Max-Karl Winkler, a WPG artist member, recounts a recent afternoon at the gallery.
I had a remarkable experience while I was gallery-sitting on the first Sunday of September. Because of teaching obligations during the past couple of years, that Sunday was the first time I had sat since perhaps March. After I’d been there an hour and a half, three women came in together. I learned that none of them had visited the gallery before, so I gave them a brief summary of our history, structure, and missions, after which they drifted in different directions to look at the prints.One of them stopped in front of my Before Sunrise, Gull Lake print (the three-color version, which is the only print I was showing in September), and called me over to answer a question. She said, “There must be a couple of hundred lakes in this country named Gull Lake. Can you tell me anything about the location of this particular lake?” I explained that the print, coincidentally, was my own, that the lake is just north of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and that I had sketched this view of the lake on the last morning of a visit to my wife’s aunt, whose home is on Gull Lake.
She said something like, “Oh my god!” and told me that she was married, almost 50 years ago, at Gull Lake — that very Gull Lake.Then she stayed quite a while, telling me about her wedding and other memories of Gull Lake: her fiance’s parents “owned a company in nearby Battle Creek;” there were 28 people in the wedding party; after the ceremony they sailed in two float boats across the lake to a supper and reception at Gull Harbor Inn. She went back 20 years later, she reported, and the restaurant had burned down.
And she bought the print. I was amazed that she would come to the gallery in a month that I was showing that particular print, and on a day that I was there to tell her what I could. So amazed, in fact, that I forgot to ask questions, and to tell her about my other Gull Lake woodcut. Only one other sitter — my wife Ellen — could have answered her question.
Ain’t serendipity something?