Larry Durfey

Holmen artist Larry Durfey will sell 50 of his unique works at an art sale to benefit the Onalaska United Methodist Church Saturday and Sunday.

Larry Durfey, of Holmen, hopes to raise $2,000 for the Onalaska United Methodist Church, during an art sale and fundraiser this weekend.

The 68-year-old artist donated 50 of his framed works, valued at more than $5,000, to be sold for $40 each during the event.

“I wanted to make sure everyone in the church could afford one of them,” he said. “100 percent goes to the church building fund.”

Church office administrator Deb Cowan, said the building fund will eventually pay for upgrades to the church including a new drop off area, lobby, larger more accessible bathrooms, easier access to the lower fellowship hall and additional storage and seating.

Durfey’s artwork blends modern digital imaging with impressionist influences to create something he calls “abstract realism.“

From the across the room, his art could easily be mistaken for a photograph, however, on closer inspection, they more closely resemble impressionist paintings made famous in the mid-1800s.

Most of Durfey’s works aren’t paintings. Instead, most start out as photographs. These pics are transformed through a closely guarded chemical process into a unique print.

According to Durfey, no two prints are the same.

His art has captured the attention of art enthusiasts living throughout the driftless region. His creative works fill galleries in Spring Grove, Tomah, Westby and Reedsburg.

Durfey’s art career began early on. Out of art school, and after returning from Vietnam in 1970, the then 21-year-old went to work as a corporate artist and later a colorist.

It was only recently that he stumbled upon this unique form of art.

He said 2006 his wife Kathy, an art teacher in Sparta, was doing a section on Monet and needed a picture of a water lily to contrast with the well known impressionist’s work.

His first print came out looking more like one of Monet’s works than the photograph he’d intended. At the time he thought nothing of it and made a new print.

Five-years later, Durfey rediscovered that flawed print while cleaning his office.

“I really liked it and enjoyed it,” he said.

Inspired by the print, he spent the next six months attempting to replicate it.

“It took a lot of experimenting,” he said.

After more than half of year, he had his method dialed in. He said the proprietary process takes place during printing.

Durfey said inspiration comes from all around him.

“If you ever see a black Jetta on the side of the road, I’m probably out taking pictures,” he said.

Durfey always has a camera on him wherever he goes.

He said as a student teacher in art school he would dock his students a letter grade if he ever caught them without a camera.

More recently, Durfey has also ventured into wood burning and some painting.

“I don’t like painting,” he said adding his wife often pushes him to pursue it anyway.

Durfey said woodburning has become an escape from the chronic back pain that’s plagued him for years.

“It requires so much concentration you don’t think about the pain,” he said.

Durfey's works will be available to purchase from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Refreshments will be served Sunday afternoon. Durfey will take questions at 1 p.m.

For more information on Durfey visit his online gallery at


Coulee Courier reporter

Tobias Mann is a reporter with the River Valley Media Group. He can be reached at or at 608-791-8216.

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