About the Artist

Colleen with painting
I’m a great animal lover and share my home with several dogs. I’ve been a vegan/vegetarian for many, many years (for moral and ethical reasons – after all, how can I say I love animal and then participate in their deaths?). My spirituality is a blend of spiritualism and science, with a dash of Zen and paganism thrown in for some added “color”. I enjoy drinks with friends, DIY’ing around the house, nature walks with my dogs, galleries and museums, horror/sci-fi movies, wine and whiskey. I used to be a professional photographer, but now I’m doing fine-art photography just for personal enjoyment.

I’ve bought and sold two homes in Philadelphia, PA but when I realized I needed to get out, I purchased a historic home in Delaware that was built around 1820.

I strive for personal and gaining a greater awareness of who I really am and what the Universe around me is really like (which is not always what the eye sees). It’s not always an easy pursuit, but as the old saying goes, it’s the journey that counts. I also present a page dedicated to my late parents, who I loved very much and will miss until I see them again on the other side.

“To understand everything is to forgive everything” – Buddha

Artist Statement

My name is Colleen D. Gjefle and I’m an American artist creating both abstract and surreal work primarily in acrylic. I’m self-taught as an artist with paintings in numerous private collections primarily in North America and a few in Europe, including commissioned works.

When I create an artwork, I strive to visually capture a world that lives beyond our conventional senses.  My abstracts tend to be brightly colored, highly textured and intricate, frequently with multiple layers giving lots of depth. My surreal works might just be flights of whimsy, but many are more thought provoking, cerebral images that grow from morality, metaphysics and of dreams.

Life has kicked me in the teeth and frequently gotten in the way of art, but I always returned to it. I have a lot of other interests that have frequently provided me with temporary respites from painting, but again, I always returned. I’ve been a professional photographer and website designer, both of which satisfied my artistic urges…

But I always return to art.

I create images that can’t be seen in real life (after all, that’s what cameras are for) which are pulled from my head to hopefully draw the viewer in. There was a time when I thought through every detail in a painting but I gradually began to try to let my subconscious take more control of the process. This led to creating more abstracts, and my surreal paintings becoming less refined but freer.

I’m no longer always striving for the deep meanings in my surreal works. While at one time I felt a need to “understand” my paintings, I now  prefer to feel them. After all, we can only intellectually understand things to a limited degree, but we can feel to the depth of our souls.  Do I want others to understand my paintings? Each person naturally interprets a work of art according to their own personality and experiences so although I might have my own interpretation, there’s always another way of viewing things.

Through the universal language of art, I hope to understand myself and my world a little bit more, and to share it with others.

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Miscellaneous Professional

Listed in “International Who’s Who of Business and Professional Women” (published by the American Biographical Institute) and in “2000 Outstanding Artists & Designers of the 20th Century”, a reference publication of the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England.

Various paintings have been used in assorted publications including Schuylkill Valley Journal, Brainworld, Niederngasse (Germany).

Artwork featured in Print

Selection of Exhibitions

  • Gallery at Painted Stave Distillery, Smyrna DE, 2016
  • “Absolutely Abstract” Exhibition – 443gallery, Philadelphia PA, 2011
  • “Between the Waterways” – 443gallery, Philadelphia PA, 2010
  • Please Look & Touch Me – University of the Arts, Philadelphia, 2010
  • Group Exhibition – Rosetree Holistic Health, Media PA, 2010
  • “Great Juried Show”  juried by James McFarlane, president of the American Watercolor Society Manayunk Art Center, Philadelphia PA, 2009
  • Feature Show: Outside the Box – Manayunk Art Center, Philadelphia, 2009
  • “Bella Toscana” Exhibition – 443gallery, Philadelphia PA
  • Gallery Show – Catherine Zeidler Gallery, Philadelphia  PA, 2009
  • Solo Exhibition – Ven & Vaida Gallery, Philadelphia PA, 2009
  • Relationships – Manayunk Artists Co-Op, Philadelphia PA , 2009
  • Grand Small Works – FUEL Collection, Philadelphia PA, 2009
  • Grand Small Works – FUEL Collection, Philadelphia PA, 2008
  • Gallery Artists – 443gallery, Philadelphia PA, 2008
  • Small Works – Manayunk Artists’ Co-Op, Philadelphia PA, 2008
  • Annual Members’ Show – Manayunk Art Center, Philadelphia PA, 2008
  • The Art of Politics – Manayunk Artists Co-Op, Philadelphia PA, 2008
  • Serenity and Whimsy in Art – Manayunk Artists Co-Op, Philadelphia PA, 2008
  • Poe & Dickens – Characters & Themes – Manayunk Art Center, Philadelphia, 2008
  • Featured Artist – 443gallery, Philadelphia PA, 2007
  • 100 Paintings for $100 (Miniatures) – Manayunk Art Center, Philadelphia PA, 2007
  • Art to Die For – Manayunk Art Center, Philadelphia PA
  • Spring Group Show – Manayunk Artists Co-Op, Philadelphia, 2007
  • Works on Paper Juried Show – Mainline Art Center, Havertown PA, 2007
  • Faces & Places – Manayunk Artists’ Co-Op, Philadelphia PA, 2007
  • Annual Members’ Show – Manayunk Art Ctr, Philadelphia PA, 2006
  • 50th Anniversary Auction – Manayunk Art Ctr, Philadelphia, 2006
  • Spring Group Show – Manayunk Artists Co-op, Philadelphia, 2006
  • Fall Group Show – Manayunk Artists’ Co-op, Philadelphia PA, 2006
  • Cool Art in the Summer Heat – Manayunk Art Center, Philadelphia PA, 2005
  • Annual Members Show – Manayunk Art Ctr, Philadelphia PA, 2005
  • Three Person – Manayunk Art Center, Philadelphia PA
  • Annual Members’ Show – Manayunk Art Ctr, Philadelphia PA, 2004
  • Solo Show – Surrealism – Manayunk Art Ctr, Philadelphia PA, 2003
  • Annual Members’ Show – Manayunk Art Ctr, Philadelphia PA, 2003
  • Invitational Show – Gallery Alexy, Philadelphia, PA
  • Global Artists for Tibet – Gallery Alexy, Philadelphia, PA, 2000
  • Select Works – Gallery Alexy, Philadelphia, PA, 2000
  • Portraits, Gallery Alexy, Philadelphia, PA, 2000
  • Nudes Invitational Exhibition, Gallery Alexy, Philadelphia, PA, 2000
  • Three Person Show – Gallery Alexy, Philadelphia PA, 1999
  • Contemporary Realism – Gallery Alexy, Philadelphia PA, 1999
  • Solo Presentation – Church of Eternal Life, Westville, NJ
  • Positive World Visions – Artforms Gallery, Philadelphia PA
  • Group Show – Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, Philadelphia PA
  • Group Show – Odds’n’Blends, Philadelphia PA
  • Free Painters & Sculptors Group Show – Loggia Gallery, London, England
  • Not The Royal Academy – Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London, England
  • Solo Exhibit – Cambridge Spiritualist Society, Cambridge, England
  • Heads – Loggia Gallery, London England
  • Not The Royal Academy – Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London, England
  • New Works – Loggia Gallery, London England
  • Solo Presentation – Acton Spiritualist House, London, England
  • Solo Exhibit – SAWCA Theater Gallery, San Antonio, TX
  • Group Show – Womens Caucus for Art, San Antonio, TX
  • Group Show – San Antonio Art League, San Antonio, TX
  • Group Show – River Arts Group, San Antonio, TX
  • Group Show – Brooks Library, San Antonio, TX
  • Group Show – Carver Cultural Center, San Antonio, TX