It's been a weekly tradition for 20 years for members of Women on Paper to meet outdoors to paint, work in pastels or sketch.
"Working on location, you come up with creative ideas. Even at different locations, the paintings are always different," said Lauren Kerbelis, one of eight members of the group, which will celebrate its anniversary with an exhibit at the Aiken Center for the Arts this month.
The group has met in numerous locations on both sides of the Savannah River, such as River Island in Columbia County and Hopelands Gardens in Aiken. They also have taken trips to Hilton Head Island and Daufuskie Island in South Carolina.
They don't even take winter off.
"If the weather is bad, we go somewhere like the Gertrude Herbert (Institute of Art)," Kerbelis said.
Sometimes they brave the cold wearing lots of layers.
Although some of the women work in oils or paint on canvas, it's strictly paper and watercolor, pastels or acrylic when they gather, said Nancy Schultz, one of the groups' founders.
She had recently moved to the area when she met Caroline Swanson at Gertrude Herbert 20 years ago.
"I wanted to paint outdoors," Schultz said, but she wanted to be in the company of other artists when she did.
The women critique one another's works and have forged strong bonds of friendship.
"To me, it's amazing to have such a friendship where the common denominator is art," Kerbelis said.
Most of the women live in Columbia County, but one member, Ingrid Hofer, drives from McCormick, S.C., to paint with the group.
For the Aiken show, the women will submit eight works each.
Finding a gallery that could hold that many pieces was a challenge, they said.
"There's not a lot of hanging space in Augusta," said Kerbelis, who has been with the group for many years.
The pieces in the exhibition will be varied.
Schultz's works were inspired by a visits to a wildflower garden in Appling.
"I do a lot of still lifes and I tried to break it up with some landscapes," said Swanson, who will also have a cityscape of New York City from a recent trip she took with Kerbelis to attend an art workshop.
The Women on Paper show will run through October.
An opening reception will be held 6-8 p.m. Thursday.
After the show closes, a smaller Women on Paper exhibit with about three works per artist will be on display at Sacred Heart Cultural Center.
The other members of Women on Paper are Karen Banker, Lillie Morris, Gail Smith and Frances Wells.
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