Wild at Art: Melissa Ball

Melissa Ball is a Pennsylvania outdoor artist who paints on a rather unusual medium, wild turkey tail feathers. Although known for her unique canvas, Ball also paints what she refers to as “flat art.”

Artist’s hometown: Greencastle, Pennsylvania … still live in the same town. (Married to my husband, Jimmy, for 30 years this November… one daughter and three grandchildren)

Inspiration for outdoor/wildlife-related art: My art career sort of happened on accident. When we had our daughter, I painted on odds and ends to be able to work from home, I was asked if I had ever painted on a turkey tail feather. I used one of my husband’s from that spring to give it a try. That particular craft snowballed a bit, continued to grow and led me in the direction of the NWTF. I absolutely love creating art, both on and with, wild turkey feathers. So, basically the feathers themselves have actually been my inspiration since starting to use them as a ‘canvas’ in 1997. About 90% of my painting is done on feathers, but many of my ‘flat art’ paintings have feathers finding their way in as well.

Favorite creation: Favorite creative project … I was asked to paint a Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel featuring various past logos for the WTB Visitors Center in Kentucky. Favorite painting … “Time Out,” the wagon full of lab pups done for the 2004 NWTF Art Program.

Career Highlights

- Won Grand National NWTF Art Contest 2001
- Featured in NWTF National Art Package 12 times since 2002
- NWTF’s ‘Featured Artist of the Year’ 2003
- NWTF’s ‘Stamp Print Artist’ 2005 and 2017
- 2013 First Place Grand National Call Competition ‘Painted’ Division (with Scott Basehore box call)
- Art featured in Bass Pro Shop Rug/Welcome Mat program
- Painting featured in Whitetail’s Unlimited Banquet Package (2019-20)
- Four-time Cover Artist for Pennsylvania Game News 2017, 2019, 2020, upcoming May 2021

For more of Melissa’s work:


Facebook @turkeytailsart (Melissa Ball Feather Painting)

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