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Trisha Vergis... The Woman Behind the Cover Painting

by Kathryn Finegan Clark

Lower Ferry Road

Dark hair 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. 

Hicks was 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 folk artists.

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

Christopher kayaking

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.”

The coming 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.

Alley Frenchtown

Water's Edge

Her gallery 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 Doylestown.    

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