Monday, May 7, 2012

Western Avenue Series

Mile 23: Peterson-Pratt
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 Wednesday to see the painting completed based on this sketch.

The portion of Western between Peterson and Pratt feels like a heavily traveled commercial district, particularly the portion of the avenue which crosses Devon Avenue.  Devon has been settled by many immigrant groups, including Orthodox Jews, Russian Americans neighborhood, and near to Western South Asian immigrants.
In addition, this stretch of Western border nearly 90 acres of parkland, Warren Park, which is home to batting cages, a golf course, racquetball court, and in the winter an ice rink!  I was also struck by the Frank Z's car dealership, whose sign makes the claim that it is the "the world's largest" car dealership.

Have you visited the restaurants, sari shops and grocers of Devon?
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