Monday, February 14, 2011

Western Avenue Series

Mile 1: 119th Street-114th Street
This sketch is a part of my Western Avenue Series, through which I'll be making 24 watercolor paintings, one to document each mile of Western Avenue, in Chicago.  I started this project because while it is not considered to be among the most “beautiful” of Chicago’s streets, Western Avenue is a perfect place to document the humanness of Chicago, the positive and the negative. In the words of Stuart Dybek, "Western, with apologies to State Street, is a great street,  Unlike State, it is a street that goes to the interior, the heart of the city, as it glides and glows through a United Nations of neighborhoods."  Check back next Monday to see the painting completed based on this sketch.

The southern-most stretch of Western in Chicago is a part of the Beverly neighborhood.  It is an area that appears to have seen very little change in the last 50 years or so.  This is evidenced by a number of small businesses that have been in operation for many years.  

For example, Beverly Costumes, which rents costumes has been open since 1967.  Another local business the Beverly Woods restaurant was established in 1954 and has been a staple of the neighborhood ever since.
The painting to represent this mile of Western will feature Beverly Records.  Next week, I'll post that painting and a bit more about a classic Chicago record store.

How far south have you ventured on Western Avenue?
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