After earning a BA in Psychology at UC Irvine, I began studying photography. Immediately enthralled by the ‘wet’ darkroom process, I started working extensively with the black and white medium. My first teacher was Barbara Kasten. The first lecture I ever attended was given by Ansel Adams. I was hooked!
Photography quickly became my way of discovering, exploring and relating to the world. Using my camera to capture illusions of reality on film by utilizing the raw purity of black and white photography was intrinsic to the work. I explored a myriad of ideas using different photographic techniques (infrared film, solarizations, unique perspective, close-ups, self portraits, etc.).
Wanting to find a way to enrich my images with “a little special something,” I began to focus my efforts on hand-coloring. I found that this century-old technique supplied my work with that surreal edge that I had been seeking. Hand painting techniques allowed me to amplify the mystique and intrigue of a particular scene, enhancing the emotional and spiritual content of the image with the paint, primarily oil applied with cotton and Q-tips.
Another aspect of my work was that I printed all my images full-frame, displaying the edge of the negative in the final print. The significance of this is that I did not do any cropping other than with my camera while I was out shooting my film. It was fascinating to be fully aware of what I had in that 35mm field of vision.
As I delved deeper and deeper into the dreams that lay in the back of my mind, I experimented with heavy oil paint application, using techniques acquired through the teachings of Holly Roberts. Most are done on self portraits, resulting in a cathartic experience as they evolve and create themselves during the painting process.
Employment as a professional photo retoucher in San Francisco, working as an intern at The Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and participating in various workshops contributed to my photographic art. My work has been exhibited in galleries and has received numerous awards. The opportunity to teach photography at a private high school in Albuquerque took me to New Mexico in the fall of 1996. After three intense, rewarding years of teaching, my desire to pursue my art more full-time led me to Colorado in the year 2000.
As the world of photography changed radically with the advent of digital imagery, I resisted the switch over. In 2007 I began to reinvent myself as an artist and shifted focus. Having worked with oil paint for many years, it was a natural evolution to extend my oil painting techniques to a blank canvas. My most recent series involves mixed media and collage, using vintage photographs to tell a story.
For more info and to connect with Padgett on the web, please be sure to visit PadgettMcFeely.com and/or SalidaArtist.com.