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Born and raised in Joseph, Oregon, Leah Johnson remembers being 9 years old when drawing became more than lines on paper. A Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Painting from Lewis and Clark College in Portland expanded her artistic horizons.

Leah found her way back to her home town in Eastern Oregon, where she lives with her husband James and daughter Haven. Leah is the marketing manager for Community Bank and now paints her horizons around the Wallowa mountains and valleys by working with the encaustic medium.

Experimenting with encaustic for the past 6 years, Johnson’s wax and resin work is currently being shown in Eastern Oregon and Washington.


Learn how to paint with wax and resin in a 4 hour workshop hosted by Leah. To book, learn more about the workshop and see available dates click here. (Workshops have been temporarily suspended)

"We had such a good time doing encaustic painting with Leah in her art studio! Having never heard of encaustic painting, we had no idea what to expect. She gave us a great introduction to the art, and we were able to try multiple different techniques over the course of four hours.

We learned encaustic painting is an ancient art technique that uses a mixture of clear wax and resin, layered with paint and texture to create a unique art piece. A heat source is used to fuse wax to wood, and with each layer, the painting comes to life. Each piece of ours was completely different from the next. Encaustic painting can be done free form, but Leah also showed us how to do a few photo transfers, which turned out to be absolutely stunning, even for newbies like us.

The studio was beautiful, clean, and nestled in the trees. Everything you could ask for from a weekend art excursion in Joseph. We absolutely recommend this art experience and don’t have enough good things to say about Leah’s instruction or the process of encaustic painting."

-Julia C. and Natalie W.



Translucence, encaustic show at the Josephy Center for Arts & Culture in Joseph (2014) and at Art Center East in La Grande, Oregon (2016).
Fused, at Art Center East in La Grande, Oregon (2018).
Fangled Gallery, Enterprise, Oregon (2020)


Artist Statement

I try to capture that brief moment of surprise when you notice how something very simple is actually pretty impressive. Subtle colors in a perfect yin and yang. How intense something as basic as distance can be. A narrow dusty road tapering off into the prairie. Light and shadow giving whole new outlooks to a fence post or a 9,000-foot mountain peak. All those little things making big differences.

Working with encaustic frees me from realism in my paintings. The forces at work with encaustic contribute to forming the image and often give me a lift beyond the original vision. Rather than struggle with “flaws” inherent in heating and fusing wax, resin and pigment, I go along with the characteristics of the medium and together we create an entirely new version of the scene. It’s liberating and lets me appreciate the landscape that inspired the piece as well as the medium and act of creating. When I focus on a new painting, I welcome the cyclical effect where I appreciate more deeply what I see on a daily basis. And that, in turn, inspires me to keep creating art.

Learn More About Encaustics

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Description from Merchant:

All inks and printing surfaces are archival providing rich colors that are long-lasting. Printing is done by Bay Photo Lab, a professional printing facility in business for over 40 years. Original encaustic works are produced using wax and resin and the nature of those materials are to be completely impervious to water. Encaustic lasts for centuries.

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