Rachel Collins considers herself a realistic painter of nature’s abstract form. Although she grew up in a home in New York State where her mother taught oil painting, design and composition, she did not pursue art on her own until she reached her mid-thirties. By then she had graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in French, obtained a masters degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin, and worked for several years as librarian, archivist and museum curator at the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel.
Upon her return to the States in 1990, an interest in natural science illustration led her to an internship in the Department of Entomology at the Museum of Natural History. But eventually watercolor, originally taken up as a once-a-week hobby in Israel, became her primary medium. Her interest in natural science subjects has continued, but with a fine arts focus. Her work has hung and taken awards in a variety of nationally competitive watercolor exhibits, and she has had solo shows in galleries at art centers, colleges and universities, and other institutions in the Washington, DC area. She has been awarded signature membership in the National Watercolor Society, the Watercolor USA Honor Society, the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Society, Southern Watercolor Society, and the Philadelphia and Baltimore Watercolor Societies, among others. An extensive article about her series of paintings of animal vertebrae appeared in the June 2009 issue of Watercolor Artist magazine.
Rachel Collins is a juried member of the Torpedo Factory Artists Association, and as such paints regularly in her studio in the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA. She teaches classes and workshops in watercolor at The Art League School in Alexandria. From 2003 to 2005 she served as the president of the Potomac Valley Watercolorists, a juried organization of watercolor painters in the metropolitan Washington area, and in 2009 was a co-president of the Virginia Watercolor Society. She has regularly spoken about and given demonstrations of her watercolor approach and technique in the Washington area and elsewhere, mostly notably at the Library of Congress and at the Baha’i Academy for the Arts in England.
Rachel Collins lives with her husband in southeastern Fairfax County, Virginia; they have two adult children. When not involved in painting, Rachel plays the bassoon with the Alexandria Band and various chamber ensembles at Northern Virginia Community College- Alexandria, and currently serves as a member the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Mount Vernon, Virginia.