Madonna Siles Continued Vacation Guide. One of my columns inspired me to write Searching for Surprise, an illustrated Door County fairy tale about a plein-air artist and an unusual muse. What is the last show/play you saw in Door County? It was at Birch Creek. Plein air painters are invited to any concert during the summer to paint and take in the show. At the end of the season they hold a gallery show of all the paintings as a fundraiser for music center. How many books have you written? Three. Searching for Surprise, a work of fiction, fantasy. The other two, “Brain Heal Thyself” and “Eureka”’ are non-fiction books written for the of stroke and brain injury survivors. We here at DCS love you art and enjoy your writing. Are you formally trained or did you just immerse yourself in these crafts and just go for it? I graduated from University of Illinois with a degree in communications. As far as painting, my mentor in plein air painting was Susan Faust, whom I studied with in Arizona. I also studied water color with artist Tom Lynch in Chicago. Here in Door County, I have studied portrait and plein air painting with Emmett. And also artist Rhom Rojas. Where do you find inspiration? I search for surprise! It could be an exciting sunrise, or the mysterious shadows as the sun is going down. The moon popping out of the lake. Wildflowers hiding in the forest, the ever changing Door County skies. Even a storm on the horizon, inspiration is all around us. Estimate how many paintings have you created via Plein Air? Several hundred, some were more successful than others, but that is part of the fun of plein air painting. Which art shows do you take part in every year? The Miller Art Museum and The Hardy Gallery have juried art shows that I enter in every year, some years I make it, some years I do not. This year, I will be participating in the Quick Paint, Door County Plein Air Festival presented by the Peninsula School Of Art. The festival is July 20th 26th. Will also be participating in various Door County Art League shows. Outside of Door County, in June, the 18th 29th, I will be participating in the Cedarburg Plein Air Event for the first time. I am also a member of the Waters, we are a group of plein air painters for the preservation of our natural resources and historic places. We have members from all over east Wisconsin. I have participated in the annual Water’s Edge Artists juried exhibit the last three years and will again this year.