What does a plastic surgeon do after he retires? He takes up painting. How does a mother of six with one grandchild find time for herself? She takes art classes. Meet Deming Payne and Stephanie Battaglia.
Payne was a plastic surgeon for 30 years in Hinsdale. After 30 years transforming bodies, he now spends his time transforming 140-pound, cold-press paper. Stephanie Battaglia is a Hinsdale resident who always had an interest in creating art, but not necessarily the time to pursue it. The Hinsdale Center for the Arts gave both aspiring artists an opportunity to pursue a creative hobby and the tools to improve their skills. The HCA is featuring their work in an exhibit called, "The Center of Our Imagination" which includes the oil, acrylic, watercolor and charcoal creations of 22 of the center's students.
Deming Payne grew up in upstate New York. After completing his residency in general surgery, he became an Air Force surgeon. It was during this time that he became interested in plastic surgery, after reconstructing a young girl's nose. He came to Hinsdale in 1976 after he had completed his training. "Both of my brothers are doctors and were living here, and I came to visit them. I was so impressed with how friendly the staff was at Hinsdale Hospital that I made one of those 3 a.m. decisions."
Payne started taking art classes after he retired. "I love color. I started painting with acrylics, but switched to watercolor. I like the transparency and like the look and texture of the paper to come through," said Payne. He has taken four classes at HCA, starting about a year ago. This is his first art show, and two of his watercolors are on display. "Catching the Bus" features a young woman, suitcase in hand, and "Perfect Landing" shows three mallard ducks coming in for a landing through the night sky.
Payne said there are a lot of similarities between the career to which he devoted decades and his new hobby. "With reconstructive surgery, I had to visualize my work. I would perform a mental rehearsal before surgery. Art lends itself to the same process."
Hinsdale resident Stephanie Battaglia is known as the "Art Lady" at Madison School, where she volunteers her time to teach art. She herself started drawing classes at HCA six years ago and switched to painting classes three years ago. "Taking the classes forces me to take the time to paint. This class makes me paint and makes me stretch," said Battaglia.
"I wish I had more time to paint and teach. I love giving back to the kids," said Battaglia. Although most of her painting is done in class, she makes time for paint nights with her two grade-school-aged daughters.
Battaglia has been encouraged to sell her work, but she is more interested in painting for the love of it and gives away her work. Her oil painting on canvas entitled "Grandma and Grandpa Battaglia on the Farm," is currently on display at the student art exhibition. The painting, however, is not for sale. "I couldn't sell my in-laws," she said.
All of Battaglia's paintings feature her husband's 120-acre family farm in Green Lake, WI. A recent painting of a farmhouse she did was featured at a show on Sept. 11 at Salt Creek Wine Bar in Brookfield, where Battaglia and seven others from her painting class displayed their work. Stephanie has lived in Hinsdale for more than 14 years and has two daughters, four stepchildren and one grandchild.