Why I Paint Barns Barns tell stories and they speak to me. They speak of history, of time past, of labor; they speak of directed purpose and association - with the cattle, chickens, horses, the hay, the tractors, rakes and pitchforks that sheltered in them - going back to America's roots. Their speech is plain but clear Their stories vary but at their core they reflect honesty. history, and labor. And it's not just the boards and beams, barns are the projection screen of the land, the sky, sun, clouds, rain storms, and hills.