Bay Area Stairways

Hundreds of secret stairways lead up and down the hills of the San Francisco Bay Area. From them you can spot alleyways, rooftops, and backyard nooks, and take in cityscapes and sweeping views. My stairway paintings travel along these paths, carving them out with crooked angles, curves, light and shadow, and warm, happy colors. 

In the spirit of Picasso and David Hockney, these works explore how to paint the journey of a city walk. They show a stairway not as if the viewer were staring at it from just one point—an artificial view—but as we experience it: walking up the path, looking left, looking right, glancing back down; taking in the broad view, and admiring each petal on a flower. 

The series combines my delight in the playfulness of stairways—their ups and downs and curves and turns—with a keen interest in how to depict that play on a two-dimensional surface. Some paintings travel up a stairway from the bottom to top of a highly vertical panel; others travel downwards on the stairway but upwards on the panel; and some travel both up and down. The most recent painting, Tompkins Steps, uses a horizontal format to explore multiple views and perceptions of the same stairway.