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Light Leaf, by Artist Paul Kelley

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  • Written by: Guest Writer
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Artist Paul Kelley spent his time social distancing appreciating nature and turning it into art. You can swing by the Redlands Visitor Center to see his art instillation while it is here!

Observations of leaves in light

During times of social distancing due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, I have thought a lot about play and observation. Asking myself, what it means to be playfully curious? I would like to think I always adhere to a playful mindset and that I practice critical observation of my surroundings. After all, this attitude is the foundation of my art practice – a practice that I see as a way of being and a major philosophy of my life. The pandemic certainly tested this attitude and perhaps spawned a renewed focus – an opportunity to sharpen that focus and an important reminder to not lose sight and take for granted all that surrounds us.

We have seen as a collective society that when our daily routines and comforts are disrupted, we can let it get the better of us. Rather than being inconvenienced, a silver lining of this pandemic, that I found, was an opportunity to slow down. It is vital to find opportunities to slow down – as the old saying goes: Stop and smell the roses. New attitudes toward life or stressful situations can be born – new things to see, discover and learn.

For me, spending time in isolation yielded some interesting findings, as I began to closely observe the various leaves that engulf my backyard here in Redlands. Every new day brought with it a new detail, a subtlety with every shift in light, revealing an endless array of abstractions, textures, and colors. I was seeing the hidden life of leaves dancing in the sunlight. Naturally, I began documenting my observations.

In a romantic yet heartbreaking sense, I was attempting to find light in the darkness of the pandemic. What I found was a cabinet or wall of wonders and wanted to present my findings as such. My backyard or better yet – our world – is a giant cabinet of wonder. A curious collection of things, objects, artifacts, and specimens all waiting to be observed, discovered and perhaps, rediscovered.

Paul Kelley