Mark Cleveland,
Mark Cleveland, "Stuck at the Light: Heart o’ Chicago," Oil, 12 x 12 in.

Paintings of Chicago > Uncommon Ground presents its first exhibition by Plein Air Painters Chicago (PAPC) through January 3, 2022. The show, “Chicago for Real,” features paintings in oil, acrylic, pastel, and watercolor of scenes that will be very recognizable to locals. From neighborhood landmarks to well-trod park paths to unnamed alleys, each painting has a familiar feeling of Chicago.

Helen Cameron, half of the wife-husband duo that owns Uncommon Ground, juried the show looking for scenes of fall and winter with a particular eye on Edgewater-area locales. She selected forty paintings that reflect Chicago’s diverse landscape from the perspective of its residents. The exhibition is an opportunity for people to purchase affordable, original artwork by local artists. Most paintings range between $300 and $500.

Olga Kornfeld, "Edgewater (with Boat)," Oil, 10 x 13 in.
Olga Kornfeld, “Edgewater (with Boat),” Oil, 10 x 13 in.

Uncommon Ground has had a community focus since the opening of its first location on Clark Street in 1991, and artists have long been a part of that mission. As the coffee shop expanded into a full restaurant and music venue, art soon followed on the walls. When the Camerons opened their Edgewater location in 2007, they were ready to provide a consistent rotation of local artists’ work. Both restaurants have become sought-after spots for artists to exhibit and sell. “Chicago for Real” is Uncommon Ground’s first show by PAPC painters and will be followed by two more in 2022.

PAPC meets every weekend, April to October, at a different location in and around the city. The group has a robust schedule that moves between gritty and pastoral settings, daytime and night. PAPC leader Mary Longe says that the Chicago club emerged from the same desire as the Impressionists to paint plein air (“outdoors” in French).

Josh Chang, "Sunrise #2," Oil, 9 x12 in.
Josh Chang, “Sunrise #2,” Oil, 9 x12 in.

“Nothing compares to the visual experience of painting in natural light. While most people join us to get outside of their studios, they quickly learn that painting plein air enhances their skills to capture color, atmosphere, and the changes of light throughout a day and a season. Plus, painting plein air around Chicago simply strengthens everyone’s admiration for our town.”

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