Friday, June 8, 2012


Texas Summer Painting Celebration!

Painting in Waxahachie Texas is one of my rites of Summer.  The last week in May until the first week of June a paintout is held for plein air painters in conjunction with the Gingerbread House Tour in this little town.  Tina Bolhman is the driving force in this event and one of its best participants.

Sunflower faces up close and personal.  
About 40 painters, mostly from Texas
come and paint the turn of the century
buildings and elaborate "Gingerbread" houses.
You can see past year's efforts on my part on my website blog in the blog section.

This year's area was expended to include the fields of sunflowers that surround Waxahachie. They go on forever, just like France!  Their heads are taller that I am and a foot around.  Debob Jacob lead us to her patch of sunflowers that she had scouted the day before and the three of us squeezed out the cadmium yellow                  are were mesmerized for a couple of hours.

Dougs sunflower painting.  
Doug Clark painting sunflowers out of the sun!

I was planning a trip to France within this same time frame, but my friend Doug Clark convinced me to come and paint in the days before I left.  So with brushes flying I manages to get in 3 days before I left.  The first thing I do on a pain out is to survey the area.  Even a familiar area changes in a few months.  Last years paint out was plagued with wind and searing heat.  We were so lucky this year to have a fabulous cool (under 100 degrees) weather.

DeBob Jacobs painting sunflowers
 Enough of the Sunflowers the highlight of the Waxahachie pain tout is the "quick draw".  It is a 2 hour maniacal attempt to start and finish a painting which is sold in an auction at the end.  This year's  quick draw was at the Saturday market that attracts farmers, pie makers, honey collectors and arts and crafts from the area.  The residents come early to pick up fresh veggies and visit with their neighbors.

Below is my favorite farmer.  I have painted him for three years.  He even remembers me and his relatives have purchased my paintings each year.  This year, alas, he did not get painted. Instead with Cezanne ringing in my ears I chose some peaches.  They were drop 
dead beautiful!

Favorite farmer in signature red shirt!

I was practically standing on the peach display.  My goodness they were beautiful!  Next to them were some leaves of Kale, I think,  they had red veins and curly leaves.  Oh such fun!  I finished in time to look around for another subject.  There is a man that sells hats every year.  I had painted him a couple of years ago.  I made another attempt in the few minutes that were left.  Forgot to get a photo of my painting.  They both sold, both to other artists participating.  Doug got the peaches.  

During the quick draw a big BSNF train
came by and I rushed to get a photo of it.  

Trains and Waxahachie go hand and hand. There are two major lines that go through the center of town and there is constantly the rumbling sound of trains coming and going. I love the sound and it is one of the attractions at Waxahachie. Just  south of the market stand the restored train station complex.  It is a remarkable area which includes a feed store located near the tracks.  There is a lot of  room to store all sorts of stuff.  Usually it is fertilized and animal feed, but this year it a stack of train rails and rail road ties were stacked.  Wow, I just had to paint that.  See below.

All rusty and ready to be committed to canvas.  That's the neat thing about painting on plein air, there are always surprises.  

Back to the town square.  What to paint here.  I think France was already on my mind.  I wanted to paint the shapes of the most interesting architectural details around the square.  I painted the beautiful red sandstone arches of the courthouse and the similar but different arches on what was probably originally the towns prosperous bank building.  I kind of thought that they could have been found in an French city. Most of the buildings are designed to be seen from the front only.  That is where the elaborate decoration is usually confined.  

The exception to this frontal decoration thing is the courthouse which swirls upward in "Gingerbread" magnificance. It is truly a challenge - always - even after several paintings of this subject.  I had company while I  painted these towers.  I was standing in a small courtyard that had been exposed when a group of buildings burned last year.  There were several stray cats living there. Someone had left food and water for them.  This tiny yellow kitten seemed to not have acquired the fear that the older cats has.  They disappeared while this tiny thing watched from safety hidden behind the air conditioning.  I would have had another cat if it would have come out!  I managed to place second in the final "wet show" at the end of the paint out.  I was pleased that I had made the effort to pack early!

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