Exhibit honors longtime gallery designer and artist


Posted 1/4/23

Beyond the edge of the everyday lies a landscape of imagination found through introspection.

It’s where Jay Haskins spent much of his time before his recent passing.

Well, there, and …

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Exhibit honors longtime gallery designer and artist



Beyond the edge of the everyday lies a landscape of imagination found through introspection.

It’s where Jay Haskins spent much of his time before his recent passing.

Well, there, and exploring the Bahamas.

Haskins was a local artist, poet, musician, sailer, and a founding artist of both the Northwind Arts Center and Corvidae Press, a printmaking guild at Fort Worden whose travels among the seas of creativity matched his adventures across the ocean.

He passed away peacefully on July 23 after a short illness, and to honor his legacy of dedication to the arts there will be a retrospective exhibit of his creations at the Jeanette Best Gallery from Jan. 13 to Feb. 26.


“The art that he did is not usually representational, it’s more expressing a feeling or a concept,” said Pat Carter, a longtime friend and travel companion of Haskins.

“He went through from sketches to pen and ink to acrylics,” she added. “He went through all kinds of phases with his art.”

After high school in California, Haskins attended the Art Center School’s Fine Arts program in Los Angeles for three years, then studied independently with a couple of different artists, including Lee Mullican at UCLA.

He then worked for a local boatbuilder, painting in the evenings and on weekends, and set sail as a marine woodworker until he eventually, with a friend, began a boat design and building business. Later, that work gave way to becoming a sailmaker for a few years, all the while still finding time to paint and go to galleries regularly.

Since moving to Port Townsend in 1979, in addition to making his art, Haskins continued exploring his creativity through a variety of pursuits including picture framing, printmaking, and playing music in a marimba ensemble for the last 20 years.

“Mythos #6” by Jay Haskins.
“Mythos #6” by Jay Haskins.


His prolific exploration of imagination branched out into his philosophy as well.

“I would really enjoy sharing what I was reading with Jay,” said Teri Mielke, another of Haskins’ best friends. “We’d get right into it and be conversant immediately.”

While the subjects they discussed would range the gamut, they often tied into what they termed “expanded consciousness.”

“We’re expanding to include everything so there’s no fear; it is what it is,” Mielke said. “I have moments that are just incredible, the merged moment when your mind is not busy, mind has stopped thinking, and all you are is present. I look forward to those moments.”

To find that place together, they would have quiet conversations over coffee.

“He would drop by Elevated and we would sit down and he would drink his mocha and I would have my decaf coffee and we would start talking about the metaphysical orientation of ourselves,” he added.

“I want to have another discussion with him.”

Those conversations and philosophical concepts would make their way into his art as well.

“He might put some things in like words or cut out little sentences or something and kind of made it a little piece of the feeling of the picture,” Carter said.

He also spent time writing plenty of his own.

Haskins’ poetry has been published by Minotaur and the Heron’s Nest, an international haiku journal and for years he participated in local haiku writing groups.

“When I first met him, he was doing what they call automatic writing where things come right through you and he did that a lot,” Carter said. “He was really, really connected to whatever that inner voice is, or outer voice, or whatever is coming through.”

“Hannalore” by Jay Haskins.
“Hannalore” by Jay Haskins.


That voice did not always speak in words though, sometimes sound was all Haskins would need.

Marimba, the joyful percussion instrument consisting of wooden bars that are struck by mallets, was one of his most prolific passions.

“One of our strong ties was the marimba band,” Carter said.

Haskins played soprano in a number of bands with Carter over the years producing multiple albums of their music, letting the rhythms carry them closer.

“Everybody became a family really. When people needed help moving stuff out of a house there was somebody there with a pick up. We’re just always there to help each other. There’s a really strong bond among the group.”

While he had so many sides to his creativity, he was also humble and tended to not speak much outside of each of the circles about the other things he did.

For instance, Haskins’ son Declan Westcott remembers sculptures from his childhood hanging on the wall, but his father’s writing pursuits were unknown to him.

“I was kind of unaware, but he wrote a lot, I’ve been finding out,” Westcott said.

Westcott also described his father’s art as a reflection of the man he was.

“Abstract and evocative. Kind of always sort of teasing at something but never quite hitting you in the face with it. I think very similar to his character. If you got him talking, he’d talk, but he kept his cards fairly close to the vest and I think that that could be seen in his paintings,” he said.



Since his father’s passing, Westcott has been tasked with sorting through writings as well as upwards of 400 pieces of art his father left behind.

“His work has kind of a muted quality. Occasionally he’d have splashes of color and bolder statements or visual impacts, but a lot of his stuff is kind of in muted tones,” Westcott said.

“A few of them are fairly large, a few of them are medium-sized, and then there’s a ton of smaller works,” he added.

It is from this vast cache that much of the work on display at the celebration will come.

In addition to Haskins’ art, the gallery has also been collecting stories and memories from Haskins’ many friends and colleagues to include in the show at the Jeanette Best Gallery.