Daily Tonic

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From our Creative Community

Sense Aesthetic

Mark Ewart

Openness to finding comfort in unexpected places, is something that we should welcome into our lives right now. Not as an antidote to the ‘boredom’ that broadcast media feels bound to protect us from, but instead, a quiet, dignified appreciation, for what immediately surrounds us within our confinement.

Of course, the irony is that most of us are still too busy to be bored anyway – and I include those doing essential and highly valued work in the community, as well as those who have sadly lost their jobs and are now occupied by worry and stress, upon more worry and stress.

When we get through this – and we will – then perhaps there is a real opportunity for a re-calibration with the simpler things in life that do not, by default, deplete our energy / time / wellbeing; and not to mention the Planet’s ecosystems and climate.

For me personally, the sights and sounds that were etched into childhood memories can, without warning, be re-awakened by random things: a flock of birds flying in formation, the distant drone of a Cessna plane on a summer’s evening or the play of light on a weathered wall.

Flock – Mark Ewart

Developing a sensitivity to what we see and feel and the need to learn how to identify and value the experience of such things, requires a form of empathy, an aesthetic literacy:

The aesthetic experience may involve viewing something in a new way; provoking an instinctive response that promotes well-being…and/or leading to deeper knowledge

Zande, Robin Vande   Source: Art Education. Jan 2007, Vol. 60 Issue 1, p39-42. 4p.

Faded – Mark Ewart

Mark Ewart is an artist, art teacher and lecturer on the PME Art & Design at CIT Crawford


Developing our Sensory Aesthetic

This task gently suggested and received, can be applied to any sensory experience, media, found or treasured object or environment, of your choosing.

  1. IDENTIFY / SELECT (object…space…texture…memory….sound)
  2. EXPLORE (its meaning to you or others)
  3. REFLECT (on its characteristics)
  4. ASSOCIATE (its form to an emotion)

If I was to suggest an artist that might inspire you in your endeavours, consider Andy Goldsworthy’s tactile environmental land art. The beautiful film ‘Rivers and Tides’ (2001) is a calming first step.

‘Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty – his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure’.

Aldous Huxley

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Home is Where the Art is

Little Fine Artists is a mobile art workshop programme for children. It is a space for creative learning, for young artists to explore their own ideas and socialise with peers. The aim is to develop a young artist’s confidence in their creative practice and abilities. Little Fine Artists promotes the value in play, experimentation and imagination rather than focusing on honing a particular skill or craft. Workshops take place weekly in Cork schools and community spaces and are run by

Since the recent closure of schools, colleges and cultural institutions due to coronavirus I decided to post an ongoing series of creative activities on Little Fine Artists’ social media. I’ve titled this project ‘Home Is Where the Art Is’. The idea is to provide families with simple creative activities to do at home during this time. I’ve included one of my favourite creative projects below. Do visit Little Fine Artists’ Instagram and Facebook pages for more ideas!

Hilary O’Mahony facilitates Little Fine Artists and is a trainee Art Therapist at CIT Crawford.

The Scribble Game

This activity is great fun, so simple and really gets you moving!

– Paper
– Drawing materials like markers, crayons or colouring pencils
– Tape
– Glue
– Scissors

– Grab some paper, the bigger the better.
– Next choose your drawing material, it’s great fun drawing with a few crayons or markers at the same time!
– Get scribbling, start in the middle and work your way outwards, you might like to switch colours and layer your scribble drawing up.
– Make a series of scribble drawings, try making one while working really fast, really slow, using your left hand, using your right hand, using both hands at the same time, drawing with your eyes closed. Don’t be too precious.
– Take a step back to have a look at your work…do you have a favourite, why?
– Next, chose a drawing to develop further. Use your all art materials to develop your scribble drawing into a more detailed image.
– Have fun and enjoy the process!

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Time to be slow


This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.

― John O’Donohue

To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

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Self Isolation Creations

What has surprised me over the last few days is how sharply and quickly isolation can set in. Despite our multiple means of communication, much of our deepest fears and anxieties are not finding pathway to expression. A few days ago I started feeling a bit powerless and wondered how I could help others feeling this way. So I started creating exercises for myself each afternoon that help me to reconnect and give me something creative to do that would stop me worrying. I’m now posting these 20 minute ‘self-isolation creations’ every day on my Instagram and Facebook pages:

Lucy Hyland is a textile artist with an MA in Arts Therapy










Day 1

  1. Walk around your house and chose something (an object, picture, book, food etc) that brings you joy or helps you feel good. Today I chose these wooden mushrooms as they are fun and given to me by someone I love.
  2. Find somewhere comfortable in your house, somewhere you can sit for a while.
  3. You can use any material you want. Paper, envelopes, notebooks, writing pads, pencils, paints, markers or pens etc. Today I chose a notepad, pencil and highlighter pens.
  4. Feel free to put your phone on silent. If you are conscious of time, put a timer on. Give this a minimum of 20 minutes.
  5. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths in and out.
  6. Open your eyes and take in your object(s). Memories might come to mind: a story, a person, a place. Feel free to daydream.
  7. Draw, doodle, play with it.
  8. The perfectionist Gremlin will come out and probably tell you to stop being silly, that’s it’s not good enough and go do something useful! Thank it for its opinion and keep drawing.
  9. This is not about creating a picture, it’s about creating a feeling. I smiled through most of this exercise today! The 20 minutes flew and I was totally engrossed.
  10. Feel free to share or put up on your counter or fridge for the day.

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