Michael McWillie grew up in Texas. After receiving a BFA in Painting from University of Texas at Austin in 1974, McWillie began a career in art, which led him to Los Angeles five years later, where he did one year's post-graduate work at UCLA.
Continuing to paint for his own satisfaction, McWillie meanwhile became Senior Art Director for Diener, Hauser, Bates Inc., the world's largest entertainment advertising agency. Here he helped create ad campaigns for Paramount and Columbia Pictures before becoming Senior Art Director of the CBS Television account.
On his own again, McWillie started McWillie Design, an advertising and design company, in 1982. As an Art Director he was a leader in inventing the visual look used in the marketing and packaging of the then new industry of Home Video for such prestigious clients as TriStar Columbia Home Video and Warner Home Video. McWillie has continued to paint, developing his own unique vision. McWillie now lives on a horse ranch in Parker, Texas. His place to paint is now his barn; Magritte, Monet, Chaplin and Hopper are among his current influences.
McWillie's work has been most widely seen in a recent National Museum Tour of one-person shows at the Red River Valley Museum, The Wichita Falls Museum and Art Center, The Laredo Children's Museum, The Museum of the Southwest, The San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, Northwood University, The Nave Museum, The Cultural Arts Center in Gadsden, Alabama, ARTStation Museum in Georgia, The Irving Arts Center in Texas and Northwood University in Michigan.
The American Humane Association has selected a McWillie painting for its upcoming “Adopt A Dog” month international campaign. It is now available as a signed and numbered limited edition print.
McWillie is most renowned for his commission from The White House to paint The First Dog, the now famous Scottish Terrier, Barney. The painting is now hanging in First Lady Laura Bush's office in The White House.