Fittingly, it was a slow trawl up the Yarra earlier this year that provided the inspiration for Mary Hyde’s entry in a maritime-themed art contest.

Her oil painting, Docked and Loading, captures the apparent calmness surrounding freighters even as seafarers go about their work loading cargo. Blue sky frames two ships docked in Melbourne, while the city skyline can be seen in the distance.

Judges in the Mission to Seafarers’ ANL Maritime Art Award called it a “standout favourite”.

Hyde won the people’s choice award in 2009, but this year she won the coveted overall award.

The Epping resident described winning the competition as an inspiring experience. The artist of 20 years has never formally trained but has loved painting since she was a child.

“I’ve had a few classes over the years but nothing at a tertiary level.”

This is her sixth year as an entrant in the award yet ships and naval scenes are not her preferred subject matter. Rich colour and broad brushstrokes are hallmarks of her work.

“I paint anything and everything, but favour outdoor scenery,” says Hyde, who’s a member of the Victorian Artists Society and a winner of its artist of the year award in 2006 and 2012.

Mission to Seafarers chief executive officer Andrea Fleming said the quality of the exhibition this year was outstanding.

“The recurring theme, ‘the relationship between humanity and the sea’, conveys the importance of the ongoing work of the mission while showcasing the art genre,” Ms Fleming said.

The exhibition, at 717 Flinders Street, Docklands, is open from noon until 6pm daily until November 27.