The following testimonials were written by participants in CJ Shelton’s mandala workshops and Art in the Round Try-It sessions. Many people who take CJ’s classes are self-declared “non-artists”… and here’s proof that the mandala process does indeed “illuminate the creative spirit”! Follow CJ Shelton – Dancing Moon Designs on Facebook to see more photos, updates and comments.
“Mandala Magic! Picture a person who can hardly draw a stick man going to this workshop. That’s me. I went because my best friend invited me, along with two other of her friends. I went to be with friends, perhaps to make a few new ones, but honestly with no other expectations. I entered CJ Shelton’s studio and immediately felt life’s busy-ness melt away. I entered a calming, relaxing atmosphere, that was bright and inviting despite the dull day. I’ve been to many workshops in my life, and to many very good ones, yet I can say this was one of the best I’ve been to. I say this because I found CJ to be an amazing teacher. To me mandala’s look so detailed, beautiful, deep and yet simple all at the same time. They seem to have a life of their own . . . they speak to each viewer differently. You get a sense that the maker’s heart and soul goes into it. CJ breaks down the seemingly impossible task of creating a mandala into manageable steps so that we too can produce something that is not only beautiful, but for me anyway, says something about who I am. There is something very freeing about this.
Besides the “good teaching” what really makes this workshop a success is CJ herself. Her approach, like her studio, is both calming and relaxing. She shares her knowledge and wisdom in an unpretentious, natural, genuine way. She is sensitive to and responds to each person’s individual abilities and needs. She guides all workshop participants in a positive, encouraging, empowering way. Not only did I feel respected, I felt that CJ believed in me and my abilities despite my early proclamation of “I can’t draw”.
CJ is the real deal. One gets the sense that this is not a job for her, this is who she is . . . who she is meant to be. She is living her passion. One cannot get a better workshop facilitator than that.
This workshop was just plain fun, and I daresay was “Mandala Magic”. I highly recommend it. Take your friends, take your children, but most importantly go yourself and see where it takes you.”
~ Dianne Czerwinski, Perth, Ontario
“CJ, it was the most awesome day. I absolutely loved it – your instruction, your studio, our results. You are very gifted in your ability to gently guide the process and draw out the creativity in everyone. Your process is so simple but it works. You do this with your quietly supportive manner, in an atmosphere of spiritual calm, which you have created in your lovely riverside studio. No wonder that our mandalas were each so unique, inspired and impressive. What a perfectly wonderful way for friends to spend time together. Thankyou!”
~ Anne Blum, Toronto
It is taken me a week to just start to process what I walked away with last Sunday. It feels like I received a gift of shamanistic orgami that keeps unfolding and I have no doubt will continue to do so. It certainly has reinforced my determination to eventually take every one of your workshops!
As an artist, I was both excited and a wee bit apprehensive about the workshop going in. Watercolor pencils are my medium of preference and I knew nothing about colored pencil. My normal style is also looser and more impressionist so delving into a style that demanded more precision seemed to be another challenge. So when I arrived, I was distinctly stepping out of my comfort zone. Excited to do so and in no small part due to the inspiration and beauty that you create (some of which I am blessed to own and enjoy). The moment I walked into your new studio, it was like being enveloped in reassurance and warmth. The energy I felt not only resonated for me, it cradled and en-wombed me like a living breathing sphere. Blue energies in constant flow, webs of golden light like sunlight over sand on water especially around your windows and altar with a lot of greens and violets around your drafting board. Your studio is a place between worlds that knitted together for me to form a safe and supported sacred space from which to dare and dream. Your teaching for me was like following a new path that kept revealing a broader and more complex view with each step. I trusted you to know that path and to lead. I was content to let this journey unfold.
I learned a LOT and not just about a new way of making art. Laughter runs through my memories and time that passed so swiftly with hands busy and minds free to wander. The best kind of experience and thank you so much for letting it flow as long as it did.”
~ Elizabeth Scott, Toronto
“I was somewhat apprehensive at first since I feel I’m not an artist. CJ quickly explained that the making of a mandala is a process that requires no expertise just the allowing of yourself to place colour on the paper in any way you wish. As I began I saw a tree in my mind’s eye. I had some difficulty with the leaves and CJ gave me some ideas that made the process simple and very effective. I felt my body relax and de-stress during this process. I was very comfortable as I watched my fellow group members absorbed in their mandalas too. We had a discussion afterwards about the process and what we saw in each other’s work. CJ coaches her students in a positive gentle manner that one finds very encouraging. This process was so lovely. One need not have any special skills in order to feel successful with the making of a mandala. I was so inspired by this enjoyable experience that I purchased my own supplies!!”
~ Linda Carter, Richmond Hill
“Provided excellent safe self discovery with an excellent instructor.” ~ Neil Laliberte
“I really enjoyed the mandala session. It was a new experience for me to let my hand do the drawing intuitively without my conscious, active mind trying to plan and control the outcome. My professional career was one in which mental discipline, awareness and influence was always central. The mandala activity was very liberating. CJ’s effective preparation and gentle coaching enabled this liberation. The group “show and tell’ feedback session, as each person shared their mandala, was excellent. It really deepened my understanding of my own work and let me appreciate and glean some life insights from the work of others. The whole experience was fun. “
~ Clare Magee, Newmarket
“The experience was great. I felt more connected with what I was feeling and it helped me focus more on my inner psychological state. I really enjoyed working with colours and although I am not an artist I felt a tremendous pride in the product”
~ Saundra Arnold, Newmarket
“I feel I’ve begun a new and exciting journey” ~ Diana Ellis, Sutton
“CJ is a terrific teacher as well as a knowledgeable artist. Her classes are always interesting but by really listening we get much, much more than just art. We are learning the art of living as well. It is the most enjoyable two hours that I have spent learning – ever! This has made me see everything differently. It is really needed in many people’s lives.”
~ Beverly Wills, Aurora