Maître Pastelliste - Société des Pastellistes de France, IAPS-MC, PSA-MP, PSNM-DP

Copyright © Colette Odya Smith. All rights reserved. 

Colette  Odya Smith is  a  widely-exhibited,  award-winning painter,  educator  and juror, working primarily in soft pastels for over 20 years. Working from natural subjects, her paintings have a contemporary, almost abstract sensibility. She has been featured in newspaper stories,  publications  and  artist  magazines  including  American  Artist,  The  Artist’s Magazine,  Pastel  Journal,  and  Pratique  des  Arts.  Her  recognitions  include  Masters Circle  IAPS  (International  Association  of  Pastel  Societies),  signature  member  PSA (Pastel Society of America) and Distinguished Pastelist PSNM (Pastel Society of New Mexico).

Latest News

MAY 2019

• Playing a bit of catch-up on things with just a few items to share. Made it back to New York in September for the opening festivities for “Enduring Brilliance”, the annual juried exhibition of the Pastel Society of America. This time I was honored to attend as one of the jurors of the show. Here I am with Jimmy Wright, president, and Arlene Richman, Recording Secretary, enjoying a moment.

• My painting, “In High Spirits” (30”x 30”) took 2ndplace honors in the Abstract/Experimental category of the 35th Annual Art Competition of the Artists Magazine. Always a thrill to see one’s work in print. 

• Summer held a wonderful opportunity to share over 30 paintings along with watercolors by my dear friend Tom Kubala in our exhibit at the Plymouth Arts Center in Plymouth, WI. To see one’s work filling a gallery is a very different experience, especially when it is alongside paintings one admires very much by a person one admires very much.

• A couple of sad items: While 2017 brought new gallery representation at a brand-new gallery, GOWA, the Gallery of Wisconsin Art, I am sad to share that 2019 brought the gallery to an end. It may have been too ambitious, but it sure was wonderful even for a little while. 

• This summer also brought another Milwaukee area art venue, Redline Milwaukee, to the end of its fabulous run. It served a wide community, provided studio space, residencies, educational opportunities and top-notch exhibitions. I was honored to have shared in some of those experiences. Another loss to the community. Our parting shot.

• On a brighter note I had great times with talented artists offering workshops in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Washburn, WI, and Minneapolis, MN. While I don’t teach constantly, when I do I am reminded of how inspiring and productive assisting other artists can be. 

 • And, one last item, this year brought another way to teach – being invited to contribute two times to a column in the Pastel Journal magazine called “The 5 Minute Coach”. Getting my tidbits of advice down succinctly was a great way to force me to clarify my thoughts – always a good thing.

MAY 2018
• I am very happy to share that my painting “Dawn” is included in the “Nocturns” show at the Cecil Byrne Gallery in Charleston, SC.  This is my first time showing at the Cecil Byrne Gallery and that’s exciting for me. 

•Another new venue for me is here in Milwaukee at Redline Milwaukee,, where I have two paintings included in their “Modern Landscape” exhibition. “Accidental Landscape” and “Figure and Ground” were both based on images gathered at an ancient garden in Suzhou, China. 

APRIL 2018

• The April issue of the Pastel Journal is out and filled with the winners of their annual “Pastel 100” competition. I’m very excited to share that “Understory” took the Richeson Pastel Bronze Award – 5th place, and “Legacy 1” took an Honorable Mention in the Landscape/Interiors Category. The 5th place award includes a feature story on my work and the story behind the painting’s creation.

• “Legacy 3” is currently hanging in the IAPS Exhibition at the American Art Company Gallery in Tacoma, Washington. I’ll be getting a chance to see the show when we travel that way soon.

• A very different piece, “Watermark” is hanging in the Pastel Society of New Mexico’s National Juried Exhibition at Sorrel Sky Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

• One of the highlights of 2017 was the IAPS – International Association of Pastel Societies convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Billed as the biggest pastel party in the world, it lived up to its reputation as the best for all things pastel: the best instructors, the best painters, the  best materials and all around, the best time!I taught a one-day workshop and gave a demonstration on my philosophy and methods and loved being challenged by presenting to such an educated and experienced community. I also had the pleasure of attending several demos and learning from others as well. Each time I attend, I have the joy of reconnecting with more and more artist friends from all over the country and now international associates as well. A particular pleasure was meeting up with some of the artists from China and Hong Kong, and meeting new fabulously talented Chinese pastelists.

• Another highlight was a trip to New York to attend the opening festivities of “Enduring Brilliance”, the annual juried exhibition of the Pastel Society of America. Held at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park in its elegant mansion, this is one of the premier exhibitions for pastel artists. I was favored with an award from the Pan Pastel Company. We rounded out the week in the city with lots of museum stops, gallery visits, friends, and great food, theater and city

• 2017 also brought new gallery representation! I am happy to now be represented by GOWA, the Gallery of Wisconsin Art. This is a new gallery dedicated to both contemporary and historic Wisconsin artists and it is in a stunning, refurbished building right across the street from MOWA, the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, WI. It is becoming a real art destination. I am also represented at Gallery Marzen, a charming art space in the heart of Madison, WI.

• In July, I was honored with a multi-page feature story in the special Pastel Issue #135 of the Pratique des Arts Magazine. This French artists publication is  similar to the Artists Magazine here in the States. They did a lovely job with a good interview and several images of my work.

MARCH 2017

• We made the trip to Suzhou, China and it was a fabulous experience. Spending some time with the other artists who were there teaching and building networks of community throughout China was wonderful. Hanging with some of the 100 amazing artists from China and around the world was a great honor. Throw in gracious hosting by the Ming Gallery staff, Isabelle V. Lim, one of the masterminds behind this grand event, and some delightful sightseeing and we had a great time. “Fathom” is my painting in the show – Pastel/watercolor on museum board 20x20 inches.

• I will be teaching again at the IAPS convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico in June as well as at the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, Door County, Wisconsin August 28th-30th. There is still room for that workshop. See the link on the resume page.

 • And I will be offering a week-long workshop art/vacation experience in Croatia September 9th-16th, 2017! This is the newest hot spot for pastel workshops and it offers gracious accomodations, splendid food and gorgeous places to explore including an optional day boat trip to Venice. Space is still available. See the link on the resume page.

• I am off to Suzhou, China to attend the opening ceremonies of the 2nd China (Suzhou) Biennial International Pastel Exhibition! This show features 100 paintings by Chinese and International artists selected by the jurors and hosts of this important exhibition. I am excited to say the least and greatly honored to be included with these excellent artists. More to come once I’m back!

 • “Awaiting Eternity” took 4th Place honors in the 18th Annual Pastel 100 Competition, Abstract and Non-Objective category. Watch for all the winners in the April 2017 issue or check out the complete list of winners here:

• I have also been writing for the Pastel Journal again, this time for their “Creative Life” Column. My piece titled “Being an Artist is Normal” appeared in the September 2016 issue.

 • “Aperture: Crucible Series” was juried into the Pastel Society of America’s 45th annual international exhibition “Enduring Brilliance” and hung at the National Arts Club, New York, NY this September, 2016

 • Three paintings; “Radiance”, “Heartfelt”, and “The Myth of Darkness” were juried into the annual national juried exhibition of the Pastel Society of New Mexico. The show hangs this November, 2016 at the Hispanic Arts Center, EXPO NM in Albuquerque, NM.

JUNE 2016
Taking a moment to share a few bits of summer news – starting with international items.

 • I will have three paintings included by invitation in the International Salon of Pastels of “Pastels en Perigord” in St. Aulaye, France and…

• I will be included in the July issue of Pratique des Arts’  special Pastel Portfolio.

• Moving on to China! I have been invited to be among the artists representing IAPS, the International Association of Pastel Societies as they are honored in the 2nd China (Suzhou) Biennial International Pastel Exhibition, 2016. That will begin in October.

 • A little closer to home, my painting “Legacy #2” has been accepted in the IAPS exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.

 • And even closer to home, “Sun Salutation” and “Lost Edge” were accepted into the League of Milwaukee’s exhibition “Cooler by the Lake” at the Rahr-West Art Museum in Manitowoc, WI.

 • And for something a little different, I’ve been writing too. The Jan/Feb 2016 issue of the Pastel Journal included my thoughts on a painting by Mary Cassatt in their “Great Pastels” column. And I’ve been invited to write for their “Creative Life” column. Watch the Sept/Oct 2016 issue for my thoughts on how being an artist is normal, and the Jan/Feb 2017 issue for how painting can be the language for introverts.


• It's been awhile since I updated my current news - been busy doing instead of recording!  Just a few highlights.

• I had a painting, "Luna" juried into the Pastel Society of America annual exhibition at the National Arts Club in New York.

• I had a duo show at MOWA on the Lake, the Milwaukee location of the Museum of Wisconsin Art and made some sales as well. We garnered press and an interview with Kat M of Milwaukee's Shepherd Express.

• I had another duo show at Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor, WI in beautiful Door County. It featured my Crucible Series and my Stone Oracle Series paintings. The whole Crucible Series now has its own gallery under "Explorations". Take a look!

• I was invited to hang a painting at The Hudson, a new business lounge and café in Milwaukee's hip Third Ward. It will be there through January.

• I also was invited to hang two paintings in Alverno College's "WOW: Women of Wisconsin" exhibition, celebrating the opening of their new fine art gallery space.

• I received 1st place in the fall exhibit of the Wisconsin Pastel Artists - WPA - held at the Cedarburg Cultural Center.

• I had the honor to judge the annual Courthouse Show of the Waukesha Creative Arts League.

• And, I served as one of the jurors for the International Association of Pastel Societies - IAPS - 27th web show. Both of these, especially the IAPS show were formidable tasks and a humbling experience that I value highly.

MARCH 2015
• The exhibit of the Societe des Pastellistes de France that hung at the Propriete Caillebotte traveled to Germany and is now on display at the Museum Schafstall in Neunstadt am Kocker Allemagne through April 19th. So I can now add another country to my list of exhibition locations! And…

• I also have work included in the Societe des Pastellistes de France Salon International du Pastel at the Musee Toffoli in Charenton-le-Pont, Paris, from March 10 to April 18th. So if you happen to be in that part of the world, stop in to see!  

• My painting titled “The Long Nowhere” was juried into the Wisconsin Visual Artists “Abstraction” exhibit at the Frank Juarez Gallery in Sheboygan, WI.

• The new season will be opening at in Door County, WI at the end of May. I will have new work there along with their other fine artists.


• My painting “Full Fade” was named a Finalist in the Artist’s Magazine Annual Competition and is listed in the December 2014 issue.

• I was honored with two awards in the Pastel Journal annual “Pastel 100 Competition”. “A Priori: Crucible Series” received 1st Place in the Abstract Category and “RiverCrossing” received 4th Place in the Landscape Category.  They will be included with stories about them in the April 2015 issue.

• This fall I had the great pleasure of going to France as the Invitee d’honneur of the Societe des Pastellistes de France.  15 of my pastel paintings were featured at their Salon International du Pastel at the Propriete Caillebotte in Yerres, France on the outskirts of Paris. The exhibition was at the historic home and gardens of the estate of the Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte. The Mayor and local Minister of Culture made introductions and presentations to the invitation-only crowd of about 200. We extended our trip and had a wonderful time exploring Paris, Normandy and Provence. A highlight was having Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny to ourselves for contemplation and photographing.

• I received support for this trip from the Mary Nohl Suitcase Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.  The fund offers grants to Southeast Wisconsin artists, assisting them to take advantage of career opportunities beyond our state. I am very grateful for this support.

JULY 2014
• The May-July issue (n˚116) of the French artist magazine Pratique des Arts includes feature spread about my painting "Waterborne #3". It details my handling of color, line and composition to create the effect of light, transparency and reflection in water. Check out this fine magazine at

• The IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies) convention in Albuquerque, NM is a bit off in the future, in June 2015, but not for pastel painters who want to celebrate and learn together. I will be teaching a one-day workshop there. I am thrilled to be included in the line-up of some of the best pastel instructors anywhere!

MAY 2014
My painting “Slipstream” received an Award of Excellence in “Forward 2014: A Survey of Wisconsin Art Now” hanging at the Charles Allis Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI  through June 29th.  I will participate in a gallery talk with other award-winners at the Museum on Friday June 27th at 6:00pm. Please contact the Charles Allis Art Museum for details. 30x30 in pastel/watercolor.

One of my three accepted entrants, “Light in the Forest” received an Honorable Mention in the “Pastel National 2014”, at the Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, KA.  20x20 in pastel/watercolor.

New Spring seasons are opening at: Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor, WI  Katie Gingrass Gallery in Milwaukee, WI  I continue to be supported and represented by these fine galleries.

On the teaching front, I will be offering a four-day workshop at Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, Door County, WI on June 16-19.  To see details and info here’s a link: