An exhibition of paintings and drawings by Thomas Cocroft (1917-1989) will be on display at the West Tisbury Free Public Library from April 1 through April 28. The show opens with a reception at the library from 4 to 5 p.m. on April 1.

Many of Mr. Cocroft’s works feature Martha’s Vineyard scenes, including views of the West Tisbury parsonage where he and his wife, journalist Phyllis Meras, spent seven years after marrying in 1968.

“He loved the parsonage,” painting and drawing it repeatedly over the years, Ms. Meras recalled. One 1971 pen-and-ink shows the building from above, blanketed and surrounded by snow, as if Mr. Cocroft had scaled a towering tree to capture the winter view. He never explained how he did it, Ms. Meras said.

Mr. Cocroft painted many house portraits during his career. He had an affinity for the white walls and vernacular architecture of New England homes, both in his native Rhode Island and on the Vineyard.

And he knew his subjects well. For years, including some of his time on the Vineyard, Mr. Cocroft worked as an independent house painter “so that he would be free to travel and paint the pictures he wished to paint at the seasons in which he wished to paint them,” according to his Gazette obituary in 1989.

But houses were only one of Mr. Cocroft’s many themes. He also painted interiors, portraits, nudes, land and seascapes and birds. With the possible exception of the nudes, all of his themes will be represented in the West Tisbury show, said Ms. Meras, who was still working out details with the library this week.

Many of Mr. Cocroft’s canvases reveal his deep love of nature — swans at Mill Pond, an unfinished but vibrant wood duck in flight, crows in the snow. Plein air scenes of beachgoers and waves ripple with summer sunshine.

Mr. Cocroft’s mastery of the human face and form are evident in portraits such as a large canvas of the Bulgarian painter Eugene Tonoff in his Providence studio, a series of nudes and multiple self-portraits that show the artist as a handsome, serious man. He also painted Ms. Meras with a favorite cat, and drew their feline pets many times.

“He was a great storyteller,” said Ms. Meras, who met Mr. Cocroft through a neighbor when she was working for the Providence Journal in the 1950s. “That’s what attracted me to him. I think he was the best storyteller I’ve ever known. He had no college education, but had read everything and continued to read all his life.”

Ms. Meras credits Mr. Cocroft with deepening her own relationship to the natural world. “He knew so much about nature,” she said. “He knew what things were.” Without him, she said, she would not have written her books including In Every Season: Memories of Martha’s Vineyard, which includes Mr. Cocroft’s drawings.

Mr. Cocroft didn’t move to the Vineyard expecting to make it his home. “He thought it was going to be temporary,” said Ms. Meras, who had become the Providence Journal’s travel editor before accepting a position as managing editor for the Gazette in 1967.

But once here, she said, he told her that “painting is totally different when you’re on an island, because the light and the water are all around you.”