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

Pop-Up Art Exhibit, The Loft Gallery, Thornbury, Ontario, Canada

Encaustic Photos, Rohrer Gallery, Camden College, Cherry Hill, NJ

Ethereal Dreams, Boston Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Encaustic Photographs, 2nd and Loma Loft Space Gallery, Wilmington, DE

Bloom: Encaustic Photographs, Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center, Roxborough, PA

In My Body, Prince Theater, Philadelphia, PA
Artwork for the Musical

Encaustic Photographs, Sweet Mabel Art & Craft Gallery, Narberth, PA

Black is Back, Gush Gallery

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

Art at City Hall, City Hall, Philadelphia, PA

Benefit Exhibit for the Wunder Family, Benna's Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

Connections: Reunion Exhibit - Members of Artforms Gallery, Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA

Member Exhibit, Cerulean Arts Collective, Philadelphia, PA

Constructing a Body, InLiquid Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Teachers' Exhibit, Bankos Gallery at the Banana Factory, Allentown, PA

6th Annual Show, Malvern Retreat, Malvern, PA

Street Art, The Bazemore Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Encaustic Photographs, SE Photo Center, Greenville, SC

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


Wax Fusion Magazine

Philadelphia Magazine

Shots Magazine

Click Magazine

Rangefinder Magazine

Pique Magazine

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

Teaching Experience

2012 - Present
Camden County College, Camden County, NJ
Adjunct Professor of Photography

2004 - 2012
The Art Institute of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Adjunct Professor of Photography

Additional Teaching Experience
2018 - Present
Hope Partnership, Philadelphia, PA
Art Teacher

2017 - Present
Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center, Roxborough, PA
Education Director/Board of Trustees Member

2010 - Present
Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA
Art Instructor

Volunteer Teaching Experience
2015 - Present
Julia R. Masterman School, Philadelphia, PA
Photography Instructor

Creative Growth Art Center, Oakland, CA
Art Teacher


This & That: Photo Collage & Encaustics, Big Dramatic Questions Art Retreat, Collingwood, Ontario, Canada

Encaustic Painting on Photos, Cerulean Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Encaustic Layering, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA

Encaustic Mixed Media, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA

Photo Collage, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA

Photo Encaustics, Big Dramatic Questions Art Retreat, Collingwood, Ontario

Celebrating the Figure with Marcie Wolf-Hubbard, Leah's Studio, Philadelphia, PA

Advanced Photo Encaustics, Cerulean Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Encaustic Workshop, R&F Fine Art Store, Rochester, NY

Photo Encaustic Workshop, Big Dramatic Questions Art Retreat, Collingwood, Ontario

Photo Encaustic Workshop with Elizabeth Messina, The Arte Department, Carpinteria, CA

Photo Encaustic Workshop with Kara Taylor, Kara Taylor Gallery, Chillmark, MA

Photo Encaustics, LUZ Gallery & Workshops, Victoria, BC, Canada

Photo Encaustics & Collage with Athena Petra Tasiopoulos, Private Small Group Workshop, Barre, VT

Photo Encaustics, LUZ Gallery & Workshops, Victoria, BC, Canada

Revival in the Desert with Diana Millar & Quinton, Chickasaw Homestead, Joshua Tree, CA

A Lovely Workshop with Elizabeth Messina, GA

Photo Encaustics, LUZ Gallery & Workshops, Victoria, BC, Canada

Mixed Media & Encaustic Workshop, Private Group Workshop, Philadelphia, PA

Photo Encaustics with Athena Petra Tasiopoulos, Private Group Workshop, Philadelphia, PA

A Lovely Workshop with Elizabeth Messina, France

Professional Experience

2000 - 2018
Susan Beard Design, Philadelphia, PA
Event photographer, photo retoucher, studio assistant, encaustic artist, digital artist

2006 - 2018
Bliss Books, Philadelphia, PA
Owner & designer

2015 - 2016
In My Body, The Musical, Philadelphia, PA
Scenic artist & creative team member

Additional Professional Experience
2012 - Present
Jewellea Photography, Philadelphia, PA
Freelance wedding, event, & portrait photographer

1997 - 1999
Sanchez Elementary, San Francisco, CA
Teachers Assistant

Artspark Multicultural Youth Project, Oakland, CA
Art Teacher

1995 - 1997
Red Shoes Photography Lab, San Francisco, CA
Slide duplication technician

1991 - 1995
Charles Gatewood, Artist, Bernal Heights, CA
Studio Assistant


Encaustic Castle, Lexington, KY
Two week artist residency with stipend to create a new body of artwork


CFEVA/New Courtland Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA
Grant Recipient

Martha Stewart
Featured artist/artist demonstration


Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center
Cerulean Gallery

Corporate Sponsorship

2011 - Present
Hahnemuhle Fine Art Paper


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

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