Leah Macdonald

Contact Information


Phone: 610-247-9964


Studio & Gallery

498 Ripka St Philadelphia, PA 19128

www.bliss-etc.com www.jewelleaphoto.com www.blissbooks.net

Please contact artist or gallery for purchases, commissions, etc.

Photography/Mixed Media

Black and White


Artist's Biography

Growing up in Philadelphia my life was rich with art and a diverse source of cultural experiences. I discovered photography while attending the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr. I took my first college course at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I thought I would become a photojournalist. However, plans change and as an artist I have always been very experimental.

I moved to California and received my Masters and Bachelors Degrees in Photography and also began my career as a teacher and a mixed media artist. About 10 years ago I returned to Philadelphia to focus on my career. I am an artist and I teach mixed media workshops from my studio and on location as well. I am also a commercial photographer and owner of Jewellea Photography, specializing in weddings and boudoir photography. I also own Bliss Books, a high end, hand-made album and book-making company.

Artist's Statement

My diversity and experience in the realms of photography, encaustic painting and mixed media continue to merge and compliment one another. A stained photograph and a ripped corner speak of life’s lessons. Each texture is ultimately important to me. My work is close to home and reflects my true self, it hints to my flaws, and I embrace beauty and expression.

My work is a dialogue between my imagination, my curiosity, my imperfections and my desires. I express the tales of womanhood, sharing stories through form, color and texture.

I am a portrait artist and I photograph primarily women, and then embellish the photographs with layers of beeswax, colored wax, painting and drawing. Adding wax for texture and color for mood changes the black and white photographs. I use paper as an extension of my skin; I pull it and peel it, a wash it, paint it, tear it and draw on it. Wax embellishes and veils the nudity of my subjects and I draw to decorate and control the image. The ability to layer mediums and constantly change appearance and texture allows me to stray from reality and reach the playground of imagination. I am interested in images from nature and designs with floral and intricate forms.

Selected Exhibitions

Unlocking Whimsy, Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY

Translucent, Susan Maasch Fine Art, Portland, ME

Encaustic Photography Show, Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, PA

In Light of the Lens: Ethereal, The Hall, Inliquid at Crane Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Soliloquy, Galerie BMG, Woodstock NY

In My Body, WEXLER Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Female Fairytale, GalerieBMG, Woodstock, NY

Entangled: Black and white fiber photographs with encaustic, Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY

Playing Ace: black and white photographs, Photo 612, Haddonfield Heights, NJ

Holding On: and other New Figurative Works, Rodger Lapelle Galleries, Philadelphia, PA

New Figurative Works, Rodger Lapelle Galleries, Philadelphia, PA

Reverie: New Photographs, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA

Secret Times, Art & Soul Gallery, Woodstock, NY

Body Manipulations, Artforms Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Paintings from the Attic, La Colombe, Philadelphia, PA

The Baby Doll Show, The Atlas, San Francisco, CA

Relent, Myrtle Street Gallery, Oakland, CA

For Eleanor, Farley’s, San Francisco, CA


Diffusion Retrospective, Verve Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Floriography, Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY

Environmental Art Show, Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, PA

Photoencaustics, Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY

Photoencaustics, Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY

Diffusion Exhibit, La Luz Gallery, Queen Victoria Island, BC, Canada

Lunar Arrangements, Dalet Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Monmouth Museum, Lincroft NJ
Juried Exhibition

Wax Poetic, Nichols Berg Gallery, Chestnut Hill, NJ

Luminosity, Flinn Gallery, Greenwich CT

Faculty Show, Philadelphia Art Institute, Philadelphia, PA

2007 - present
A Square Deal, Philadelphia, PA
Traveling Exhibition

Arcadia Boutique, Philadelphia, PA

CONTOUR, Wired Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

Two Women Show, Yo Darkroom, Philadelphia, PA

Atrium Gallery, Ball State University, Muncie, IN

Encaustic Works 2007: Sixth International Encaustic Exhibition, The Gallery at R&F,
Kingston NY

The Variety Show, Falling Cow Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Small Works, Rodger Lapelle Galleries, Philadelphia, PA

Wild, Weird and Wonderful, Maria DiElsi Connolly, Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Photo New York, Galerie BMG, New York, NY

The Kandy Project, Lemuria Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Escape to the Underwater Woods, PhotoWest Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Annual, Perkins Center for the Arts, Mount Holly, NJ
Juried Exhibition

2005 - 2006
Wild, Weird and Wonderful, Maria DiElsi Connolly, Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Holiday Show, Photo 612, Haddon Heights, NJ

Women’s Photography Show, Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY

Oil & Wax The Community Arts Center, Wallingford, PA
Traveling Exhibit

Three Person Show, Dragonfly Gallery, Oak Bluffs, MA

The Birth Show, Artforms Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

New Nudes(mostly men), Art & Soul Gallery, Woodstock, NY

Photography Show, Dragonfly Gallery, Oak Bluffs, MA

The Affordable Art Fair, represented by Rodger Lapelle Galleries, New York, NY

Three Photographers, Dragonfly Gallery, Oak Bluffs, MA

My Space Our Reality, Alma Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Collage and Mixed Media Exhibit, McGOPA, the galleries at The Schuykill Printing Plant, Conshohocken, PA

US Art Expo, represented by Sande Wedbster Gallery, National Armory, Philadelphia, PA

Annual, Artforms Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

Featured Artist New Works, Rodger LaPelle Galleries, Philadelphia, PA

Red, White & Blue, Artforms Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Absence of Color, Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

Master of Fine Art Exhibition, Oliver Art Center, Oakland, CA

Annual Juried Exhibition, Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, CA
Juried Exhibition

Professional Experience

2012 - present
Co-Owner/Photographer, Jewellea Photography

2006 - present
Production artist of fine art photo books, Bliss Books

1999 - present
Freelance artist and Photographer

Instructor, Intro & Advanced Encaustics, LUZ Studios, BC, Canada

Instructor, Portrait Workshop, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA

Instructor, Mixed Media & Encaustic Workshop, Luz Gallery, Victoria BC, Canada

Instructor, Elizabeth Messina’s Lovely Workshop, Sea Island Resort, GA

Instructor, Encaustic Workshop, Private Class, Phoenix, AZ

Instructor, Encaustic Workshop, Penn Charter Elementary School, Philadelphia, PA

Instructor, Bliss Books & Bella Forte Workshop, The Garage, Philadelphia, PA

Instructor, Photo Presentation & Workshop, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Instructor, December Encaustic Workshop, The Garage, Philadelphia, PA

Instructor, Studio Workshops, The Garage, Philadelphia, PA

Instructor, Workshop in Encaustics at LOVELY WORKSHOP, France

Instructor, Photo Encaustics Workshop, The Garage, Philadelphia, PA

2005 - 2012
Professor, Photography, The Philadelphia Art Institute, Philadelphia, PA

Instructor, Encaustic Worksop – one activity-on location, Dobson School Kindergarten Class

Instructor, Group Photo Encaustic Workshop, Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY

Fit for Living Course, 21st Century Academy Elementary School

Visiting Artist Teacher, Canyon Elementary

Volunteer, Creative Growth Center, Oakland, CA
Working with outsider artists to help them develop creative skills

Professor Assistant, California College of Arts & Crafts, Oakland, CA

Artspark, Oakland, CA
In conjunction with the city of Oakland, a multicultural youth project

Teachers Assistant, Sanchex Elementary, San Francisco, CA


Diffusion Magazine, One Twelve Publishing, Portland, OR

Rangefinder Magazine, New York, NY

B&W Magazine, Ross Periodicals, Inc

Shots 101 Dreams, Autumn 2008

After Capture, Waxworks Encaustic Painting Enhancement

Shots Magazine

Photo Review, Summer Competition Issue, Langhorne, PA

The Photo Metro, San Francisco, CA

Photography Contest, The Bay Guardian, Oakland, CA


California College of Arts & Crafts, Oakland, CA
MFA, Photography

San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
BFA, Photography