“325 North LaSalle” commissioned painting

This 30×36 commissioned painting of 325 North LaSalle (a.k.a. the Reid Murdoch Building) was completed in September, and created to be hung in a conference room of one of the companies headquartered there. It is an Acrylic on Canvas piece.

I’ve always admired this gorgeous red brick building, which adds co much character to the scape of Chicago River. Some fun facts: the Reid Murdoch Center, which is now designated a Chicago Landmark, was constructed in 1914 and listed on the National Registry of Historic places in 1975. It used to house Chicago’s traffic court (and I wish it still did, because you would at least be rewarded with a beautiful view when going to argue your traffic ticket). Needless to say, I loved working on this piece and hoping to paint 325 N LaSalle again soon, maybe from a different angle!

Completed painting:

Painting progress, starting with one of the “concept” sketches:


“Mondello” commissioned painting

This 16×16 Acrylic on Canvas commissioned painting is of Mondello, Italy (located in Sicily), and was created in September. My customer had ordered it as a birthday surprise for her Italian husband who loves Mondello.

As a special request, I added an old Fiat 500 into the painting (for which I had to improvise a foreground hill with a road). I am told that the piece was a successful birthday surprise!

Completed painting:

Painting’s progress photos:




“Berlin Wall 1985” Commissioned Painting

This 24×36 commissioned painting is an acrylic on canvas depicting the Berlin Wall. it was definitely one of the MOST interesting and fun assignments I have had to work on!!

This customer has traveled to Berlin back in 1985 and has taken numerous photographs of the Wall, highlighting its crazy graffiti. I used his photographs to guide the composition of the painting as well as the “characters” portrayed in the actual wall imagery. We also added several images and phrases into the painted wall graffiti that had certain special meanings the owner of this painting (such as “Hey, Ho! Let’s Go” to give a little nod to The Ramones). It was important for the customer to include the guard tower and the foreground with train tracks “leading” into “The Promise” writing. However, he also wanted to keep the piece bright and happy just like that sunny day in Berlin in 1985 when he took these wall photos. In the painting, my signature has also ended up on the wall as a part of its graffiti.

Creating this painting also had a bit of a special meaning to me since I grew up in Ukraine and was living there when the fall fell (which, of course, affected the break-up of USSR) . My parents traveled to Germany in 1990 and have actually brought a little piece of the wall back home with them.

This painting was shipped to and now “resides” in Canada.

Complete and framed painting:

Here are the progress photos of how the panting has developed (you can click on each image to view it in a larger size):


And here are some of the (fantastic!) original Wall photographs from which I worked:


“Millennium Park View” commisioned painting

This 22×28 acrylic on linen commissioned painting was completed last month and shows a view of Millenium Park with a Chicago skyline background. This view is an exact perspective that can be seen from this customer’s balcony (in their highrise apartment). Nice place to live, especially in the summertime, when the distant music from Pritzker Pavilion Stage can be heard during evening concerts.

Completed painting:

Painting detail:


Earlier painting stages:




Original photograph, taken from customer’s balcony:


“Sweet Home Chicago” – commissioned painting

Here is the very recently finished and delivered commissioned painting, Sweet Home Chicago, which is a 36×60 Acrylic on Canvas. It was created for a family who resides in Bucktown, and will hang in their youngest boy’s room. The painting depicts various Chicago places that are significant to the family, layered together in my “collage” composition style. Also, included in the painting, are the figures representing their three children (all boys)!


Buildings (and landmarks) in the painting, from left to right, are: family’s home in Bucktown; John Hancock tower peaking out behind it;  Marina Towers overlooking Chicago River and the El Train bridge. Next we have 300 N LaSalle and The Boeing Building, where mom and dad work. After that come Bucktown places & eateries that the family loves: Las Palmas restaurant, George’s Hot Dogs, Potbelly’s, and Club Lucky. A billboard with Chicago Bulls (their sons’ favorite team), is behind the buildings. Chicago’s “Bean” is placed in front of Las Palmas. To the right of Club Lucky is Bucktown’s Coyote Building, with the Navy Pier ferris wheel behind it. Another El Train is in the foreground, this one being the Bucktown’s Blue Line. Yellow cab passing in front of Coyote Building. All the way to the right is the Catherine Cook School and the “LPP” blocks representing Lincoln Park Preparatory, school, where the boys go. Two boys are kicking the soccer ball in front of the Bean, with the oldest steering the plane which pulls a banner reading: “Sweet Home Chicago”.

This was arguably one of the most time consuming paintings I’ve created (mostly because of all the fonts in signs, the number of buildings, and small details the boys’ faces). I didn’t really keep track of hours, but it came together over 3-4 weeks of daily work. It was lots of fun to paint though – from the beginning stages of thinking out the composition, through the final stages of putting highlights in clouds and windows.

Photos below show the details:





Commissioned Painting – 900 N Michigan

This commissioned painting was completed last year and it depicts one of Chicago’s infamous buildings: the four-pointed 900 North Michigan. The painting is an 18×24 acrylic and oil on canvas. The customer wanted the building to be partially submerged in the foggy clouds, yet for the painting to also show my “signature” vertical stripes in the background. We did a lot of back and forth emailing with many images, and I was adding the clouds gradually until the “right” balance was achieved. I created the painting in acrylics, but then started going over the clouds and lines with oils, for that softer effect. I made the oils very transparent in some areas – for example, where the clouds cover the building, you can still see the actual building under them, painted in acrylics. It was such a fun process! My customer ended up very happy, and now a painting of her favorite Chicago structure graces her downtown condo.

By the way, this angle of 900 N Michigan can be seen from the top windows of John Hancock tower. On a very foggy day, the building really is submerged with only its top showing.



Commissioned painting – Desert Retreat

This commissioned painting was completed in the 2nd half of last year, and is titled “Desert Retreat”. It is a 44×20 Acrylic on Canvas, and is now hanging in its new home in Scottsdale, AZ. The painting was based on a series of photographs of various Arizona views. Below is the image of an entire painting, as well as detail images of each half. Posting this reminds me that I should book a trip to a warm desert land soon!






Commissioned Painting – United Building Over Chicago River

This 16×20 Acrylic on Canvas commissioned painting I completed last year for a lovely couple who divide their time between Minnesota and Chicago. He works in the United Building, and she ordered a painting as a surprise for him, of Chcago River and United building over the bridge. (United Building is the one with all those squares in the center). It was a pleasure to work on this piece!!!


“Orange Groves” mural commission for Tropicana

You can call it a mural, or you can call it a multi-panel painting. Either way, it was a lot of work! 🙂

“Orange Groves” was painted with acrylics and oils on six 30″x30″ canvas panels that were installed on a wall with 1.5″ intervals.

Commissioned by Tropicana, Inc., this mural was installed in the Study Room of their downtown Chicago office. After we brainstormed about different types of mural applications, customer picked a canvas version due to its portability. We spaced canvas panels intentionally to make it seem as if a viewer is looking though a window. Tropicana oranges are grown in Florida, so I was asked to include a little slice of an ocean in the distance visible behind orange grove hills.

Later I recommended new wall colors for the Study Room to compliment the colors of the mural.

Orange Groves mural by Anastasia Mak

Original sketch on paper:

Orange Groves sketch

Progress shots:

Orange Groves mural progress 1

Orange Groved mural progress 2