Artist Spotlight: Lisa Battles

Lisa Battles is a friend and coworker who I had the pleasure of spotlighting this month! I’ve seen her edible candy mice and frog cupcakes for special occasions and received a glass she painted this past Christmas. She’s one of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever met, and I’m excited to introduce her work to our awesome readers.

Be sure to check out her Etsy Wineglass store, and show some love!

Materials used: Wine glasses, water-based acrylic enamel, rubbing alcohol to prep the glass, variety of tiny paint brushes, wine (optional).

Raven glass - Lisa Battles
Yours truly. My awesome Christmas present last year!

1. Where did the idea to paint glasses come from?

About 10 years ago, my sister, Lana, gave me a set of four glasses she bought from a novelty company. Each glass was pre-painted with a woman – a blonde, a brunette, a redhead and a dark brunette. I still have three; I broke the blonde while washing it, unfortunately. I decided to paint a more customized redhead on a glass for one of my favorite redheads, Courtney Hodge Evans, for her birthday one year. She kept it for six or seven years, and then sent me a text around Thanksgiving 2014 that after keeping her glass for so many years, she’d accidentally broken it. I asked her to take a clear photo of it, and I’d paint a replacement for it. I did, and since it was almost Christmas, I thought that would be a fun gift idea for many of my girlfriends for holiday gifts, birthday gifts and hostess gifts. So I ended up painting at least a dozen for friends over the holiday season. People loved them, and I had several friends tell me I should sell them. So I did. I set up an Etsy shop early in 2015. So far, including those holiday gifts and several orders, I have painted about 40 different glasses and have about a dozen in the works right now.

2. What is your favorite glass?

I don’t really have a favorite; I like them all for different reasons. That’s probably because I have mostly painted these for friends, and when I feel like I have captured the personality of someone I love already, that makes me love the little portrait as an extension of that. I have done a few for people I’ve never met, and I feel like I have kind of gotten to know the person (and sometimes their pets!) just from studying their photos so much. Even though they are more time-consuming, I think I like doing sets. Seeing the “interaction” of a mom and siblings, groups of best friends, etc. all lined up is really funny to me, especially after a couple of glasses of wine. I gathered together many of the Christmas gift glasses while I had them all together on my table, and it was almost surreal to see so many people I knew “looking back at me” in one spot. If I HAVE to pick, I think the set of draft glasses depicting my Dad and his former law enforcement partner Bill Rhegness in the early 1980s during a spoof Olan Mills shoot may be my favorite. I did a set for Bill at his request, and then of course, Dad wanted a set, so I replicated them. My Dad has been courageous and determined fighting the effects of treatment for Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), an aggressive and usually fatal type of brain cancer, the past two years, and Bill has been up to visit him several times during this time. Giving the two of them a laugh over those glasses was rewarding.

Lisa Battles glass
Lisa’s dad and former law enforcement partner Bill Rhegness.

3. Are there any famous people you want to paint glass for?

Dad and Bill were pretty well-known for their detective shenanigans in North Alabama! HA … I guess anyone with a colorful or unusual look would be fun — Johnny Depp would have a lot of accessories. But seriously, I can’t think of anyone in particular. A friend who was a music idol to me when I was a teenager in the 1990s ordered a glass with his band’s album cover on it, which I thought was cool of him to order. We were both pleased with how it turned out. I probably put in more hours on that one than any because it was more of a graphic thing to replicate than a photo interpretation. I have another order in the hopper from a different band, but don’t know how soon I will get around to doing them. They will be on beer glasses and pretty cute when I finish them.

4. You have lots of art projects, what are a couple of your favorites?

I enjoy painting the most, whether it’s on wine glasses, beer glasses, a canvas, a piece of wood or whatever. I also prefer this kind of untrained, caricature-type painting, where you can take liberties with how true-to-life it has to look. I have always enjoyed painting and drawing as much as I have writing, at as early an age as I could do any of them. The difference is that while I am excellent about studying, knowing and following rules in writing, I have the opposite opinion about having rules in art. That is probably why I have always preferred to keep it as a hobby and didn’t pursue it as a career: When you have to do something to pay your bills, sometimes you find yourself having to follow rules set by others instead of going with your heart. Keeping it just as an outlet gives me one of few things in life that’s still 100 percent enjoyable to me, because it’s something with which I can do whatever I want and however I want to do it. That luxury seems to get rarer as you get older.

Lisa Battles glass
These pets are the size of a dime or smaller.

5. Do you have any advice for other creative types?

I used to think it was a compliment when people would say, “You are so creative. I am not at all.” I still believe the first part of that is intended as a compliment, but I make sure to ask them to think a minute about that second part. I believe that everyone is “creative” with art if they make any piece of art just for the sake of creating it or expressing themselves. If your artistic expression comes out as four crooked lines in different colors you chose, to me that’s your artistic expression for the moment. In other words, I just don’t think there’s a way to “do it wrong” if you’re creating for the sake of creating and not trying to pass yourself off as some virtuoso. While I definitely see the value in people studying art to understand design principles and the work of great artists throughout history, I don’t think the more formal approach to art should scare people away expressing themselves artistically. Unfortunately, I think it does. Creating art can be fun, whether you are “great” at it or not. It doesn’t have to be a competition. If you have fun creating art, then you are creative.

 

If you’d like to contact Lisa for a glass, feel free to visit the shop, or leave a comment below!

 

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