I am a painter of contemporary landscapes that often blur the distinctions between realism and abstraction. The driving force behind my work is my interest in finding and amplifying the beauty and mystery that exists quietly all around us, both obvious and hidden. I am always looking for ways that the humblest scenes reveal profound insights and offer wordless understanding. Known for working in pastels for nearly 30 years, my imagery often uses a close focus on water, rocks, and foliage. Also, the inclusion of reflections and shadows, often without a horizon for reference, allows a range of interpretations and encourages the viewer to move beyond the literal with me. While my imagery remains grounded in the natural world, I alter or emphasize at will, reveling in the brilliant color and textural richness of soft pastels as they converse with my watercolor underpainting. As my career has developed, I find myself teaching, writing, judging, and critiquing. This work dovetails with my painting to keep me continually on my toes and learning at the edge of my abilities.
Colette Odya Smith - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 2022