“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation - either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force.
I decided to follow the latter course.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
The Summer Sun in the Woods Photo by CJ Shelton
The summer sun has been blazing this week with temperatures soaring well into the mid-thirties, yet its life-restoring rays have been like a beckoning siren, calling to us to venture out and explore, enjoy and forget all our troubles … because the troubles have been many these past few months.
While the pandemic and politics and protests persist, it is as if the sun’s glare is now highlighting the need for these “sufferings” to be even more closely examined, asking us to get both to the root of what caused them in the first place and to see the bigger picture from a higher perspective.
Humanity is at a pivotal point. Like the Phoenix I wrote about back in April whose spontaneous combustion is sparked by the sun’s rays igniting its nest, we are being challenged more than ever to meet the transformative situations being presented to us daily and to choose, decisively, what happens next.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr. quoted above, there are really only two ways we can respond: we can either “react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force.” The Phoenix chose transformation and out of the fires of its suffering it was reborn. And so it shall be for us.
In that spirit of rebirth, I am happy to announce that the creative force is burning brightly at the Alton Mill Arts Centre once again. We are thrilled to be opening our doors and welcoming visitors now and while it’s a bit strange with all the masks and hand sanitizer the excitement is palpable.
I encourage you to come out and explore our studios and galleries and refresh your spirit on our beautiful grounds or beside our waterfall. If you are planning on coming by though please check out our website first at www.altonmill.caas we have put in some protocols that will help keep your visit enjoyable and safe.
In my studio it’s going to be a bit of a hybrid situation for the next couple of months as things reboot. Some of my regular weekly classes will be slowly switching back to in-person and taking place in one of the larger galleries so that we can physically distance. While moving classes online for the last four months has been very successful (and fun!), we can’t wait to be drawing and painting together again, six feet apart of course!
Like any rebirthing process things need to be taken one step at a time, so once the regular classes are back up and running in-person I will start looking at scheduling new workshops (watercolour and mandala-making) for the months of August and into the fall.
In the meantime, I am thrilled that my very first online course, Finding Your Nature, begins in just over a week on July 13 and runs six weeks until August 23.
If you are aching to get creative but are concerned about remaining safely “distanced”, this program will let you experience the best of both worlds and might be just the ticket to ease yourself into a slower and gentler re-birthing this summer.
In this completely online program we will be exploring nature in some new and different ways with all of our five senses, making a little art (no art skills needed!), sketching, doodling, journaling, reflecting, sharing thoughts and inspiration with each other… basically doing all the creative “stuff” that is good for the soul and spirit, but in a very safe, yet connected way.
For Dancing Moon Designs this “beta” course and first step with online programming is just the beginning of an exciting journey into a new frontier.
So … this has been just a short update about how the studio is transforming itself during these very “different” times we now find ourselves in. But as we embrace the summer sun’s warmth with open arms and hearts, I very much look forward to sharing some of it with you, either in-person at the studio or online.
It’s a brave new world out there now but by tapping into our creative forces, we can transform ourselves, renew our hope and re-emerge, just like the sun does at the break of each new day.
Other ways to stay connected this summer ...
For those on Facebook I have two private Facebook groups, one called "Drawing Together with CJ" for art students/art lovers to share their work and the work of artists they admire, and one for "The Mystic’s Circle" where I am sharing links to articles, videos and other resources of a spiritual nature.
To take part in either groupjust click on the active links in this paragraph or the images below to be taken to Facebook where you can request to join.
With gratitude and many blessings to you all for your continued support over these last few months and throughout the summer to come. .
CJ Shelton Artist, Instructor & Facilitator
Dancing Moon Designs Illuminating the Creative and Spiritual Life