By DeAnn Lubell

Melissa Battersby, an internationally renowned artist who lives in Palm Desert, doesn’t do anything small scale.  That includes her daring, colorful abstract paintings; her masterful concert piano skills; and her rise from child golf protégé to golf professional.  All of this, and the fact that she is a compassionate, kind human being, as well.

Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Melissa grew up in a disciplined household with five gifted brothers.  She was playing Bach by ear by the age of three and accepted into a music institute at five on a full scholarship.  Observers were astounded to hear her play Bach’s work without being able to read a single note of music.  By the time she entered her teenage years, Melissa had been accepted by the famous Julliard School of Music; however, she declined.  The thought of spending her life indoors practicing the piano was not appealing to the young girl.

Her love of golf was slightly stronger over her future as a concert pianist.  At thirteen years old she focused on the sport that would eventually lead her to receive a full golf scholarship at 17.  She joined the Golf Digest teaching program and taught independently around the world for ten years, becoming one of the few teaching professionals endorsed by Callaway.


By now, you are probably wondering where her passion for art comes into play.

When Melissa discovered art, both the piano and golf were gently, but not entirely set aside.  She fell in love with the liberation of creating large sized paintings with just her hands covered in oil paints that mimic nature from the cooling azure of morning skies; the rich hues of garden flowers; and the brilliance of jewel-colored feathers of hummingbirds.  Yes, very few paintbrushes for this free-spirited artist, who usually paints naked in her backyard.  Why?  It makes Melissa feel one with nature.  Nature inspires this amazing woman of many talents.  Her seductive works of art require layer after layer of thoughtful blended colors.  The intensity of Melissa’s artwork overwhelms us with power.  The composition flows, swirls, and waves across the canvas.  The more the observer focuses on the oceans of blues and greens, sunsets of golds and oranges, and volcanic throats of deep rich reds – the more they feel like morphing into the heart and soul of each unique creation.

I certainly know the feeling firsthand.  I am the proud owner of one of these magnificent, disarming masterpieces.  I received it as a birthday gift years ago from my late husband, Lee Ames.  It is not a timid piece.  It’s bold; it’s big; and it’s loud.  Its enticing inferno aura is overwhelming. Melissa had named it Blustering.  Because of my long fascination with volcanoes, especially the one I write about in my historical novel The Last Moon – I renamed it Lava.  Stare at it long enough and you are whisked into a cavern of flowing molten lava.

Melissa Battersby art can be viewed at 

Studios: Palm Desert Winter/ Pioneertown Summer.