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The world was her inspiration


April 24, 2006

Owen Grommeís daughter encouraged Anne Reinke to begin painting.

Artist Francesca Reinke is an illustrious example of what great things can come from simply a word or two of encouragement. Although Reinke had drawn as a child, she believed that her sister was a better artist. So she put away her art supplies until she met Owen Grommeís daughter, Ann.

"Ann encouraged me to start painting," says Reinke. "She sent me books. Iíve been lucky to have had people in my life whoíve been encouraging."

On Annís recommendation, Reinke took a continuing education class at Brookfield East High School 17 years ago. And she hasnít put down her brushes since.

The Waukesha resident is known for her oils of landscapes and figures. Some of them can be seen at Oconomowocís Griffin Gallery. "Iíve never done watercolor," she says. "Thereís a richness about oils and itís a very forgiving medium."

The petite artist, whose ancestors hail from southern Italy, has garnered a lot of her inspiration from her travels. She and her late husband, a design engineer for an Illinois-based firm, traveled the globe as part of his work. Not surprisingly, she counts Florence as one of her favorite cities.

"I was very fortunate," she recalls. "My husband had business all over the world. He would go to meetings and I would be taken around. My very first trip anywhere was to Japan." Reinke notes that her husband and her four children were also very supportive of her painting.

Art has been a passion all of Reinkeís life. In addition to the childhood competition with her sister, she remembers going on field trips to the Art Institute in Chicago when she was enrolled in middle and high school in Kenosha. "Art is wonderful and itís frustrating and itís inspiring and every emotion you can think of," she says. But she admits that art in the Midwest is very underrated. "Artists donít get the attention that they would if they were on the coasts," says Reinke. "In Europe, people grow up seeing art all around them. In Europe, artists are respected."