Art as 


A Painting Workshop with Bonita Helmer

May 20-27, 2017

Molokai, Hawaii

A Painting workshop with Bonita Helmer.


This workshop encompasses the teachings of basic acrylic paint technique with an emphasis on combining science with nature and art. It is designed for both the beginner to the advanced artist. 

The impressionists Cezanne and Pisarro began that when they looked at nature close enough they started to see particles of light. By retreating from contemporary culture and pop images we will immerse ourselves in the incredible untouched and natural environment found on Molekai.  As explorers, working in nature with the media of drawing and paint, we will discover underlying mysteries. We will use nature as a launchpad to find extraordinary images. The end results should be a discovery of both the macro and microelements observed in nature as well as the outer and inner realm of human personal response.

This course will consist of 5-day sessions; morning and afternoon classes. First we will produce several drawings by observing and drawing from nature. Then there will be discussions about the deeper meaning, personal symbols and discoveries that emerge from this process in order to unleash each artist's creativity. Eventually we will extract meaningful images from the nature drawings that are suitable as subject matter for a painting. After this, the focus will be on painting only.

The ultimate goal is to produce one to several completed works of art.

Art will be done on unstretched canvas and paper. Finished work can be sent back to each artist’s address.

Painting Supplies would be furnished at the retreat centre.


After class each day there will be time to explore the vicinity and the Hui Centre.

This course is suitable for individuals as well as partners and children over the age of 12.

There are a lot of nature related things to do in Molokai.

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Course Description


A talk by Ric Cooke, owner of the Hui retreat center and descendant of the Cooke family of Hawaii. He will discuss the history and the Hawaiian symbolism found on Molekai.

Rikki Cooke worked for National Geographic for sixteen years; his latest article on Hawaii is in the December 2002 edition of National Geographic Magazine. He and his wife Bronwyn are the authors of the award-winning book, Molokai, an Island in Time. -


Five Day Sessions:

Each day will consist of a morning painting session from 9am – 12 noon, followed by a lunch break and then return to the studio for an afternoon session.


The Process:

  • Learn and experiment with basic acrylic painting technique.

  • Produce several drawings from nature.

  • Discuss the deeper meaning and personal symbols that emerge from this process in order to unleash each artists creativity.    

  • Eventually extract meaningful images from the drawings that are suitable subject matter for painting.

  • Focus on painting only.


Ultimate goal is to produce one to several completed works of art.

Art will be done on unstretched canvas and paper. Finished work can be sent back to each artist’s address. Painting Supplies would be furnished at the retreat center.


After class each day there will be time to explore the vicinity and the Hui Center.

The Essentials:

A painting course by Bonita Helmer


May 20 - 27, 2017


on the island of Molokai, Hawaii


Call us: (626) 578-5499

M-F, 9am to 5pm Pacific Time

Email us:




Helmer’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Exhibitions include: MOCA, Beijing; a solo show at L’Espace Bateau Lavoir,  L’Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris; an official adjunct show as part of the MOCA Los Angeles, Whack retrospective of Women in Art; International Space Conference in Washington, DC.; Newport Harbor Art Museum (Orange County Museum of Art); Gallery Q, Tokyo; French Consulate/Alliance Francaise, Los Angeles; UCLA Dortort Center for the Arts, HUC Museum, NYU campus; Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA). Helmer has also done paintings as set design for performance pieces, one co-produced by CalArts and the other in part by an NEA grant.



During graduate work at Otis College of Art and Design, Helmer worked with Matsumi Kanemitsu who became a strong influence in the use of abstraction in painting.  Helmer also met and studied with Francoise Gilot at University of Southern California/Idyllwild campus. Gilot introduced Helmer to the use of universal symbol in art. At that time other influences included a friendship with Dr. Jonas Salk who brought to Helmer, awareness of the relationship between science and art. Helmer studied the origins of the universe via physics and astronomy at UCLA and has continued in her personal research into physics and mystical studies. Helmer began teaching at Otis College Art and Design in 1998 and continues to teach there present day.

Venue and accommodation


Quality of accommodation

It's not four seasons but it's pretty cool. Comfy with great views and simple accommodations, which may be shared

About Molokai:

It's pretty and tranquil and very rare to do stuff here. You'll really like it here so big it up and there's beach and a pool.

Things to do:


Hui Ho'olana offers opportunities for massage and body work throughout your stay.


The highly skilled massage therapists will schedule sessions to meet your exact needs, an experience not to be missed.


Hiking Trails

The Hui is surrounded by 100 acres. Bring your running or walking shoes to experience over 3 miles of lovely trails.


Kalaupapa Lookout

Or go for a nice run 3 miles up the road to the Kalaupapa Lookout. Trails and road to lookout are on an incline, so be prepared to breath deeply! 

Price: $5,995


EI Members enjoy special pricing. Please contact us directly to learn more

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