Ever wonder what artists are thinking when they create their work?

Here’s your chance to ask them as the paint hits the canvas.

The Ellis County Art Association presents its fourth annual Paint Historic Waxahachie Plein Air event May 29-June 7.

The 10-day event’s kick-off quick draw will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 30, on the courthouse square in downtown Waxahachie, a day that’s already pretty as a picture with the kick-off of the Waxahachie Downtown Farmers Market season.

“They’ll paint for 90 minutes – brushes up at 10 a.m., brushes down at 11:30. They’ll take their paintings to check-in, and then we’ll have an auction,” said Tina Bohlman, who is president of the Ellis County Art Association.

There are a few basic rules to the quick draw event: Participating artists can paint anything or anyone in any direction, but they have to stay on the square surrounding Ellis County’s famous courthouse.

And when it’s done, even if they’re not done, they’re done, Bohlman said.

“It’s a chance for everybody to watch every type of style and technique and variety of medium. Pencil, pastel, oils, acrylics, watercolors – every medium can be represented,” she said.

“This is the only time you’ll see all these artists together and working in the same area. The rest of the 10 days of the event, they will be scattered out through the historic downtown and some of the residential districts,” Bohlman said.

The Plein Air event’s paint out itself will go on for more than a week, all events included.

There’s going to be painting at each of the Gingerbread tour homes and artists will set up their easels and pull out their brushes and capture the history and architecture that is Waxahachie, Bohlman said.

“There’s no preferred style, materials or artistic interpretation. The creative process is primarily a solitary one, but the paint-out is all about camaraderie. Honest work by an amateur or professional is valued,” she said. “They all come to learn and to share and to paint and capture that unique moment they see, on canvas, board and paper.”

The deadline is past for artists to be on the Plein Air event’s program. The deadline for the completed submission final judging will be at 2 p.m. June 5. The paintings will be judged by Bruce Peil of Athens, Texas, on Friday, June 5.

Bohlman said there could easily be 200 paintings produced during the 10-day event.

Long gone are the days when the only real patrons for the arts were the church, the state or the ruling aristocracy – the institutions that kept artists like Rembrandt and Monet in groceries, paint brushes and shoe leather, Bohlman said.

“In today’s modern day, there’s an opportunity for regular, middle-class people to directly support artists through the purchase of their work,” she said, noting that affordable paint-out sales frequent spawn beginning collectors. 

“The average person can now take an active part in that artist-patron cycle. You may be taking part in developing the career of a modern master,” she said.

“When you’re outdoors and watching a paint-out, everyone gets drawn in – as they watch, before their eyes, this painting begins to take shape. Next thing you know, that person’s thinking, ‘I’ve got to have that,’” Bohlman said. “It increases knowledge and awareness of the general public toward the arts – it does a lot for the community, I think.”

Dina Gregory is an artist who lives in the tiny Bosque County hamlet of Eulogy, not far from Glen Rose.

Last year, she was the Waxahachie paint out’s best in show, a title earned with her pastel work, “Casa de Felty.” 

“It was the Felty home and they actually bought the painting,” she said.

She was the only pastelist in last year’s bunch of artists.

“That’s my medium, paste and plein air,” Gregory said, adding that she loves everything about Waxahachie’s paint out.

“It’s fun to be with other artists and get to visit with them … and Waxahachie brings in so many great art patrons. I sold five paintings there last year; the people from town and from out of town just appreciate art,” she said.

Gregory said her quick draw work last year was purchased by the mayor of Midlothian.

“The quick draw is great because you have to work really fast. It’s great for them to get to meet the artist and see the work from beginning to end. It makes for a lot of excitement,” she said.

E-mail J. Louise at jlouise.larson@wninews.com.