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Contemporary Encaustic: An Artist Retreat with Kelly Milukas & Dietlind Vander Schaaf, inspiring the craft of encaustic painting with the culture, cuisine, & Mediterranean landscape of Crete

April 22 - May 1


Contemporary Encaustic: An Artist Retreat

An Artist Retreat with expert practitioners Kelly Milukas & Dietlind Vander Schaaf, inspiring your encaustic craft within the culture, cuisine, & Mediterranean landscape of Crete.

Program Length

10 nights, 9 days


22 April to

2 May, 2024

Base Costs

Enrollment Status

Fully Enrolled:

(Please Register for Waitlist)


$4,400 (USD)



$2,900 (USD)

Unless otherwise noted below, all prices:

Include airport transfers, program activities & transportation, meals & beverages/  (Pretty much everything except flights to program location. 😊)

Assume room-level & occupancy choices below (with upgrade & discount options as described.)

If Non-Participant option offered, that price excludes only program-facilitated activities.


100 2019-0406 (901)
105 2009-1130 (108)
110 2016-0310 (141)
115 2006-0710 (241)a
130 2019-0125 (900)
131 2019-0406 (900)
135 2019-0125 (901)
140 2018-0423 (900)
141 2018-0423 (901)
145 2009-1203 (208)
150 2006-0710 (259)
160 2018-0423 (902)
165 2018-0423 (901)
170 2019-0406 (902)
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180 2021-1020 (205)
185 2019-0620 (104)
190 2015-0717 (116)
195 2016-0705 (111)a
200 2019-0704 (181)
205 2019-1105 (106)
210 2019-1121 (102)
215 2021-0822 (600) Clémentine
220 2019-0722 (100)
225 2021-0609 (107)
230 2019-0729 (112)
235 2019-1030 (119)
240 2021-0917 (101)
245 2006-0706 (113)
260 2021-1020 (206)
265 2021-1020 (207)
270 2021-1020 (208)
275 2021-1020 (209)
280 2023-0223 (900)
285 2021-1020 (210)
290 2023-0223 (902)
295 2023-0223 (901)
300 2023-0223 (903)
305 2023-0223 (904)
310 2023-0509 (900)
315 2023-0310 (900)
320 Picture3
325 2023-0226 (901)
330 2023-0226 (900)
335 2023-0310 (901)
390 2022-1025 (503)
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At a Glance

Join renowned artists & instructors Kelly Milukas & Dietlind Vander Schaaf for an opulent painting retreat, deepening your practice and enjoying 10 nights & 9 days on Crete at Villa Koukouvayia, a luxurious olive farm in the island’s western Chania region, just above the Aegean shore.

Minimum Attendance: 8 participants

Program Confirmation Cutoff: Oct 10, 2023

Maximum Attendance:

  •  10 Participants.
  • 2 Accompanying Non-Participants.

Lodging Venue/s:

Participant Requirements:

  • This retreat is appropriate for both representational and abstract artists, from moderate to advanced and at any part of their journey, including those artists returning to practice after a significant hiatus.
  • Experience using a torch for encaustic painting is helpful, but not necessary.

Equipment Required:

  • All non-personal encaustic gear will be provided.

Program Highlights:

  • Six days in the field among inspirational Aegean settings, highlighting seaside, pastoral, and historic landscapes.
  • Six days of studio instruction.
  • Private, independent studio access.
  • Special excursions to:
    • Byzantine museum & vineyards of Agia Triada Monastery.
    • The Venetian Old Town of Xania for markets and museums.
    • Dramatic southern coast beaches, (with an optional guided trek down a Cretan Gorge.)
  • Sunrise activities of guided yoga, Mediterranean plunges & olive grove walks.
  • Delicious meals of Cretan AM pastries & farm-to-fork tavernas.
  • Free day to explore or just relax by pool.


120 2023-0226 (901)
172 2020-0906 (900)
180 2021-1020 (205)
210 2019-1121 (102)
215 2021-0822 (600) Clémentine
225 2021-0609 (107)
240 2021-0917 (101)
260 2021-1020 (206)
265 2021-1020 (207)
270 2021-1020 (208)
275 2021-1020 (209)
285 2021-1020 (210)
280 2023-0223 (900)
290 2023-0223 (902)
295 2023-0223 (901)
305 2023-0223 (904)
300 2023-0223 (903)
310 2023-0509 (900)
325 2023-0226 (901)
330 2023-0226 (900)
335 2023-0310 (901)
390 2022-1025 (503)
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Program Details

This retreat is designed to immerse you in beauty & vitality, inspire you, and renew your artistic practice. Kelly & Dietlind will meld their talents and yours, and together with others in the small group, you will see from new perspectives—not only the spaces surrounding you, but your artwork itself.

Our daily schedule will revolve around early-riser activities of mindful movement, including guided yoga, grove walks, Mediterranean plunges, or simply enjoying morning beverages on our quiet verandas above the sea.  Field work will follow, leveraging Crete’s dramatic geographical and cultural landscapes to harvest imagery and sketches during the dynamically lit hours, returning for studio work, private practice, with most days celebrated with a meal at nearby farm-to fork tavernas, and a social recap on the roof terrace with wine beneath the stars.

And interspersed among our dedicated working schedule will be two special excursion days highlighting some of Crete’s iconic sites & experiences—providing further inspiration to your artist eye.  These include a wine tasting at the historic Agia Triada monastery & vineyard and a review of their Byzantine icon and fiber-arts museum, and an afternoon soaking up the ambience of Xania’s Venetian Old Town.  We’ll also take a day to travel up and across the pastoral alpine plateau of Omalos, from whence the famous Samaria Gorge drops precipitously before cascading 16 kilometers to the Libyan Sea.  Participants who want may hike one of the nearby gorges or trails, or meet the others, who chose, instead of a hike, to enjoy a day of the white sand and blue waters of the charming harbor town of Sougia beneath Crete’s southern cliffs.

Your days of work, learning and experience will also bookend a full, mid-program free day, where you can—alone or with new friends—explore the local area as you wish, or simply relax at the villa, unburdened from itineraries and schedules.

This package includes a private, Standard Room with options to upgrade to a Premium Room with a private balcony, terrace or other dramatic feature.  Or you can take advantage of generous occupancy discounts by choosing to lodge with accompanying friends or other participants.  With only your independent day’s meals & miscellaneous private purchases excepted, your retreat costs are truly inclusive, covering meals, beverages, ground transportation, social & guided activities, tips, gratuities, etc., allowing you to focus on you, your art, and the experience of Crete.


Program Outline


Participant Arrivals, Welcome Dinner & Program-Intro.


AM: Field Studies at Roman Polyrrhenia.

PM Studio Work


AM: Field Studies at Historic Village of Topolia.

PM: Studio Work


Excursion day: Sunrise Yoga & Swim at Seitan Limani; Agia Triada Monastery Museum & Vineyard; Field Studies in Xania’s Old Town.


AM: Field Studies at Nopigia cliffs. 

PM: Studio Work


AM: Field Studies at Agios Thomas Meadow. 

PM: Studio Work


Excursion day: Omalos Plateau, Samaria Gorge, Southern Cliffs & Coastline.


Free Day:  Independent Exploration, Activity or Relaxation at Villa Koukouvayia


AM: Field Studies at Sfinari Beach and Western Windmills. 

PM: Studio Work


AM: Final Studio Work.

PM: Presentations & Celebration Dinner with Sharing of Works


AM:  Good-byes & Participant Departures; Airport Transport

PM:  Program Wrap up with Staff


120 Picture1
120 2023-0226 (901)
290 2023-0223 (902)
295 2023-0223 (901)
161 Picture4
280 2023-0223 (900)
315 2023-0310 (900)
335 2023-0310 (901)
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Your Leader/s

Kelly Milukas & Dietlind Vander Schaaf

Cretan Destination Retreats is proud to empower spring and autumn versions of this exciting experience with artists known both for practice and work as well as instructional expertise.

Kelly works and teaches in a variety of media, among them water-based & ink-based paints, pastel, and mixed-media-sculpture; with a particular love of (and expertise in) creative encaustic. In addition to private mentoring and instruction in her seacoast New England studio, Kelly serves as Artist Instructor for the International Encaustic Conference at Truro Center for the Arts in Massachusetts, and for the International Association of Pastel Societies in New Mexico, where she holds a Masters Circle title.  Kelly is a frequent national contributor in museum programming, private retreats, corporate creativity and team-building programs, and her résumé includes international bio-tech science residencies, and a residency with the well-known interior design firm Taste Design of Rhode Island.

Kelly’s story, studio, and artwork have been featured in prestigious publications such as New England Home, IAPS Globes, Sotheby’s 401, Artscope, The Pastel Journal, and Newport Life; and in books such as 100 New England Artists; Best of American Pastel, Artists’ Homes & Studios, and The Cortland Review.  In addition, Kelly has held solo exhibitions at several national venues, with her work has featured prominently at international art fairs such as Red Dot Miami and Boston International Art Fair, as well as national museums, international private and corporate collections.

Kelly’s partner for the spring retreat, Dietlind Vander Schaaf, holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco and an MA from the University of Southern Maine.  Among other venues, Dietlind has exhibited at Cape Cod Museum of Art, the Fuller Craft Museum, and On Center Gallery, in the historic artists’ enclave of Provincetown, Massachusetts.  Her work has been featured in Maine Home + Design, Decor Maine, UPPERCASE, Artscope, and Downeast magazines.  Dietlind is an Ampersand Art Supply ambassador; a Core Instructor with R&F Handmade Paints; and the former president of New England Wax, a dedicated consortium of practicing encaustic artists.  An annual presenter at the International Encaustic Conference, Dietlind has conducted and taught workshops throughout the United States and internationally.  She has earned grants from the Maine Arts Commission and the Hemera Foundation’s Tending Space Artist Fellowship.  In addition to her artistic accomplishments, Dietlind is a 500-Hour Kripalu yoga instructor, with specialty training in meditation, Ayurveda, vinyasa, and pranayama practice, and will serve as a leader during our guided yoga sessions.


Lodging Options Included in Price:

Room Level: Standard Room

Occupancy: Double Occupancy

Available Discounts:

Standard Room Discount: $0

Non-Std Room Discount: $500

Single Occupancy Supplement: $0

Double Occupancy Discount: $500

Double Occupancy (+1) Discount: $700

Double Occupancy (+2) Discount: $900

Group of 3 Signup Discount: 5%

Available Supplements:

Luxury Suite Supplement: $1,000

Premium Room Supplement: $500

Important Notes:

All selections are first-come first-served, secured with participant’s minimum payment.

Cancellations from CDR, Kelly or Dietlind will result in full refunds no fewer than 7 days after cancellation announced. 

Cancellations due to participant exigencies will result in refunds only to the degree a replacement participant can be found.  No additional fees/s will be charged for cancellations.

Activities cited in projected itineraries are always subject to change due to curriculum variables such as light & weather, accessibility issues unique to the group, and the importance of safety concerns.

Retreat is not guaranteed until subscribed with minimum participation cited above.  Registered participants will be informed as soon as retreat is confirmed or 120 days prior to retreat, whichever is sooner.  Until that time no flights or other non-refundable travel expenses should be booked.

Airport transfers assume CHQ airport and generally common arrival and departure times.



Next Steps?


April 22
May 1
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