Looking Lively
Born in Milwaukee, Colette always knew she wanted to be an artist, which led her to an art degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. During her years teaching elementary and middle school art and raising two children, she kept that dream alive with various creative pursuits including taking classes at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design where she took up soft pastel painting.

Since then, in her 20 year love affair with pastels, Colette has exhibited widely, won numerous awards and recognitions including Masters Circle (IAPS) International Association of Pastel Societies, signature member (PSA) Pastel Society of America and Distinguished Pastelist (PSNM) Pastel Society of New Mexico. Her awards include placing multiple times in The Artist’s Magazine competitions, and in The Pastel Journal “Pastel 100” including placing 1st in the Abstract/Non-objective category and 4th in Landscape this year. She has served as the judge for their Abstract Category, as a juror and as judge for the National Exhibition of the Pastel Society of New Mexico, as well as the National Exhibition of the Pastel Artists of Canada.

She is a contributor to the book “Painting Sunlight and Shadows with Pastels” by Maggie Price and has had her work featured in The Pastel Journal, American Artist, and Pratique des Arts magazines. She will be teaching a workshop in June 2015 at the IAPS convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In describing her work, she says, “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. My quest is to learn from nature; to see more deeply and to portray the principles that give form and meaning to the world’s ephemeral appearances. The answers seem to be always just below the surface, literally and metaphorically. So the quest continues, chronicled in paint.”

She often obscures 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 her to move beyond the literal. “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.”

Ms. Smith has just returned from France where she was the Guest of Honor of the Societe des Pastellists de France at their International Exhibition at Parc Caillebotte (the home of Gustave Caillebotte) in Yerres, on the outskirts of Paris. She is represented by the Katie Gingrass Gallery in Milwaukee and Woodwalk Gallery in Door County, Wisconsin. Her website is: www.coletteodyasmith.com.
WVA membership status:

Interior Aspect


Colette Odya Smith has been invited to exhibit a pastel painting in the 2nd China (Suzhou) Biennial International Pastel Exhibition from October 22nd to November 22nd, 2016.

October 22 - November 22, 2016
Colette Odya Smith has been invited to exhibit a pastel painting in the 2nd China (Suzhou) Biennial International Pastel Exhibition from October 22nd to November 22nd, 2016.
more info
Ming Gallery of Art

Suzhou, China

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Colette Odya Smith Exhibits Internationally
Exhibits in China and France

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