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About Portraits by Colleen




C olleen Rudolf has a background in sculpture, photography, painting, drawing and is a hopeful explorer of new media. Born 1981 in New York City, Colleen earned her undergraduate degree from Skidmore College in 2003 with departmental honors in Fine Art. After three years of traveling and working in various fields, she decided to focus on her creative work by pursuing a graduate degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Upon graduating in 2008, she was awarded the Fellowship Juried Prize honorable mention and the Justine Cretella Memorial Scholarship.

I began making portraits of shelter animals after grad school as a way to keep my hand and eye working together. During my time at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, I volunteered at the PSPCA (Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) photographing the shelter dogs and cats and uploading their images and bios to online platforms. I've always been drawn to the forms and expressions of animals, so I started drawing and painting from the hundreds of photographs I had taken. Feeling overwhelmed by the endless stream of new faces and personalities that arrived at the shelter daily, I hoped that the portraits would honor these creatures and call attention to their situation and demeanor; that I saw them valuable enough to paint or draw might make others start to pay attention to them too.
After graduation, I volunteered with the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, where I witnessed the potential of dogs to perform search and rescue tasks. I also visited with programs like Hand to Paw and New Leash on Life, which demonstrated the healing power dogs and cats can have for humans.

The human animal bond has implications for more expansive topics such as evolution, behavioral and cognitive science and cross species communication and adaptation. A large motivation for PortraitsByColleen is to facilitate and encourage education about animal behavior. It is through understanding and compassion that we can truly honor the spirit of all other creatures.

Please visit https://www.colleenrudolf.com/ for additional sculpture, drawings and paintings.

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