Thursday, June 26, 2014

Union Station - Chicago

The last day of our trip to Chicago we arrived at the Megabus stop to go home with about 45 minutes to spare.  Guess what just happened to be caddy corner from the Megabus stop?  Union Station!  There were four in our group so we decided two of us should stay and watch the luggage and two should go check out the train station (and then vice versa).

As Nora and I headed over to the building I was already in awe of its grandeur.  The columns in front of the building are so huge and stolid they feel like they must have been there since the beginning of time.  There is a palpable, silent beauty about them.  I wanted to stand still in that space for hours and just be near these soft, gentle giants.  Alas, we only had fifteen minutes so we went inside.

(click images to enlarge)

And this is what you see upon entering the building!  Everything from the ceiling to the light fixtures to the intricate column details oozed luxury and grandiosity. 

But the most impressive thing about the Union Station is the space.  The space envelopes you and swallows you whole.  The ceilings are so high you feel you are the size of an ant.  And at the same time you feel you should be wearing a ball gown and magic slippers.  The lofty glass ceiling and sumptuous details recall a time when travel was a luxury and a grand adventure.

The photo of the light fixture below didn't do it justice so I had to sketch it.  Talk about crazy detail... this light was over the top!

We were there on a Monday morning and I had the sense the station is little used.  There were only a handful of people and the space seemed quiet and empty.  But the evidence of its busy history is etched into its granite bones. Through the decades the steps of countless men, women and children gradually left their mark on the worn stairs.

Although I was only able to visit with this building for a brief time it certainly left its mark on me, as did Chicago.  I loved the all the details and wanted to absorb them all.  I could feel them soaking into my being and, in a way, I become them and they become me.  They percolate inside and then will surprise me and make an appearance when I least expect it...perhaps as a design element in my work, a pattern in a painting, or a rhythm in a piece.  I never know how the Nessy filter will modify and alter them, but I do know that it is important for artists to get out there and travel and see the absorb the beauty and let it alter your soul.  So get out there people!  Soak it all in...and then let the magic begin.   

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vanessa, I love your impressions and how you write about them. Your sketch is wonderful. I love the old part of Union Station! (All the trains are on the other, newer side - some commuter trains and Amtrak.) It's so nice to sit on the old, quiet side and imagine what once was...Thank you for sharing this! ~Mary