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Atwater, art, drawings

Where have I been these days? All around town, sometimes even beyond the boundaries and into Milwaukee, Riverwest, Bayview, or pedaling on the bikepath to some sort of predetermined destination. Or dancing at the free concerts in the parks.

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art, Atwater, Conservation Committee, drawings, lake, poem, Shorewood, WATER

Thursday, August 6, was dream-lake afternoon. The water, placid and aglow, was the ideal surface for hundreds of gulls, and an occasional goose, to float, dive, and harmonize. “It sounds as if the gulls are singing!” I exclaimed to my grandsons, as sympathetic vibrations replaced the usual seagull squawks.

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Atwater, environment, Estabrook, lake, pesticides, philosophy, river

It’s Wednesday, 2:45 PM, and the eastern sun gleams through purple New England asters on Atwater Bluff, through fluffy grass-tips on the bluff-top. There’s always beauty around us for those with time to look, or for those who make time, which is what I’m doing.

And now it’s Thursday, I’m here again, drawing asters and wondering why more people don’t come to the bluff and the beach to balance out hectic lives. Tiny Shorewood has no shortage of parkland. It’s a village caught between a lake and a river, between At-water and Esta-brook.

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art, Atwater, events, exhibits

On Sunday I glanced at the lake from Atwater Bluff, expecting nothing special. Yet it was spectacular! What made the lake look that way? There were dark streaks, turquoise streaks, and a startling band of white in the distance, probably a mix of mists and cloud reflections.

That's what's so fascinating about life: I never know what I'll find somewhere until I get there, what friends, what strangers, what mists.

I of course have no idea who will show up at Friday night's reception in our gallery. I do know what work is there! Adolph recently moved his BALCONY from the Regent's Board Room at UWM's Chapman Hall to the gallery, and his Oriental Pharmacy Lunch Counter is still there. I just set up a show of dancer drawings that I did last year when Margot Sappington was setting Common People for the Milwaukee Ballet. These drawings aren't yet on our web site, but some earlier dancers are. Our guest artist is Joe Boblick. You can see his work in the MIAD Online Gallery.

As for the Artist Marketplace on Saturday, I'm not yet sure what sculptures, what paintings, what drawings we'll use, don't know if our tent will consent to another fair, don't know if the weather will be fair. What I do know are the details of both events, if all pans out as planned:

FRIDAY, July 25, 7 to 10 PM, reception at Rosenblatt Gallery, work by Adolph & Suzanne Rosenblatt & Joe Boblick, 181 N Broadway, in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward
SATURDAY, July 26, 10 AM to 5 PM, Fourth Annual Artist Marketplace, in front of the Milwaukee Art Museum, 700 North Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee


Atwater, lake, poem, Shorewood

Several years ago I stood at the top of Atwater Bluff and watched a storm move over the lake, towards me, towards me, and finally above me. Everything I wore was wet with rainwater. I thought it was pure, clean, no need for the washer and dryer, I’d hang my soggy jeans on the line. That’s when I discovered the reek of acid rain.

Since then I haven’t purposely let a storm drench me, no matter how dramatic its entrance into the eastern sky. I do walk or bike to the bluff, especially for spring and summer sunsets, whenever I get the chance. Sometimes I merely admire the scene, sometimes I draw, sometimes I write. And I hope that the only drops falling on me will be eavesdrops.

My purse is filled with pieces of scrap paper, shorthand scribbles legible only to me. Here’s one about two or three weeks old: Two days ago at the verge of sunset, the Atwater Beachscape mesmerized all of us there to celebrate a break in the rains. The pastel pink clouds to the south were so distinct they appeared outlined. The still water, luminous as it reflected the vanishing light from the west, was streaked aqua and pink. And now I’m here again, same time of day, benched on the landing one flight above the sand.
“So many steps, this is absurd,” mutters someone climbing upwards.
“Long way down there,” says a woman peering from the top.
“A lotta stairs.”
“Look at all these steps.”
“It’s a long way down,” a boy’s voice this time.
The light gradually turns dreamlike, but tonight everyone’s looking at the steps.

Here’s a piece of paper that actually has a date, June 25: It’s stunning again tonight, but people as always trudge up and down, attention focused on steps instead of pink-blue sky reflected on pink-blue lake.
“I thought you said you were gonna carry me.”
“Carry you? No. You need an army to carry you!”
The redwing black birds converse in melodic bird chirps. It's hard to imagine what they're saying. Do they, too, love luminosity?
Still water, rippled streaks, colors subtle, alluring, luring me to stay when it’s time to go.
Bird speak, bird cheep, bird trill, tones sweet, getting dark, three-dimensional bird-sounds, gulls add their sour notes. It’s hard for me to leave the birdversation.

I’ve been a shore bird my whole life, writing, drawing, painting, contemplating. So I’ll end with one of my lake poems, written years ago:


Where the surface is textured
Like treads on a tire
The water is dark,
But where it is calm
There is light,
Where it is calm
There is light,
Perhaps that's why lakes
are streaked.

Where warmth and cold meet
There's traveling heat
Creating wind, gale, breeze.
If there were no cold,
where would warmth go?
If there were no cold,
where would warmth go?
Would there be currents
in lakes, lagoons, seas,
Would there be currents
in me?

The outside opposes,
Or flows with,
the currents beneath,
Affecting the light side
The dark side, the streaks.
What would light fill
If darkness weren't there?
What would light fill
If darkness weren't there?
Would there be currents
in me?

The inside opposes
or flows with
or goes with
Exposes or hides.
Unlike the lake
our surface being skin
Makes less transparent
the currents within
The light sides, the dark sides
What do our hides hide?
Why do we live our lives streaked?

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