June 21st, 2014 / posted by paularath
Jerry at the front door of the Volcano Artist Cottage.

Jerry at the front door of the Volcano Artist Cottage.

Jerry and I are having a fabulous time at a four-day watercolor workshop with Tom Hoffmann, a truly wonderful watercolor artist and teacher from Seattle.

Tom likes to find unusual and exotic places to paint, so each morning and each afternoon we hike or drive to another spectacular spot on the Big Island. We are painting lava rock formations, Kilauea Crater, black sand beaches, Halemaumau, derelict buildings in Na’alehu, and tomorrow, a rain forest. A very different palette from what we often use when plein air painting! No white sand beaches and surf.

Thanks to the generosity of artist Ira Ono, we spent our first two nights at the Volcano Artist Cottage. It is absolutely charming and so comfy! It’s surrounded by award-winning gardens, complete with a pet goat named Ernest. There is a Jacuzzi in the backyard, a completely functional kitchen, a mini-library with an astute collection, a comfy bed with electric blanket – Ira has thought of everything. The bathroom is super luxurious too!

The serene, Zen-like bathroom at Volcano Artist Cottage.

The serene, Zen-like bathroom at Volcano Artist Cottage.

Next door to the cottage is a restaurant that is not to be missed when you are on the Big Island. It’s called Café Ono (after Ira, of course) and the food is absolutely fabulous. It’s vegetarian – and it may turn you into a vegetarian too, in case you’re not there yet. The food is colorful, flavorful, original and oh so tasty! We couldn’t get enough of it.

There’s also a lovely little gallery called Volcano Garden Arts. It has lots of Ira’s art, in particular his clever, endearing and humorous clay masks, but also shows nearly 100 local artists’ work, including glass, jewelry, fine art, ceramics – an eclectic representation of what’s happening in art on the Big Island.

The only goat I have ever liked: Ernest, the mascot of the Volcano Artist Cottage.

The only goat I have ever liked: Ernest, the mascot of the Volcano Artist Cottage.

If you are planning a visit to Volcano, I highly recommend Volcano Artist Cottage. It’s so relaxing and absolutely charming.

I will write more about our wonderful visit to Volcano and our exciting art retreat soon, but the Internet service at the Kilauea Military Camp (where we’re staying tonight) is driving me crazy right now!

– Paula Rath

Volcano steaming

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