Meinke Flesseman - Praia do Amado.jpg

Meinke Flessemann’s paintings on display at Galeria Côrte-Real

Capturing the excitement generated by one the Algarve’s most attractive surf beaches, Meinke Flessemann’s paintings of Praia do Amado are currently on display at Galeria Côrte-Real in Paderne. A number of factors explain why Portugal’s west coast is host to many world record breaking waves.
Being the most westerly point in all of Europe, ocean swells whipped up by the wind sweep across the Atlantic, a distance of more than 5,500 kilometers. Significantly – north of Lisbon at Nazaré – the headwall of Europe’s biggest underwater ravine rises to the surface just one kilometer from the shore. Waves increase in size as the ravine narrows emerging as great walls of water reaching heights of up to 30 meters or more.
This is where the champions of the surf world regularly make their record breaking attempts. Carlos Burle from Brazil and Garrett McNamara from Hawaii have been there. Andrew Cotton, a humble plumber from Devon, just missed out on the $10,000 Global Big Wave Award. His ride of the year, just off the coast of Nazaré in February was on the crest of a monster storm wave. Finally plummeting off his board into the depths, the precaution of an inflatable vest returned him to the surface.
By comparison, the waves at Praia do Amado are manageable but nevertheless surf schools and surfing jargon are the norm. ‘Groundswells, windswells, kangaroo waves, lefts, rights, onshore and offshore’ are important technicalities.
The artist – carrying easel, paints and canvas – was an unlikely figure amongst the beach community equipped with their skimboards, bodyboards and well-waxed surfboards.
Settling herself beneath the copper-coloured cliffs she began a series of paintings especially commissioned by Galeria Côrte-Real. The landscape is Jurassic and out at sea islands and stacks have been eroded from the mainland.
Of more interest to Meinke, “It is the interaction of people and the great outdoors,” she says.
“The whole area of the Costa Vincentina is a natural park protected from tourist developments. Every day that I was there the beach was never crowded. A paradise place to paint and fall in love with the splashing of the sea.”
Meinke Flesseman is Dutch and a long-term resident in Portugal. She studied Fine Art in Amsterdam, later graduating to the Lorenzo di Medici Academy in Moscow. She is one of Côrte-Real’s most favoured artists.
To reach Praia do Amado:
From Sagres, drive north to Aljezur on the N268. At Carrapateira take the left-hand junction. It’s a five minute drive to the beach.
To reach Galeria Côrte-Real:
The gallery is signposted from Boliqueime, Ferreiras and Paderne.
It is open Thursday to Sunday, from 11am until 5pm.
Telephone: 912 737 762
By Carolyn Kain
Photo: Praia do Amado by Meinke Flesseman on display at Galeria Côrte-Real