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There is nothing like the Makoa Experience. Our six day retreat is designed for those artists that want to explore new styles, or get to the next level. The retreat coursework is designed to be ideal for both accomplished artists trying to break out of a rut, or for emerging artist looking to find their style or "voice." Our morning coffee lectures start with Gauguin (we're in the Pacific tropics!) and quickly move on to Monet vs. Mitchell, and then to Diebenkorn and Frankenthaler, Richter and Rutenberg and Hockney. Attendee artists are then given demos and assignments for the rest of each day, with hands on guidance and assistance. The last day of the retreat ends with a celebration dinner and exhibition of artist work. 

The Makoa Retreat is also unique for its location. You will be in the jungle mists and sun of Hawaii's tropical rain forest and centered around the spiritual heart of Hawaii, the art village of Volcano.  You will be staying in beautiful and comfortable inns at 4,000 ft. Lovely walks, tours of Hilo, the Botanical and Japanese Gardens, side excursions to the famous Volcano National Park, the colorful town of Pahoa, lectures at the Museum of Contemporary of Art and the Volcano Arts and Garden Center, and dinners at some of the most unique dining spots on the island. It all sets your Makoa experience apart from other art retreats.  There is so much to do and see and learn, it is tough to fit it all into one week, but it's worth it. We want to give you as much information and guidance as we can so you can get back to making great art, and have some free time before or after to enjoy the rest of Hawaii.

Below we have listed our Day-by-Day Schedule, though we change this from time to time. If you like what you see, we urge you to go to our Book Retreat section. The retreats fill up fast. And consider the three-day extension program too.



Our retreat artists arrive in the morning and throughout the first day. We provide transportation to and from Hilo Airport to retreat inns. No transportation is necessary, but you may want your own rental car to explore the island on your own before, during, or after the retreat.

On Day 1, the Makoa Retreat starts at 1PM, with our Welcome and Introduction. There will be 10 to 12 artists in each retreat.

We provide an overview of the retreat, lecture on our process, and we begin the set-up for what is to come.

At 3PM, we set up artist stations, and artists begin exercises in landscape, still life, and figurative work.

5:00PM: The day ends with a demonstration with drinks, followed by a sit down dinner where artists get to know each other and their work.

After dinner, artists return to their rooms for the night. Transportation is provided each step of the way, if needed. 

Painting Equipments


On Day Two artists begin their coursework in earnest, with morning painting session and afternoon image gathering sessions. We end the day in Hilo at a great ocean facing restaurant.

8:45AM: Coffee Lecture -- Deconstructing Gauguin

9:30: First Work -- Tropical Impressionism: Landscapes, Figures, Color Fields, with Demo. Getting into your first work. References Provided

11:45: Break and Lunch Cafe Ono

1- 5PM: Photo Safari -- Gathering Images -- Group Tour of Pahoa, Japanese Garden, Hilo Town, Contemporary Museum of Art and Talk.

5:30: Group Dinner in Hilo

Group ride back to Volcano


Day Three is all about getting down to work using the original images and references found in the Day Two field trip.

8:30AM: Coffee Lecture -- Monet & Mitchell

9:30: Painting demo with new materials/techniques. Artists begin work with guidance, and the understanding that there will be an Artist Showcase at the end of the week.

12 Noon: Break and Cafe Ono Lunch with talk by Ira Ono, well-know Volcano Artist, owner Volcano Arts and Garden Center. Visits to local organic chocolate farms


1:30 - 4:30 Jungle Painting/Sketches

Artist Painting Continues using Monet/Mitchell techniques

5PM: Artist Discussion and Wine Hour

Open Dinner and/or Artists BBQ 




8:30Am Coffee/Breakfast

Morning Lecture: Diebenkorn & Frankenthaler

Techniques in contemporary abstract line, mark-making, and stains using techniques pioneers by these two east coast/west coast masters.

10am Painting Demo in this style with artists work continuing until 12:30. Work can focus on landscapes, still life, figurative compositions.

Lunch: Cafe Ono


Exploration of textures, stains, lines, color fields using personal still lives/landscapes as references. Acyrlic underpinnings with oil overlays/highlights.

5:30 PM

Dinner at Volcano House and Night Tour/View of famous Kilauea Volcano


In Day 5, we break down our references into abstractions. It is now when we begin to try new tools, new materials, new concepts in line, shape, and color. We work with charcoal, acrylic underpainting, and oil. 

8:30AM --The morning lecture will focus on such artists as Gerhardt Richter and Brian Rutenberg, These two artists are on opposite ends of the abstract scale, but offer us all a chance to be bold and try new things.

 12:30: After our morning demonstration and painting sessions, we break for lunch at Cafe Ono. After lunch, we begin to prepare our artwork for the final night's celebration.

3:30: In the late afternoon, we offer nice hike in a dormant caldera in Volcano National Park, 9-holes of golf at 4,000 feet overlooking Kilauea, or a relaxing spa treatment set up at one of our participating hotels.Or just relax and explore on your own, or keep working on your art. 


6PM: At the dinner hour we will cocktails/wine and review the progress we are all making. Dinner will be held at  Volcano House or the Kileau Lodge, both excellent.

Festive Dinner
Festive Dinner


8:30AM -- Coffee Lecture what has been learned over the first five days, review of techniques and state of contemporary painting today.


9:30AM -- Begin prepping final pieces for Reception/Dinner Exhibit. Artist assistance with finalizing of works, temporary framing options (provided), and guidance on what's working and what is not working. 

12:30: Cafe Ono Lunch, Guest Speaker Ira Ono

Continue finalizing large and small works that with ongoing support and advice from artist instructors. 

Afternoon: Artists can relax or continue working until 4PM. Tented Exhibit of works will be set up for display.


6:00PM Exhibit Reception with Wine/Appetizers

7PM: Sit Down Dinner with Guest of the

Makoa Art Experience


8:30Am -- Coffee and Lecture on Lessons Learned

Artist Instructors detail next steps in shipping art back home, or displaying/selling it with Makoa Art Gallery or other Hawaii galleries, including the

shop at Volcano Art & Garden.


11:30: Check out of hotels/inns. Reserve transportation back to Hilo Airport if needed.


Afternoon: If you staying on for an additional, in-depth three days, a separate schedule will be provided. When you sign up. Or email us, and we will be happy to answer your questions. The additional days are designed as in-depth training, with one-to-one coaching in the styles of your choice.


Many of our artist guests travel on to the resort area of Kona, just a 1.5 drive. There they reflect on the what they have learned and truly rest up for all the great ahead when they get back to their studios at home.

If yo need help organizing this leg of your trip, let us know. There are many deluxe hotels, comfortable ocean side inns, and AirBnB, that make our retreats feel like two experiences in one. 

Makoa Art Retreats are different. We hope you will agree and come back again, and again.

Painters Palette
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