Chances are you’ve seen Alexander Campbell on one of his daily walks along Main street in Vineyard Haven, but you may not have known that he is a prolific artist. Although he has followed his creative inclinations since he was a young child, he has not shown his art publicly until now.

His whimsical, colorful portraits of landscapes, seascapes, castles, barns, churches, sailboats, animals, fish, and his signature “happy suns” are now on display at Mocha Mott’s in Vineyard Haven during the month of November, and there will be an artist reception at 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 6.

Using colored pens and pencils, Alexander likes to depict scenes that are happy and peaceful, and that gently remind you, “You don’t want to be so busy,” he says.

Alexander began his artistic journey long ago by drawing angels because “they tapped me on the shoulder, and I just flew with it.” He goes on to explain why angels became a significant motif throughout his life. At the age of three, while on a trip to Mexico with his family, they were hit by a drunk driver. Two family members did not survive the accident, while others suffered a range of injuries. Alexander’s were the most severe, with a diagnosis of Right Hemiplegia, a paralysis of one side of the body, which left him with limited vision and mobility.

Mr. Campbell envisions scenes in his head first, but then let's the muse take over. — Mark Alan Lovewell

As part of his recovery, he was hospitalized for about two months, during which time, his mother, Kathy, would visit as much as possible, while also nursing her own injuries, tending to her infant daughter, and addressing other necessary obligations in the accident’s aftermath. The nurses tried to convince her that she didn’t need to be there so much, with all her other demands, but she was determined to accelerate Alexander’s recovery and bring him home. Some time later she asked him if he had sensed when she wasn’t with him at the hospital. He replied yes, but that he also felt angels were there watching over him.

This affinity with angels led to drawing angel cards that he sold for a dollar in his front yard some 15 years ago. Although he did eventually raise the price to $2, he has always donated five per cent of any sales to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He eventually sold the angel cards at various shops on the Island, most consistently at the Beach House in Vineyard Haven, where they have been available for almost a decade.

As Alexander describes it, he branched out with his art when “the pen started moving in other directions,” which has resulted in the types of paintings seen in his current show. He says the process is “meditative, all the decisions of what colors to use, or whether to draw a house as lively or sleeping.”

He envisions the scenes in his head first, but “when the ants crawl out from my fingers to the paper, it turns out a little differently.”

Alexander often uses these types of metaphors when talking about his art or anything else for that matter. “It helps me express myself because I feel like art talks,” he says.

Through his art, he focuses on “what I can do, not what I can’t do.” He also encourages others who have experienced trauma to do the same. “You have to go down your own pathway,” he advises.

Alexander’s paintings will be displayed at Mocha Mott’s in Vineyard Haven for the month of November. There is also an artist’s reception on Monday, Nov. 6 beginning at 2 p.m., featuring some treats from Chilmark Chocolates, where he is employed. All his paintings are for sale, and he is happy to take requests for commissions. As per his usual, five per cent of the proceeds will go to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).