"But For a Small Moment" by David Dibble
60 X 96 in.
"This painting is about hope amidst deep trials. The piece itself was the largest canvas I’ve worked on, and at 5’x 8’ it was a technical challenge just to paint that big (and in a small studio) and still have it feel fresh and alive. I find that most of my painting, especially this large, happens while I’m standing six feet back from the canvas and staring at it, making mental adjustments and trying to keep the entire composition a cohesive whole rather than getting stuck in the details. Then I walk up to the canvas and apply paint vigorously for a few strokes or minutes. Then back up again and analyze. Back and forth, back and forth, until the painting is saying what I want it to say.
"The original scene for this piece was a farm I found in Wisconsin during a painting trip in January of 2020. It was an extremely cold winter and I had gone to the “Driftless Region” of the state specifically because of the reputation for amazing farms. I found this barn towards the end of a day driving along backroads and not really having a plan other than stop wherever I could find a good farm, which in this area happened to be about every ½ mile. I digitally altered the reference to be stormier than it was the day I saw it, feeling it was thematically stronger.
"The title of this piece “But for a Small Moment” is scriptural and comes from a time when God was seeking to reassure his people. To tell them that though life was hard, it wouldn’t always be so; that there is hope in redemption. On one level this painting is about farming and the challenges facing farmers as they see once-thriving heritage farms empty and languishing in debt because of various economic and social factors. On a deeper level it is a metaphor for times that we all pass through. An alternate title for this piece could well be “Empty”; the barn is empty, the trough is empty, the corral is empty, the landscape is empty. Even the sign facing away from the viewer most likely proclaims a ‘Dead End’. The only shred of hope comes from the light streaming through a break in the clouds. There are certainly those times when either we or the circumstances around us feel empty and void, where we’re unsure of how we can possibly move forward. But there is also the potential for divine moments when, if we’ll look, we can find reassurance that these circumstances are not permanent. That what was once only anguish can be filled with light and made beautiful." - David Dibble