Jennifer Gennari

The Joy of Painting Animals and Exploring the Color Palette, with Jennifer Gennari

Jennifer Gennari Painting - The SavvyPainter


When was the last time that you found deep and abiding joy in your artwork? Have you explored the joy of painting animals and pets? Most of you know how excited I am about Trekell’s new Pet Portrait Competition. Guess what? I’ve got the judge for that competition joining me for this episode of the podcast!

Jennifer Gennari is a classically trained figurative artist. She graduated in 2005 from Ringling College of Art and Design and in 2008 left for Italy to study at the Florence Academy of Art where she spent three years abroad studying classical realism. In our conversation, Jennifer opens up about her time at the Florence Academy, how she trained herself to see colors differently, how she views commissioned paintings, and much more.

Florence Academy

I don’t know about you, but for years I dreamt of attending the Florence Academy – so I jumped at the chance to get Jennifer’s insights from her time there. While she was overwhelmed by many aspects of her time at the Florence Academy – drawing was not one of them. Jennifer was able to pull from her rich childhood memory of obsessively drawing the same Disney characters over and over again. When the time came to drawing with charcoal – Jennifer was out of her element – but thankfully that didn’t last long.

Looking at color differently

How did you develop your feel for using color? Did it come easy for you, or did you find the work challenging? I remember one torturous assignment I was given in school where I had to match the color of this massive collage that I had created – the result? I can now match just about any color I encounter! Jennifer’s story is a little bit different – but she also struggled with finding the right way to incorporate color into her artwork.

Painting animals

Some of you love painting animals and pets in particular – if that is you – you’ve got to check out Trekell’s new Pet Portrait Competition. Jennifer got started painting animals when she got tired of painting people. Still wanting to improve her skill at painting skin – Jennifer came up with a great solution – painting hairless cats! From there – Jennifer branched out and starting painting animals with fur and then she started dabbling in commissioned paintings of animals and pets. If you are interested in entering Trekell’s Pet Portrait Competition, make sure to check out the link in the resources section!

Are you a “Sell out” if you create commissioned paintings?

Speaking of commissioned paintings – what is your take? Have you created a commissioned painting? Do you feel like creating commissioned paintings is selling out? I know that many of you have strong feelings about commissioned paintings – but I’d love for you to hear Jennifer out. In her view – commissioned paintings are only as good as the joy and fulfillment you experience creating them. Creating a commissioned painting for someone who has a special connection to animal or pet is what makes the effort worth it. Jennifer only sees creating commissioned paintings as a “Sell out” when the artist is in it exclusively for the money.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:05] I introduce my guest, Jennifer Gennari.
  • [3:10] Jennifer shares her early artistic influences and her first career moves.
  • [9:20] What was it like at the Florence Academy?
  • [16:00] How did Jennifer train herself to see color differently?
  • [30:30] Jennifer talks about why she loves painting animals.
  • [38:00] What is Jennifer’s studio process like?
  • [44:40] Jennifer talks about her color palette.
  • [51:20] Why does Jen always start off with warm colors?
  • [56:00] Commissioned paintings – is it “Selling out?”
  • [1:04:00] What is Jennifer currently obsessed with? What is she working on?

This episode sponsored by:


Do you love your fur babies? Want to win a $1,000 Trekell Gift Certificate? Trekell Art Supplies is running a Pet Portrait Competition! To enter, all you need to do is purchase one of their official Pet Portrait Panels and create your entry on it! All mediums are welcome! Entries must be submitted by August 31st, 2019. For more information, go to

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Jennifer Gennari Painting - Succession

Jennifer Gennari painting

Jennifer Gennari Painting

Jennifer Gennari Painting

Jennifer Gennari Art - Painting

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