Those paying special attention in Kenwood and Beverly last summer may have noticed a woman driving around very slowly with the windows down, hopping out every so often to photograph a certain house from all angles before standing in front of it and opening a notebook to draw. The sketcher was Leisa Collins, an architectural artist who has painted homes and historic buildings in every state and recently brought her talents and attention to Chicago. Collins, who hails from New Zealand but has in-laws in Michigan, has long hoped to paint houses around the city, which she says she loves for the history and character of its out-of-downtown residences. From Frank Lloyd Wrights to bungalows, her paintings showcase local home architecture and pay compliment to homeowners dedicated to maintaining and preserving the historic buildings in which they live. After a painting is completed, Collins mails off a print to the residents themselves, who are often surprised to learn that their house has been part of her country-wide project. Later this year, Collins will release a coffee table book of paintings featuring hundreds of homes; stay tuned for the architectural tour of America it will offer.
Sarah Fineman is the Food & Land editor of the Weekly. She last wrote about holiday baked goods from around the South Side for our 2019 Holiday Issue.