About the Artist


Encaustic painter Leslie Stoner grew up in northwest Montana on a 50 acre mink farm tucked deep in the woods of the Rocky Mountains. Her close observations of darkness and light started early. As a child, storms raged in and out of her home. To escape she spent most of her time outdoors, racing through the fields of stinging knapweed, playing hide and seek with the trees, wrestling with the creek, or cocooning herself in a burrow until the thunder had gone.

Those light-stippled woods of her childhood would continue to feed her ongoing engagement as an artist with what lies beneath and what rises up; the gleam of found treasure and the slither of movement; what is protected and what is revealed. The darkness is a safe place, a hollow offering shelter in the quiet calm of the mind. Upon observation lies an inky, playful swerve beneath a bright reflection. A weight lifted, released. Mark of a scar, spin of a tail, growth and rest. Engaging the imagery of the natural world, often playing with notions of scale, her paintings bear clear marks of the fire in which they were created, revealing the unsettling beauty of scarred textures, gradient mists, scattered pockmarks, and sooty webbed lines. Her abstracted landscapes resist a single narrative, instead creating a space for discovery, revelation and renewal.

Leslie Stoner ‘s large studio is nestled on the edge of a forest looking out onto an array of plant life that creates the shelter and privacy in which she craves. Wild bunnies, deer, coyotes, chipmunks, dragonflies, frogs and a variety of birds including a Great Horned Owl can be seen from where she paints. Collections of shells, stones, skulls, and tiny intricate statues and artifacts adorn her windows and shelves. Her walls are embellished with paintings in various shapes and sizes. She finds inspiration from her surroundings and listening to a myriad of singer/songwriters who weave together visual landscapes using their poetic voice. Early in her career she managed the studios of encaustic artist Betsy Eby and realist painter Bo Bartlett and simultaneously graduated (Summa Cum Laude) with a Bachelor of Arts from Cornish College of the Arts, double-majoring in Painting and Photography. Her work is exhibited and collected throughout the North. 

Artist Statement




It’s been said, “We often need the darkness to feel the release to the light.” This statement encapsulates my work and my life.

Painting with Encaustic allows me to slow down my thoughts and reflect inward. As I work, the image evolves in layers according to the chances of the materials and the seasons of my emotions. Because my medium is organic, layered, and hard to predict, when I paint I play at the intersection of risk and promise. The result is a deception of surfaces, where control slips into accident and back again.

My materials come from nature—beeswax, pigment, oil, and tree resin. My tools are purposeful: the razor blade, the spatula, and the Hogs hair bristle brush. Fire is the element that blends and merges them.

My subject matter is the natural world, abstracted, with a balance between dreamlike light and inky dark. Each work is infused with scarred texture, scattered pockmarks, sharp incisions, and misty gradients. I think of my paintings as windows into a world not quite ours but still shrouded with familiarity so the viewer can imagine them self, wandering through it, with places for the soul to shine and places for the soul to hide.

I believe that everything beautiful has a darkness. My paintings are reflections of my struggle to find inner peace with the dark and the light.