Accidental painter: ‘Something switched & I was completely addicted’

A west Madison woman had earned her degree in psychology and had several career starts and sputters before a misguided gift put her on the painting path.


Adriana Willsie said her then-boyfriend gave her a paint set for Christmas five years ago, explaining to her that she could get back into the art form.

But Willsie said she had never picked up a brush before, and she’s not sure where he got the idea. A couple weeks later she did pick up the gifted brush and 7 hours later, she’d painted a picture of her boyfriend, who’s now her husband.

Years later, Willsie now paints for a living, and her subjects are most often people’s beloved critter companions: Painting pet portraits.

For more information about Willsie’s art, visit