I've been walking the beaches of Western Michigan for over 20 years, admiring the dunes and the sea and sometimes contemplating the long, meandering stairways people build from their homes down to the beach. I still don't know exactly what it is that grabs me about these stairways. They seem to hold a secret memory of anticipation, storing every footfall in their wooden steps from every family that ventures down for a day at the beach. It's the nostalgia of carefree summer fun, but also the mystery of strangers never met. And the houses... Who lives there? Where do they come from? Where are they now? Empty houses, most of them. Summer houses, vacant, waiting for the next family. The stairs, silent, brooding, except in summer months when footsteps, young and old echo up and down these old treads.
The Stairway pictures are paintings that I created in my Macintosh computer. They are created with the computer as a tool, by me. Each painting takes a month or more to create. For this series, the original images (the printing plates) are digital files residing in my Macintosh computer. Each line and each color are meticulously applied layer by layer with digital pen or mouse much like a traditional printmaker would scratch lines and textures with a stylus on copper for etching plates.
But the pictures, not the technique, are the stars of this show. I’ve been working on this series for many years in an effort to capture these stairs and their hidden stories. The stairs, I've learned, are one of the most unique features of the West Michigan landscape. It is my hope that some of these pictures will evoke in the viewer the same feelings of nostalgia and mystery that they do in me.