This in progress painting 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 a post about the next mile of Western.
This corner store located at the corner of 38th street seems fairly indicative of the surrounding area. The store remains open, but it is clearly a shadow of what it once was. In the same way, this industrial stretch, still pulses faintly, but it seems clear that it no longer reflects a former vibrance. I imagine that 50 years ago, every factory was running at full steam, the streets bustled with factory employees and the homes and schools nearby were filled with families of these men.
Stay tuned for the completed painting. I'm hoping to complete the pencil drawing and watercolor painting this week!