As I recall, it all started the first week of April. At long last, spring had arrived to break the monotony of a white-on-white winter. Color had made its glorious comeback to the Door County, Wisconsin, peninsula. Green Bay’s harbors were turning blue as the ice chunks floated away. Here and there, brave little green sprouts poked through lingering snow mounds to tenta- tively test the temperature of the day. Willow branches offered hints of golden highlights-to-come. So what if spring was two weeks late; I wasn’t complaining. Today promised to be bright, cheery and relatively warm. In short, the weather was perfect for plein-air painting on the lakeside of Door County. Or so I thought as I drove down rural roads on the way to one of my favorite painting subjects—Cave Point—where Lake Michigan waves had been carving the limestone cliffs ever since the last ice age. I parked the car and unloaded my portable easel and oil pastel carrying case. In the few short minutes it took to schlep my gear to the shore, the blue sky had disap- peared. Fat, fluffy clouds had taken away the sun. As the eastern sky darkened, the temperature plummeted. 7 “It’s my luck,” I muttered as I set up my easel. “Brrr.” I opened the pastel case and looked out on the lake. I was perfectly positioned on the ledge overlooking one of the caves. Waves were crashing into the rocks below. The ledge was still bedecked with icicles. A few of the scrubby shrubs were sprouting green. It should have been a perfect scene for painting except . . . well, now it was snowing. And not a little bit either. I was standing in the middle of a mini-blizzard. A zillion jumbo-sized flakes were descending from the heavens. So what did I expect? There’s a highway marker a couple of miles away that proudly declares Door County is halfway to the North Pole. Apparently, those bragging rights come with a hefty price tag, i.e., more winter than spring. Nevertheless, I was immensely disappointed by spring’s no-show and sorely tempted to go back home. But wait a minute. “What would Monet do?” I asked myself. “Would he chicken out?” No, Monet was not a wimp. Of course, the premier Impressionist plein-air painter would render whatever nature gave him on any given day. “There’s a painting here somewhere. Your mission is to find it,” my creative right brain challenged its practical left side counterpart. “Okay. I’ll try. Let’s see. First, I’ll take three deep breaths, and then pray for inspiration.” I closed my eyes and counted to ten, praying for a muse to inspire me. When I opened my eyes, I was surprised and somewhat dazzled. “Well, what do you know. There’s the painting,” I mumbled as I reached for a pastel. “While I was counting to ten, Nature created a fantasyland and now I’m going to capture it. This is going to be an adventure!” I grabbed another pastel and quickly composed my visual drama. As I was dashing highlights on the churn- ing waves, I heard a squeal behind me.