The Ellis County Art Association is embracing plein aire painting as a fresh way to present the art while giving the public a new way to experience it.

A now annual event, “Paint Historic Waxahachie” celebrates Waxahachie’s Gingerbread Trail as interpreted by a select group of top plein aire landscape artists.

This now annual event begins today and continues through Sunday, June 3.

“Waxahachie, already known as a tourist destination for historic landmarks, is quickly gaining notice as a small town that is big on art,” said Tina Bohlman of the association. “It has all of the ingredients necessary to host such a prestigious art event: fine restaurants, antiques, chain hotels, bed and breakfasts, boutique and specialty shops, picturesque streetscapes, colonial and Victorian homes — attractions that appeal to both the artist and collector.”

Bohlman notes that plein aire events or “paint outs” as they are called are now a national phenomenon.

“Paint outs connect the public with painters in the painting process,” she said. “A paint out brings together large numbers of artists for a marathon of painting while the public is encouraged to play an important role in the process.

“One of the magical elements of plein aire events is watching an artist transform a blank canvas into a masterpiece before your eyes,” she said. “During a paint out, observers can meet the creators and watch their brushstrokes and techniques. Collectors and art enthusiasts around the world are flocking to these events.”

Paint Historic Waxahachie will interactively engage the community by having more than 35 artists painting on location around town for 10 days and the community is encouraged to watch, chat and learn about the various styles and techniques.

Artists must create at least three paintings between today and 3 p.m. Saturday, June 2, which is the artist’s deadline to submit paintings created during the 10-day official paint out period for the exhibition and sale.

At 6:30 p.m. in the Chautauqua Auditorium in Getzendaner Park, the association will host an invitational meet-the-artists preview show, followed by a public reception and exhibition of more than 100 paintings created during the paint out period. The exhibition and sale will close at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 3.

The paint out is open to all plein aire artists.

For more information, contact the association at (972) 937-3414 or e-mail ecaa@sbcglobal.net. The association’s Web site is located at www.elliscountyart.net.