Watermill painting tutor Janie Pirie


Jennifer Polillo

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Painting by watermill tutor Jennifer Polillo

Summer Lilac, en plein air

Oil on canvas: : 8” x 8”

Inspired by the shape of the square bottle, I plucked some fresh flowers and set up on my back deck to capture the afternoon light. I reserved the detail for the foreground objects and let the trees in the background just become a general mass of dark colour.

Painting by Jennifer Polillo a tutor at the watermill in Italy

Wilmington Skyline

Oil in canvas: 12” x 12”

The Dupont Environmental Education Center is of my favorite places to paint in my area because of the variety of views it offers of the city skyline, train trestle, and wet land vistas. Here, the wispy clouds caught my eye and compelled me to spend the afternoon with them.

Painting tutor at the watermill in Italy Jennifer Polillo

Backyard Cow Skull with flowers

Acrylic on paper: 8” x 11”

I sometimes refer to my backyard as a jungle because of the abundance of greenery and wildlife. This composition integrates a still life set up alongside the generous variety of greens. The dappled light that flickered through the trees begged to be painted and draws the eye into the painting and down the path.

Painting tutor Jennifer Polillo at the watermill in Italy

Puff and Associates

Oil on canvas: 11” x 14”

The owner of this beautiful brick Victorian building approached me at an art fair while I was painting, and commissioned this piece. Unlike the other paintings depicted here, this was painted from photo reference, which allowed me to capture the afternoon light while working in the studio

Course dates

Course Completed


Acrylics/gouache and oils

Jennifer Polillo has a Certificate of Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and BFA from the University of Pennsylvania. She has received numerous awards including the Linda Lee Alter award and Historic Yellow Springs award for Landscape painting, the Juror's award for excellence at The Rehoboth Art League's 3rd Biennial Juried Exhibition, and most recently took First and Second place in New York Center for Photographic Art International Call for Entry, SEASONS.

Jennifer has taught various ages and abilities in public and private institutions for over 15 years and is regularly a contract teaching artist for the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, Brandywine River Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Newark Art Alliance, and Cecil County Community College.

Artistic statement

Jennifer says: “I have always known that I wanted to be an artist, even as a young child. Ever since my first crayon masterpiece, the act of creating has had me captivated and is as necessary to sustaining my life as breathing.

During my studies, I began taking on commission work as well as found my love for teaching. As a commission portrait artist, there is something magical for me about the moment a painting takes on a life of its own, when I'm looking into eyes staring back at me. A second extraordinary thing happens when the buyer relates to the work on a deeply personal level. That's the point where my life experiences, my subject, and the viewer cross paths, converging in the painting. As an art instructor, I am constantly reminded of my love for the process of creating, and watching my students discover their hidden talents excites and continuously motivates me.

My personal painting style is deeply rooted in the classical realist tradition of the European Academy. I have a true love of painting from life and en plein air, as I am inspired by the subtle nuances and impressionist ideals of color, light, and atmosphere. Recently, I have been building upon my classical foundation and experimenting with more contemporary ideas and media to create an implied narrative infused with elements of psychology, surrealist imagery, and pushing impressionist ideals. The diverse subject matter in my work, which is comprised of landscape, the human figure, and still life, is unified by my commitment to the exploration of composition, color, and light."

Jennifer’s course at The Watermill

While painting on location with Jennifer, you will learn how to carefully observe your surroundings and then translate what you see into the language of paint. She will guide both beginners and more seasoned painters to deepen their understanding of colour, value, clarity, and composition through the process of working en plein air.

Jennifer says: “My objective is to support and guide you towards uncovering your own creative potential, while along with the hospitality of the Watermill, giving you the best painting experience possible.”

Praise from Jennifer’s students

Aside from her outstanding credentials, Jennifer Polillo is an exceptional teacher. She uses her people skills to have each student produce work beyond any limits they place on themselves. She is a happy person whose laughter alleviates any stress one may feel in the classroom. Jennifer brings out the best from each person. She is not a one size fits all instructor. She does an excellent job having each person be able to individualize what they produce in a style they are comfortable with.” RT

“I consider myself privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Jennifer Polillo. Jen was inspirational and confident in her teaching style, as well as warm and engaging. I would jump at the chance to work with her again.” JB

“Jennifer Polillo is an amazing artist, but also a wonderful teacher of art. Jennifer knows just exactly how to teach her students. She has what I would describe as perfect teaching methods. She is most patient, understanding of the beginner student and gives individual instructions, showing one just how to go about accomplishing a particular aspect of drawing and painting. Jennifer is most encouraging and I would definitely recommend her to my friends who are looking for an art instructor.” AC