MAGAZINE: Do you have any pre-painting rituals you do before you start painting?
HANSON: I love to throw on some music, do a little dancing and stretching before I begin to paint. It really relaxes me and gets me in a place where I can tune out the rest of the world for a few hours and dive right into my paints!
N MAGAZINE: From where do you draw your inspiration for your work?
HANSON: I am inspired by the island’s year-round natural beauty and also find great inspiration from all the amazing people in my life. My fiancé, Nick Addeo, is an amazing artist and sculptor. As a couple, we fuel each other’s individual creativity with positive energy and encouragement. We are there for each other 24/7 and it’s Nick’s love and support that helps me grow as an artist and as an art teacher. I am also inspired and dazzled by my art students! Their passion, talent, and love for art is what makes my choice of career paths incredibly rewarding!
N MAGAZINE: What is your favorite painting that you have done in your art career?
HANSON: I actually have two very special and treasured paintings! The first is a pastel portrait that I did back in high school of my first dog, Dune. I love being able to “see” her everyday. Accompanying my painting of Dune in my studio/gallery is a painting that I did of my horse, Henne. Horseback riding has been a part of my life for 20 years and I have been incredibly lucky to have these magnificent, loving animals in my life.
N MAGAZINE: What is your favorite part of what you do in your role as art teacher with Mer’s Anchored Artists?
HANSON: From one summer season to the next, I have had the incredible joy of watching my students become talented young artists! Knowing that they are going to have the best time when they meet me on location or walk through my studio door is a day maker. Doing what I love everyday with such exceptional kids and having the opportunity to pass down all the things I’ve learned as an artist is, in a word, priceless!
N MAGAZINE: Where can people view and purchase your work?
HANSON: My artwork is available to view throughout the year at the Artists Association of Nantucket, on my website, and at my home/studio at 3 Pond Road.
N MAGAZINE: If you were to make a time capsule with the 5 items that most represent Nantucket to you, what would they be?
HANSON: First, photos of me and my family, students, and friends on Nantucket. They have all made Nantucket so special for me, and it is because of them that I am so lucky to call Nantucket my home. Second, all of my artsy outfits – aka most of my wardrobe! They are covered in paint! Third, if I could bottle up the ocean and Cisco beach and put it in the time capsule I would! Fourth, thank you notes from my students – I treasure their words and sentiments and will cherish them forever! And last, my Williamsburg oil paints which I first discovered at my favorite art store, Create!