Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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JRRD Cover Art Winner 2010,
E. Sebastian Leon

Richard W. Kimball

Air Force veteran E. Sebastian Leon is an amateur artist and full-time nursing assistant at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Bath, New York. He has been drawing since he was about 7 years old; he also attended the High School of Art and Design in New York, New York.

His latest work, Strange Tree, depicts a tree growing atop a snow-covered mountain with fish and a giraffe emerging from its branches. The previous working title and conceptual basis of the unfinished work was "Contradiction."

"There are some wonderful, strange things taking place in creation that too often go unnoticed," said Leon. "If I had to sum it up, I would say take a good look at God’s wonderful creation. In such a sometimes ugly world, there is a lot of beauty still around."

In creating Strange Tree, Leon combined his two favorite styles—science fiction and landscapes. Painting landscapes expresses his spirituality and is a tool to translate his emotions while working through bouts of depression.

"I try to pay attention to things that may at times go unnoticed—the way the sky looks, the lighting on the water, the colors around and on objects," said Leon. "It helps me to appreciate creation and makes me feel there’s a reason for all these things to be here."

To learn more about our featured artist, listen to our JRRD at a Glance podcast at

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