Meinke has been in the Algarve for 23 years and grew up here. She started her career in jewellery but she soon realised it was limiting and did not give her the artistic freedom which she sought after. Following this, she started painting which she “completely fell in love with because it is so much freer”.
She had always loved art from early childhood as it was her “perfect escape”. She then went on to complete art school in Holland and has studied art in Russia, Italy and England, but nothing quite beats the magic that is the Algarve, as it inspires her creativity and possesses such uniqueness.
Meinke’s style has really developed over time and in her opinion, it keeps evolving, but she relates most to modern figurative art. She has several different styles but she has a tendency to have a more brush mark style which has become more cemented and is now known as her signature.
The topics she works on are varied and she does a lot of ceramic tiles, water colour paintings, sculptures, oil and acrylic paintings of animals and portraits as well as nature inspired pieces, as she is mainly inspired by what is around her. She told me during the lockdown, her work focused on the desolate and abandoned streets where she lives.
Although she has done a lot of water focused paintings, she is now working on pieces that show Portuguese living. Meinke also loves the water medium which she does on larger canvases, that have a beautiful water colour effect and she has done several life model sketches in water colour rather than the typical charcoal. My favourite pieces of hers are her water topic pieces that are so different to her other pieces and are fluid, dreamlike and colourful. I love the way in which her work romanticises beaches and swimming pools and are so positive, reaping the message that better days are coming.
Meinke also told me that her favourite pieces have had a lot of interest from French people, as last summer, a French programme, “Maison France 5” which focused on travel and architecture, showcased her work, leading to many people’s discovery of her work. I am not surprised that people love these pieces as they evoke care-free living and transport you to Algarvian summers. The way in which Meinke plays with light and how it touches the water is striking and emphasises the freedom of being in the water and the hopeful return of Summer after the pandemic.
Additionally, Meinke does some beautiful ceramic works which are so detailed and capture Portuguese culture so wonderfully. She currently has a huge tile commission to complete for a restaurant in the centre of Portugal which is 12.5 metres by 3 metres.
We also spoke about what the Algarve means to her as an artist and she told me she is completely “inspired by the Algarve and it fuels me to create due to the beautiful quality of life here as well as the exquisite light and brightness that is so unique.” I also asked her what her favourite pieces are and she told me that in each series that she does, she has a favourite piece and currently her latest animal painting and ones of markets and streets take that top spot for her. She also told me she has kept portraits of family members over the years that mean a lot to her too.
If you are interested in seeing her enchanting pieces, her studio is available for people to visit with prior booking. Additionally, you can see her work in more detail a meinke-flesseman.com and via Instagram
Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.