Waxahachie, Texas, has a population of 30,000, but it seems to have plein air painters in abundance. And in June, Paint Historic Waxahachie brings more than 30 artists to the town south of Dallas with the lure of good weather and cash prizes.

This year, juror Chuck Rawle awarded Best in Show to Tina Bohlman for her watercolor painting “Alley View — Ellis County Courthouse.” First Place went to Michael Holter for his watercolor “Smokin’ BBQ & Filler Up.” 

Second Place was won by Debob Jacob, while Third Place went to Ted Clemens. 

“Smokin’ BBQ & Filler Up,” by Michael Holter, 2014, watercolor, 9 x 12 in. First Place

Kent Brewer won the Artists’ Choice Award for his body of work during the event, and Jeff Ott won People’s Choice. Several companies sponsored merit awards as well. The Jack Richeson Awards went to Nancy Bozeman, Kent Brewer, and Steve Miller. The Gamblin Award was won by Olivette Hubler, while Linda Schindler and Henry Prikryl won the Blick Awards, and the Liquitex Award went to Tammy Wascovich. The Chroma Award went to Lil Mitchell and the Holbein Award was won by Lynn LaRose. David Tripp won the Cheap Joe’s Award.

Jeff Ott, Travis Stewart, and Joyce Thomas received Honorable Mentions from the judge.

Olivette Hubler painting on the square in Waxahachie

“Waxahachie is my home, and I have probably driven by this scene early in the day at least a hundred times but never noticed it before,” Bohlman says about the depicted scene that won her the top prize. “One afternoon during the event I was driving around in the late afternoon looking for a location to paint, and as I passed an alley, I caught a glimpse of the courthouse over my shoulder in the distance. Going about 35 mph, I slammed on my brakes and did a quick U-turn in the middle of the street (only in a small town can you get away with that!). The entire length of the alley was all in shadow and the courthouse in the distance literally glowed in the late afternoon sun. It was already 6:30 and the ‘best light’ was only going to be there for another hour or so. I made a quick thumbnail sketch to capture the light and dark patterns, then set to work. When all the elements are there — along with the excitement of catching the perfect light at that magical moment — a painting can come together quickly. I was able to finish it on site in about 90 minutes — with about 15 minutes of light left to spare!”

Steve Miller painting the courthouse during Paint Historic Waxahachie recently

This was the ninth year for the event, which is sponsored by the Ellis County Art Association. Bohlman says when the event was first held, the organizers had to do a bit of educating, but the local community is now firmly behind the festival and informed about plein air painting. “Now they look forward to this every year in the first week of June,” says Bohlman. “The community has become acclimated to seeing painters around town.”

Bohlman reports that the 36 participating artists created 237 pieces during the event.


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