Outbound traffic on McCallie Avenue begins to build to rush-hour levels on a Wednesday afternoon in mid-December as local artist Hollie Berry applies the first strokes of color to her latest oil painting.
Dressed in full winter outerwear with fingerless gloves, Berry glances at the fading image of a setting sun through gray skies, feels the chilling wind and considers packing up her brushes and moving from the sidewalk across from Wally's Restaurant.
City buses and delivery vans pass by just feet away as Berry steadies her flimsy wooden easel in 46-degree temperatures.
"There used to be a really cool retro sign for Wally's," she said, comparing photos on her cellphone. "It's not up anymore, but it's in the old pictures."
The spot she chose on the sidewalk is the exact angle depicted in the 1950s photograph she is painting, Berry said.
"I'm doing a couple of paintings," said Berry. "One of their restaurant the way it looked in the 1950s, all in sepia tone; wthen another one the way the restaurant looks now, in all color."
When completed, both paintings will hang side by side in the Highland Park community restaurant, she added.
Berry, a two-year Chattanooga resident, began painting at age 8. Now, the graduate from the University of Texas at Austin has gone full time in the business and has a studio in the Chattanooga WorkSpace downtown.
"I'm going to make myself stay out here for about 30 more minutes," she said as the afternoon shade crept across the sidewalk. "I was going to stay longer, but it got cold too fast. If I get a sunny day, I'll spend a full day on it."
Contact staff photographer Tim Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6640.