Encaustic painter Leslie Stoner grew up in Northwest Montana on a farm tucked deep in the woods of the Rocky Mountains. She currently resides on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest and her imagery is a semblance of both environments. She balances her studio time between encaustic painting and drawing painstakingly intricate large-scale mazes.

Painting with encaustic, allows her to slow down her thoughts and reflect inward. As she works, the image evolves in layers according to the chances of the materials and the season of her emotions. Because the medium is organic, layered, and hard to predict, when painting she plays at the intersection of risk and promise. Her materials come from nature-beeswax, pigment, oil and tree resin. Her tools are purposeful: the razor blade, the spatula, and the hogs hair bristle brushes. Fire is the element that merges them. Her paintings are about human emotions, fears, anxieties, self-doubt and how we embrace them. 

Having painted full time for the last 13 years, she found herself longing for that precise control you have with a pen and ink so she decided to start creating mazes again.  In her early teens she was constantly drawing mazes and doodling as a means to cope with stress and anxiety and to retain information while in school. This gave her hands something to do while her mind was active. Her eye had always been drawn to the curves and organic shifting forms, which are created organically in wood grain. Working on large birch panels she selectively chooses which lines to use to form an abstract land or sky scape incorporating a maze which works its way from the start (at the top of the panel) to the end (at the bottom) with plenty of dead ends and twists and turns along the way. At first glance they may appear to be a seemingly impossible journey, a lot like life but with time and patience the viewer will persevere.