There’s an exhibit of pastel works at the Lettered Street Coffeehouse this weekend. They are the colorful visions of a Bellingham Integral yoga teacher, also my friend, the Rev. John Hawkins. Some of these drawings were started as early as 1990, a few years after he was a student at the University of Georgia.

Through many moves, from Birmingham AL, to Nashville, TN, to Athens, GA, to San Diego, CA, to Bellingham, WA he sold and gave away more images than he can count, some remembered, some forgotten. Most artworks he photographed, such as “A Simple Melody”, now on a greeting card, even though John has no idea where the original oil on canvas is. An old friend recently messaged John the image of a another painting, “Boomtown”, that he’s long forgotten. During one of John’s moves, he left a stack of paintings with a friend. When that friend went through a divorce, the paintings were lost.

John smiles when he remembers many owners of his artwork. The original manager of the rock band, REM, has one. The original CPA of REM has another. Governor Zel Miller of Georgia picked John’s painting “Meatloaf Again” for his office. A couple in Athens, GA, owned his painting, “First Date”. When they divorced, that painting was the last thing they split up. The woman got it, John remembers, and the man got the doorjamb hanging John painted.

At a 3 person show in 2000, at the Lyndon House Art Center in Athens, a woman bought a painting called “Dance Me to the End of Love”, because it reminded her of her husband who had passed away a year before. He often asked her to go dancing, and now she regretted telling him no. When John was living in San Diego, she emailed him that she’d written a play around the painting, and asking permission to use the painting on the program. John was able to attend the play in Athens, and the painting was on the program and on stage. He felt “secretly famous” as he was introduced and took a bow.

John drew a drawing every day after his own divorce in 1994, but after the 2000 art show, he decided to stop making art, turning his attention fully to yoga. He kept his favorite drawings in a little box. A co-owner of Bellingham’s The Metta Center, he was ordained as an Interfaith Minister in 2013, and he self published a book on yoga: “A Stance for Nonviolence” in 2016.

After he had a stroke in April 2016, he started again to look at his drawings every 6 or 8 weeks or so. Six months after his stroke, he went to Dakota Arts, and bought red, blue, yellow, white, and black pastels. Working on his earlier drawings helped him through his recovery, and now he has an exhibit at the Lettered Streets Coffeehouse until January 31, 2018. He is showing 10 pastel drawings, and sets of notecards with some of his earlier favorite paintings. The reception is Saturday, January 27, 2 pm to 5 pm. Come for coffee, tea, and Art!