Evalyn VerHey



I usually begin a painting with a photo or drawing or a collection of photos, and try to interpret what I feel--my emotional response--by using color, texture and creating movement.  I think these three things will create a painting that is neither totally abstract or realistic.  If the viewer responds to the painting, they may share the feelings I had creating the painting.  The paintings I am currently doing are called "Natural Abstracts."  

--August  2017



Making Paintings

     For Evalyn VerHey,  painting is visual music.  She strives for rhythm, movement and colors which can resonate with the viewer on a non-verbal level—she tries to express her feelings regarding the subject she is working on.

    VerHey loads a large brush with paint, leans over her canvas, which is on the floor, and makes short, rhythmic strokes with the brush.  She stops, loads the brush with another color and makes a long flowing stroke across the canvas; then back to short strokes.  She works the entire canvas, creating a feeling of movement.  She works quickly. “I work intuitively and try hard not to spend time analyzing too much.  I would rather start over than fuss around with something     that isn’t working.”

    VerHey was born on the south side of Chicago, the oldest of eight children.  She was raised in a strict Dutch Calvinist community which had its own churches, schools, tradesmen, grocers, etc.  Her childhood schooling did not offer art, so her creative nature was expressed building backyard forts, designing puppets, and sometimes entering missionary scrapbook competitions.

    The first time she associated with people unlike herself was when she took a job at a small coffee shop at age thirteen.  Her family along with others from the Dutch community had moved to the South Chicago suburbs.  At the coffee shop near a hospital where she worked after school, Saturdays, and full time during summers, she met lots of people from other cultures, races, and religions.  This experience changed her life in that she would always be very interested in people from different backgrounds and cultures.

    At age sixteen, VerHey met her future husband, Don, who had recently completed a two-year hitch in the Army and was working as a carpenter in the city.  They were married one week after she turned eighteen.  A year later they had a son, Timothy.

    Evalyn took a job at a Social Security office and traveled to work via train to Hammond, IN every day.  One day, while looking in the station for something to read on the train, she came across a book on the Impressionists and Post Impressionists.  She was totally “hooked,” she says, “and loved that crazy Dutchman VanGogh.”  She was determined to study art and become an artist.  But it would be a while before she could do that.  Don was laid off from his job due to a recession.  The couple decided on Labor Day weekend that Don would attend a small college.  He had a GED diploma and he was allowed in on probation.

    After Don completed two years of college, the couple moved to Grand Rapids Michigan where Don continued his liberal arts education and Evalyn worked full time as a secretary at a large aerospace company.

    After college the family moved to Athens Ohio so that Don could pursue a Ph.D. in English at Ohio University.  They had another baby—a girl—Lorin.  Evalyn worked nights as a banquet waitress at the Ohio University Inn.

    One day at the beginning of a semester, VerHey went to the O.U. Art Department and asked an art teacher who was standing at his door if he would let her audit his art course for free.  The teacher asked VerHey if she was an art major.  She said “No, I’m the wife of a graduate student,” and “tried to look as pathetic as possible.”  He said “Sure, you can audit my class.”

    VerHey was thrilled to finally be in a real Art class and she worked very hard, sometimes staying up until 4 a.m. to work on a project.  “It sometimes was embarrassing though, because I was older and all the students seemed to be experts.”  The teacher gave  her lots of encouragement and worked with her one-on-one.  She learned a great deal that semester; the next semester she took another studio course—this time for credit.

    After Don received his degree, the family moved to Frankfort Kentucky.  Don started teaching at Kentucky State University, and Evalyn began taking classes almost full time.  After graduating with a degree in Art, VerHey was accepted into the MFA program at the University of Kentucky, Lexington.  When she started her degree program there, she was painting large mixed-media canvases with recognizable objects in them.  (Her favorite artist at that point was Rauschenberg.)  Her advisor suggested she try working abstractly on large canvases, which she did.

            After working abstractly using acrylics, VerHey began using canvas in a sculptural way and created objects which hung on the wall.  They were still paintings, but no longer flat.  Her MFA show and thesis was called “Shields and Skins.”

    After getting Her MFA VerHey started working in the Graphics Dept. at KSU as a Designer.  She continued to work on her own artwork and entered competitions and participated in shows, both group and solo.  One of her group shows was an invitational in downtown Chicago, at the MoMing Gallery; she also was chosen for a purchase ward by the Kentucky Arts Commission which was sponsoring a traveling exhibition called “Fresh Paint.”

    Solo exhibitions during this period included shows at Thomas More College in Fort Thomas, KY, The Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, Michigan, and Mama Grisanti’s Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky.  VerHey also participated in national shows like the Marietta National, the Butler Institute National, and the LaGrange National competitions.

    During this time VerHey was represented by the Yvonne Rapp Gallery in Louisville, and she received a review in the Louisville Courier Journal.

    In 1998, Don retired from teaching and the VerHeys moved to central Florida.  Evalyn started teaching Art in middle and high school while taking classes to earn her teaching certificate.  During this period she continued to work on her paintings and regularly entered local competitions, winning several place and merit awards.

    In 2014, she retired from teaching Art at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven, Florida, and has since been working full time in her studio on her paintings.  Her art has gone through many changes over the years.  She is working on semi-abstract landscapes and on a series called “Bridges.”

    In all her paintings, VerHey wants to express the feelings she has about a place or a subject.  She says “Working full time on my art is wonderful.  This is a phase of my life I have looked forward to for a long time.”


“Evalyn VerHey is a fine teacher and a skilled artist. Her draftsmanship is superb, and her visual sense of color and balance is remarkable. I am proud to have several pieces of hers in my collection.”  --Paul Hughes, Dir. Of Fine Arts,                               ASA, Winter Haven, FL

“VerHey’s work is a featured piece in both of my homes.  I have three pieces, and people always comment on the work ask who the artist is.” –Carol DeJong, Chicago

“I have two paintings by Evalyn VerHey; they take me back to another time in my life. Both pieces make a statement and reflect a feeling that I connect with.”—Ms. Allie, Lakeland, FL

Her paintings have a calming effect; they help me take a step back and look at things in a different light; they have enriched my life.”—Illinois Collector


Evalyn VerHey

83 HewLett Drive

Auburndale, FL  33823




The Art Venue gallery. Bloomington, IN

Xanadu Studios

Xanadu Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ




Evalyn Ann VerHey

83 Hewlett Drive, Auburndale, FL  33823



Solo Exhibitions: Arts on the Park, Upstairs Gallery, Lakeland, FL, Fall, 2011

                                      Rapp Gallery, Louisville, KY, 1993

                                      Carnegie Center for the Arts, Three Rivers, MI, 1993

Grisanti’s Restaurant, Louisville, KY,1988

Actors Theatre Downstairs, Louisville, KY, 1987

Thomas Moore College, Ft. Thomas, KY, 1984

MFA Thesis Show, U of Kentucky, Lexington, Nov. 1980

Paul Sawyier Public Library, Frankfort, KY, 1978


Group Exhibitions       ArtPrize International Competition, Grand Rapids, MI, 2015, 2016

&Competitions: Fondren Gallery Summer Show, Jackson, MS, 2016

Lakeland Art Guild, Open Juried Show, Feb. 2015, Lakeland Center

            Ridge Art “Observations,” Winter Haven, FL, Sept. 2014, (BOS)                               

Hamptons Grill, Invitational Group, Auburndale, FL, Jan.09-present

Ridge Art Teacher Invn, Invitational, Winter Haven, FL, 2010 &2011

Winter Haven Airport competition, Aug.09-Jun.10

Arts on the Park Competitions,Lakeland, FL, 2008-2010

Ridge Art Members show, Winter Haven, FL, 2002-2017

Ridge Art Open Competitions, 2001-2015

Louisville Visual Art Association Benefit Invitational, 1991 & 1992

Rapp Gallery Invitational, Louisville, KY, 1989

Butler Institute, 53rd National competition, June 1989

Marietta National competition, OH, 1981

La Grange National competition, GA, 1981

Made-in-Frankfort Invitational, Frankfort, KY, Jan. 1986

Atavism Invitational, MoMing Gallery, Chicago, IL, 1985

Group Invitational, UK Rasdale Gallery, Lexington, 1980

Invitational, Lexington Public Library, Lexington, KY, 1979

Kentucky Arts Commission Traveling Invitational, KY 1980


Awards:                       Best of Show, Ridge Black and White Regional Competition, 11/14

                                      Third Place Award, Ridge Art Black & White show, Nov., 2012

Honorable Mention, Ridge Art,  Sept. 2012, 2016

Award of Excellence, Ridge Art Renovations show, 2010, 2016

2nd Place, Ridge Art Black & White show, 2002

Cash Design Award for The Kentuckian, University of KY, 1978

Guest Lecturer, KSU, Frankfort, KY, 1977

Purchase Award, Kentucky Arts Commission, 1976

Purchase Award, Kentucky State University Student Show, 1978

Gallery Rep:           The Art Venue Gallery, Bloomington, IN

                                  Xanadu Studios, Xanadu Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

            Represented by Yvonne Rapp Gallery, Louisville, KY, 1993-98                                         


Collections:                  Alice Gilbertson, Lakeland, FL;;

                                      Kentucky Arts Commission; Kentucky State University;

                                      Col. And Mrs. Cliff Taylor, Florida; Harry Blinderman, Florida;                                                               Drs. Anne and Richard Hiskes;

                                      Kurt Vonnegut, CT; Jason Miller, Indiana; Bill Graham, Kentucky;

                                Nedra Lundberg, Kentucky; Mr. and Mrs. John Hogan, Illinois;

                                Mr. and Mrs. Gayeski, Illinois; Carol Dejong, Illinois;

Carol Brown, California; Anne Tyler, California; Mr. and Mrs. Kubasiak

Mr. and Mrs. King, Lakeland, FL, Illinois; Carole Causey, Florida;

several, names unknown, Florida


EDUCATION:        University of Kentucky, MFA, Lexington, KY, 1980

                                Kentucky State University, BS, Frankfort, KY, 1978

                                 Ohio University, Athens Ohio, 1971-72

                                      Florida Teaching Certificate (Art K-12), 2001





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