Every Picture Tells a Story: Orem father paints family history

Larry D. Macfarlane spends a few weeks — or sometimes a few months —on each painting.

Larry D. Macfarlane spends a few weeks — or sometimes a few months —on each painting.

As told by Kate Nash

Larry D. Macfarlane has had a passion for art his entire life — but he was too busy as a communications exec and professor to pursue it seriously. Then 10 years ago, his brushes became his communication tool of choice. Now in his 70s, Larry wakes at 4 a.m. to oil paint. His specialty is depicting the memories of others, such as their childhood homes.

My work is to create family history in artistic form. Most of the time my clients bring in a photograph for me to re-create. On a few occasions, when a photograph is not available, I spend time talking to relatives and piecing together the memories of several family members to get the scene as close as possible to the original imagery.

I love creating visual representations of memories that people can hang on their wall and remember every day. It’s emotional and fulfilling. Photographs are wonderful, but often they are buried in an album.

It’s interesting to see what objects people attach memories to. I’ve painted everything from an old pickup truck to an orchard to a pet.

I had plans to pursue a livelihood in art before switching my focus to communications in college. I started my career as a copywriter and went on to work in corporate communications in New York, Colorado and Arizona.

When the BYU Department of Communications wanted to bring in a professor with industry experience, they called me. After teaching at the Provo campus for a few years, I took a job at Nu Skin where I served as vice president of corporate communications. I did that for a while and then returned to teaching. After that, I decided to take my appreciation for art and turn it into action.

I saw some paintings by a local landscape artist Kimbal Warren. I loved his work and found out he lived not far away in Mapleton. I studied with him and began painting for friends and family.

When you have passion for something, it never leaves you. My love for art was always there, and now I get to focus on it.

I admire the work of many local artists including Gary Kapp from Provo as well as Valoy Eaton and Robert Duncan from Midway. Their work is seen throughout my home.

My wife, Nancy, and I met at Utah State and have been married for 51 years. We have four boys, three of whom live nearby. I love living in my quiet neighborhood in Orem, being close to family and pursuing my passion for painting every morning. λ


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