Preview The Book
The Woman Behind the Cover Painting
by Kathryn Finegan Clark
Lower Ferry Road
pulled back and tucked under a baseball cap, eyes sparkling with excitement
behind big round glasses, Trish Vergis talked about the consuming love of
her life—oil painting. “It’s very soothing to paint—to see the product of
your efforts every day,” she said.
In some ways, the
Frenchtown artist has followed in the footsteps of 19th century
artist Edward Hicks, famous for his primitive Peaceable Kingdom paintings. Both
were born in Langhorne, although nearly two centuries apart, and both once
earned their living as sign painters.
apprenticed to a coach builder where he learned to paint signs. Other than that,
he had no formal art training; still he became one of America’s most beloved
Vergis, on the
other hand, is a trained artist and takes an academic approach to her works
which range from Delaware River Valley landscapes to appealing still lifes of
avocados. She learned strong basic painting techniques while she was earning
her bachelor of arts in economics at Ursinus College.
Clouds after the Rain
Looking back to
her childhood, she said, “I don’t remember not having a paint brush.” But she
does recall being constantly criticized for her lack of attention--at the Grey
Nun Academy in Yardley, by her dance teacher and by her parents. “They didn’t
realize I was just watching the pictures on what I called the built-in
television in my head,” she explained.
After college, she
studied with Frenchtown sculptor Martin P. McNulty and for years painted and
carved signs at her own popular Chisel & Quill Studio in Frenchtown, which she
opened in 1990.
“They were my
jobs—all that time I worked as a waitress, working odd jobs for furniture
makers, advertising agencies, house painters and carpenters as a wood carver, as
a sign carver. They helped pay the bills during that time of my life —but my
goal was always to be an artist.”
While she was
doing all that she took advantage of the Delaware Valley’s amazing artistic
resources—courses at Bucks County Community College, Pennsylvania Academy of the
Fine Arts and at the Frenchtown studio of Frank Accuri. “He really helped me
develop as a painter,” she said.
Workshops at the
Art Colony in Stockton and Artsbridge programs and the influence of painters,
such as Ty Hudanish and Dot Bunn, she said, “fuel my creative fire.”
together of Vergis’s artistic skills and the business acumen she had picked up
along her path led to the opening of Love of Art, her oil painters academy,
gallery and store at 4 Race Street in Frenchtown. She and her husband, Pieter
Dykstra of Dream Green, which provides tree, shrub and turf care, live upstairs.
features the paintings of John Kane, Eric Sutphin, Lisa Hickey and Jim Lukens,
as well as her own works. She teaches oil painting there and sells oil
painting supplies. “My students re-charge me,” she said.
Her paintings are
also on display at Bucks Coffee Shop in Frenchtown and Michelyn Galleries in