A new window on Torch Lake

Posted on March 25, 2010


For those of you who played along with our little contest, here are the answers to the questions, along with an update from this afternoon’s followup visit.

As a couple of you surmised, the new mural in Torch Lake Township is going up on the wall at Sonny’s Torch Lake Market, right where I can look at it from my regular spot.  (Hey, Babs!  This is what it looked like from our booth today!  Well, from my seat in our booth.  Your seat of course . . . never mind.)

The muralist is Dennis Orlowski, here explaining how much time it takes to do the intricate details of the fishing lures. 

I’m proud of the next picture because you get the full effect of the window ledge.   I can hardly wait until somebody tries to rest a cup of coffee there. 

Dennis’s special relationship to Torch Lake Township would be his sister, Donna Lane, familiar to regular readers as a photographer of airplanes and vintage cars and promoter of the Traverse Area Camera Club.  No picture of Donna today, but here’s the official portrait of the mural as of Thursday afternoon, March 25.  We will be keeping tabs on progress, and I’m sure there will be an official celebration when it’s finished.  I’m counting on cinnamon rolls.

For those of you who found today’s Elk Rapids News in your mailbox, all of this will come as no surprise.  Just as a special, special bonus for the snowbirds, here is the ERN story.  Now that I think of it, I hope the story ran.  I haven’t picked up the mail from my post office box today.  Oh well. 

A new window on Torch Lake

Muralist Dennis Orlowski is a storyteller.  His commissioned works are filled with Aztecs and immigrant autoworkers, 1940s movie palaces and ethnic bakeries, Emiliano Zapata and Billy Rogell, Pope John Paul II’s visit to Hamtramck and . . . fishing on Torch Lake? 

Orlowski’s studio is in Hamtramck, but his sister Donna Lane lives in Torch Lake Township and he’s a frequent visitor to the area.  This week he’s at work on his latest piece at Sonny’s Torch Lake Market.  On Tuesday he was roughing in the outlines, surrounded by a jumble of sketches and photographs and fishing lures.  “I’m retired from teaching art,” he said.  “Now I’m free to take my time, to do work I want to do in the way I want to do it.” 

The work in progress creates a window with a view of Torch Lake, and incorporates bits of local history along with the sailboats and cottages of resorters.  A portrait of Chris Szejbach’s father, Tony Kelenske, rests on the windowsill.  The sailboat comes from a photo by Babs Young, who lives in Blue Heaven.  The lures and Petoskey stones are both classic Torch Lake images and a reference to the Puzzles that Rock produced by the Szejbachs’ daughter. 

Even when he’s taking his time, Orlowski works fast.  The new window on Torch Lake will be finished before the snowbirds flock home.  Feel free to drop by and watch the progress.  For more on Dennis Orlowski, visit Orlowski Murals.