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Northern Nevada gives great barn.

The question for painters is, should we paint them? Barns are cliches. (And this. A Red barn. Sheesh.)

This particular barn sits at the very foot of the Sierra Nevada, where the land turns from granite to riparian wetland. It's the coolest barn ever. Still functioning, full of hay for the winter.

Here's the challenge: paint the barn without painting a cliche. Even the actual red of the red barn is part of that thought process. Since you were five, your brain has filled in the blanks when someone says "red barn". But here's a moment to challenge your assumptions about red barns. Maybe the most glorious part of that painted wood is the deep shadows etched between the planks. Those could be an inky black-green.

This barn also has rough, whitewashed stonework at its foundation. I can almost feel how much fun it would be to pile on the paint with a palette knife, and build those stones. Is the white-painted granite masonry the real story of this barn?

Then there is the cool blue of the metal roof. It's blue because it's reflecting the wind-scoured, cobalt blue high desert sky. Maybe that's all this barn has to say: my roof reflects the sky.

Right now, there is a snowstorm wildly blowing on the high peaks above this barn. Is that what interests me about the barn? The juxtaposition of this tidy ranch with the unruly blizzard raging just over its head?

Heres' the thing. The barn is not a barn, it's many barns. It's many stories. It's many paintings. You could make this one barn your life's work, and not run out of subject matter.

Heck yeah, I'm going to paint the barn.

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