You may call my paintings landscapes, yet I intend that they are more. Whether rendered clearly or referenced obliquely, water, rocks and foliage are clearly at the foreground. Growing up in a city, into a large family, I relished all the bits of nature around me; parks, gardens, even puddles and wayward weeds in sidewalk cracks. They gave respite and made me feel attentive and thoughtful.

The longer I paint, the more I have moved from depiction into exploring why I find these subjects so beguiling. My thoughts turn to ideas of sanctuary and the mysteries of shape, reflection and transparency, surface and depth. Why is appearance so transient, changing with the light or with one’s perspective, when the world is constant and enduring? What am I to make of this? What lessons are right there waiting to be learned? My quest is to learn them; to see more deeply and to portray the principles that give form and meaning to these compositions. They seem to be always just below the surface, literally and metaphorically. So the quest continues, chronicled in paint.

I often obscure the customary references of horizon and atmospheric perspective. In this way easy identification of the landscape is downplayed. Context and scale become malleable. This allows a broader range of interpretations and frees me to move beyond the literal. Adding to this ambiguity, I often mix reflected imagery with solid forms, begging the question of what is ‘real’ and what is illusory. These are usually ‘realistic’ images, yet often appear as abstractions.

I love creating passages of paint where one can get lost without concern for naming and words. The surface is available for spontaneous meandering. Free association and personal response is encouraged.

Lastly, I create these paintings with pastels and watercolor and I’m charmed to be using the same elements of dust and water that I am drawn to paint.

WVA membership status:

Colette Odya Smith served as the juror for The Pastel Journal magazine's 12th annual "Pastel 100" competition, choosing the winning entrants in the abstract/non-representational cagegory.
more info
The Pastel Journal magazine at:
Colette Odya Smith is included with several demonstration paintings and instruction in Maggie Price's new book "Painting Sunlight and Shadow with Pastels". The book is published by North Light Books.
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North Light Books at:
Colette Odya Smith will be inducted as a member of the Masters' Circle of the International Association of Pastel Societies at their biennial convention in June 2013 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This designation is earne
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International Association of Pastel Societies 2013 Convention
Hotel Albuquerque
Albuquerque, NM
June 16 - 19, 2014
Colette Odya Smith will be offering a 4-day workshop titled "Pushing Your Pastels" June 16-19 at the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, in Door County, WI. General Registration opens April 8th at more info
Peninsula School of Art
P.O. Box 304 3900 County F
Fish Creek, WI 54212

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Colette Odya Smith
Au Natural at Katie Gingrass Gallery through June 2011

MVAR meets with director of Cultural Alliance
by Colette Odya Smith