The artists come every Friday to the cozy Hilton Head Island home. Each works individually on their masterpiece, but the group is held together with conversation and laughter -- and the occasional muffin.
To the TGIF Artists, Fridays are a special day -- not because it's the end of the week but because it's a time to get together with friends and get their creative juices flowing.
For more than 12 years, the TGIF Artists have gathered at the home of L. Robert Stanfield on Hilton Head Island to work on art projects, snack and socialize. Some paint; others work in clay. Some are photographers. Some have been artists their whole lives while others have only been creating for a few years. The seven members range from their 20s to 70s.
Stanfield said the purpose of the group is "to awaken, nurture and empower the creative spirit within ourselves." Most of the members met through a painting class the host taught at his studio, Stanfield In The Works Creative Center.
When he closed the studio, they started meeting at his house -- not for classes but to spend time together working on their individual projects. Stanfield typically will bake goodies and put on lively music to create a fun, loose atmosphere.
"It's significant fun," Hilton Head resident Maxine Uttal said. "We have a wonderful time together actually. ... Friday is the best day of my week."
Their time together is more than just about working on art. It's about encouraging each other and being there for one another in good times and bad. Stanfield has a rule that no one is allowed to criticize themselves or others. As soon as anyone makes a negative comment, he said they have to turn it into an affirmation.
"I'm constantly fighting that, as is everyone," Stanfield said. "That's the biggest block is negativity and words like, 'I'm not' or 'I can't.' It just stops the flow of the creativity, and our goal is to channel creative spirit and give yourself permission to let whatever happens happen."
Bluffton resident Halley Yates majored in art, but she said after graduation she was always busy working and didn't spend much time painting. Being a part of the TGIF Artists has helped her get back into what she loves most.
"Coming back in and working with them has given me a great deal of incentive and brought back a lot of the passion in me," Yates said.
The TGIF Artists are looking forward to an exhibit called "SFUMATO," (meaning a seamless blending of color) which will run through July 7 at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. They will give demonstrations and classes to the public, and will be painting and sculpting together in the gallery each Friday.
"We think the classes we'll be giving at the Coastal Discovery Museum will be wonderful," Uttal said. "Part of what we are going to be doing is imparting this positive attitude. For those people who think they can't possibly be artists, we will convince them otherwise."
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