Bailey’s "seven steps" is a unique piece of art; it combines both sculptural elements and painterly to stress the artist’s point of view and invite viewer’s reactions. At the center of the painting is a clearly perceptible image of two African children (a boy and a girl) against a marching background. The admirable image of the children sharply contrasts the paucity of the craftsmanship of the art work. The girl is one step higher than the boy, and this is necessary because it represents the artist’s seven step message. This piece is classical, not just because of the combination of sculpture and paint, but also because Bailey carefully balances it. The combination of colors and styles wraps numerous messages into one. However, what is attractive is the artist's well thought use of texture, line, color, shape as well as a movement to capture the viewer’s attention and communicate in a clear manner.
At the right is a ladder that has seven steps. The ladder is in three dimensions, almost appearing like a sculpture to give the entire composition a touch of realism. It is a representation of the steps that people go through in life. It sends a message of the hardship of life, especially for the African child. There is a mixture of different colors. For some reason, the yellow does not look quite as yellow as it might. Though there is no shortage of yellow, it does not dominate as one would expect. It occupies quite a large patch and a number of blue, brown and grey patches counterbalance it. Bailey balances the use of primary and secondary colors to compose a well thought image that not only adds beauty but also captures the viewers’ attention
Bailey’s image is a composition of repeated shapes (rectangles), to reduce monotony and add attractiveness. Each rectangle is a composition of different colors that overlap. There is no definite transition between colors and this contributes to its appeal. While it is difficult to use different colors without a definite transition, Bailey appears to be a master of this style. The shapes neither overlap nor appear to be arranged in any pattern. This makes the whole composition to appear like a mere combination of rectangles without a clear motive. This destroys the general appeal of the entire composition. Also punctuating the art work is a combination of lines and dots. The lines form the shapes while the dots complete the shapes to create appeal.
Bailey uses a dripping paint alongside the lines and color to add appeal to the image. The dripping paint contributes to the overall image of the composition by counterbalancing the colors. Therefore, the artist uses the paint to counter the dominance of a single element: the color. The dripping paint, together with the dry leaves add to the texture of the entire composition. The texture contributes to the aesthetic touch of the final composition as it adds an indispensable appeal hence capturing the viewer’s attention. The ladder has a number seven at the top, and it represents the pathway to success. Additional to this, the ladder compliments the title of the composition and helps to drive the message home.
In conclusion, this piece is an impressive art work that is both appealing and educative. It is a symbolic representation of the life of a child and the journey toward success. As an art work, this piece is a success. Bailey combines various elements to produce a product that represents both theory and history in a unique way. It serves its purpose as a piece of work and a representation of the history, and, as such, deserves its place in history.