Artist bio

Rachel Durfee’s richly colored etchings, woodcuts and paper constructions symbolically explore how we can thrive in the gap between life as it is and life as it ought to be. In her work the paradoxical architecture of existence is often populated with disappointment and resentment but also hope and purpose—with a dash of wit. Also a writer, Ms. Durfee composes poems that accompany each piece. Ms. Durfee has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her works are included in private and public collections including the Milwaukee Art Museum, The Vatican, The Warehouse Gallery Shannon Serr Permanent Collection, Wheaton College, the University of Wisconsin, Cornerstone University, Promega Corporation, and Summit Credit Union. She has received several honors for her work as an artist and poet including a First Place Award in 2017 for the print, All That is Kept Within My Heart, in the CIVA (Christians in The Visual Arts) First Fruits traveling juried exhibition, and an Honorable Mention for the poem, Of Many Wings, in the 2020 Wisconsin People and Ideas Poetry Contest. Her work has been published in various publications including her poem, Of Many Wings, in the Wisconsin People and Ideas Magazine in 2021, a feature article about her work in Edge of Faith Magazine in 2018, and this piece, Stand Firm, along with the piece For Those in Captivity are featured in the book, Dwelling with Philippians: A Conversation with Scripture through Image and Word, 2010, Wm. B. Eerdmans and Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, edited by Borger, Detterman, Steele Halstead, and Witvliet. Ms. Durfee received her Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cornell University. She lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, two sons and a 30” x 60” etching press.


Stand Firm


Mixed Media

Artist Statement

At the time I created this piece, I was supporting a friend whose husband was going through a difficult time of anxiety, depression and spiritual struggle. It felt very much like he was up against powers and forces that were fighting to control him; a fight beyond just a medical diagnosis. I remember having these words come into my mind, that he was the battlefield and that my friend was the warrior called to stand and fight on his behalf. I felt God calling me to make a piece about my friend as a warrior, but I didn’t want to make such an image because, as I told God, “I don’t do warrior pictures.” During the weeks that followed, every time I opened the Bible, my eyes would fall on passages about warriors and battle. I eventually landed in Ephesians 6:10-20 and relented to making a piece about a warrior ready for battle.

This piece is a color etching which I printed from one zinc plate, wiped using the à la poupée method of applying various colors to the plate and wiping it to selectively blend or isolate the colors. I then used stencils to roll on layers of colors to the surface of the plate before printing the image on Rives Heavyweight paper.

How it fits into contest

This piece is directly themed on Ephesians 6:10-20. It was created to be a reminder that when we feel weak, we are strong in the Lord who calls us to put on the full armor of God. It is the Lord who enables us to stand firm in the face of the darkness that vies to control us; a darkness that is beyond what we can comprehend. I also reflected on how often I can run out half-dressed to meet the day, forgetting this or that part of the armor. I wanted this piece to be a sort of visual checklist for all the armor parts – what they are and what they do.

In the image, the belt of truth is actually locked around the figure’s waist. The holder of the only key to truth must lock the belt of truth in place. The breastplate of righteousness is placed upon us to guard the heart, which has been captured by hope. This breastplate is represented as one part armor, one part chain maille and one part fishing net. The heart is protected yet still visible behind or within the net. One of our feet is pierced as we follow Christ into His death and suffering and the other foot is clad in a sneaker. The figure stands on a book that reads, “KNOW THAT I AM WITH YOU.” Our feet are clad with the readiness that comes from the certitude that we do not stand alone. This is the good news of peace, that we stand with and upon the One who has already won and will not leave us. We take up the shield of faith with which to extinguish the flaming arrows of deceit and accusations. The shield has the symbols of the Lion of Judah and a crown on it. The flaming arrows of the evil one are being broken against the shield. We put on the helmet of salvation to guard our thoughts and to protect our memory of whose we are. The Spirit flows through the cup, which is literally the lower half of the face and neck, and into our mouths, giving us the words to speak that are the sword of the Spirit for our defense and which are symbolized by the physical sword slicing through the flaming arrows. Our body, fully armored, takes on the form of a bow and arrow. The shoulders are the bow and the legs, torso and head are the arrow. The whole figure is taut in readiness and assurance.

How to Purchase this Artwork

This color etching is part of a limited edition of prints, which I printed by hand. It is available for purchase and retails unframed for $1000. To purchase my work please go to

Other Goods & Services Available from this Artist

To see my entire portfolio of works for sale, please go to my website I am available to exhibit, and to give talks and lectures. For examples of my exhibitions and talks, please go to my website Interested buyers or those wanting to discuss other opportunities and inquiries, please contact Rachel Durfee at

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