ROGERS PARK — Many people walk the side streets and beaches in Rogers Park. Zhanna Biletska pulls up a chair, sets up an easel and sits down to capture the scene.
Biletska, a Rogers Park resident from Ukraine, has been an artist for much of her life.
Recently, she has drawn inspiration from her neighborhood’s architecture — and has grown a hobby and business creating impressionistic paintings of Rogers Park homes.
“I like to capture atmosphere,” said Biletska, 30. “I was so impressed by the beauty in Rogers Park, by the beaches, everything.”
Biletska moved to Rogers Park four years ago after living in the northwest suburbs. Before coming to the United States, she went to art and architecture school in Ukraine.
Biletska is a photographer who mostly does paintings as a hobby, though she has previously shown her work in galleries. Her earlier paintings were mostly of nature scenes, including Rogers Park’s lake shore and beaches.
Her newest project sprouted from her love of outdoor painting. Biletska can often be spotted on residential streets in Rogers Park, sitting on a stool with a travel easel, small canvas and paint supplies.
Rogers Park’s historic and eclectic mix of houses provides endless inspiration.
“They’re really interesting,” she said. “They’re old buildings, and they have interesting architecture. It inspires me.”
Biletska has posted photos of her paintings in Rogers Park Facebook groups. Some neighbors have reached out to commission Biletska to paint their own homes, she said.
Minnie Stinaldi saw Biletska’s work on Facebook and asked the artist to paint her West Ridge home. Biletska came out and over the course of two mornings created a painting they couldn’t be happier with, Stinaldi said.
“We love our house and thought it would be a cool thing to do,” Stinaldi said. “Plus, supporting local artists is always fun. … It was a great experience.”
Biletska said she’s happy that her passion project is enjoyed by others. She hopes to have a gallery showing of the series once coronavirus concerns are in the past.
Until then, she will continue to stroll Rogers Park streets, seeking inspiration for her next painting.
“Rogers Park is so welcoming,” she said. “I love it here.”
Biletska can be reached through her website.
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