Artist Elspeth McLean Delicately Paints Ocean Stones With Thousands Of Dots To Create Beautiful Mandalas

We all need to get away from the crazy chaos that is our daily lives every now and then. Some of us go and seek sanctuary in nature, while others forget about the world through immersing themselves with art. One artist has managed to combine these two elements and the results are giving us high levels of zen. Since 2013, artist Elspeth McLean has been creating mandala stones.

purple and blue mandala stones
Elspeth McLean

Elspeth got the idea of painting mandalas on stone surfaces while she was taking photos of her mini mandala paintings against a backdrop of grey ocean stones. She noticed how nicely the colors contrasted against the grey color of the stones, and she let the idea simmer for a while. Then, a few weeks later, Elspeth finally took action on her vision. In her website, the artist recounted the fateful beginning of her now-famous stones:

“A few weeks later in Australia, during a “crafter-noon” with friends, I painted the very first batch of many Mandala Stones to come. I was delighted! These stones had my whole heart. I took a photo, shared it on my Facebook page, and went to bed. The next morning, I saw that my photo had been viewed over 30,000 times! This is the first time my art had gone ‘viral’.”

artist paints one of her mandala stones


intricate mandala stones

The bright and meticulous details captivated the world immediately.

artist painting


flowery image


 fall motif

“Mandala Stones are precious pieces of art and should be cared for as such. They are sealed with a layer of UV-resistant museum quality matte varnish to protect from dust and dirt. They are not water resistant.”

vibrant colorful mandala stones


sunny mandala stones

The detail that Elspeth puts into each and every stone is incredibly intricate, but her process is actually quite simple. Equipped only with brushes, paint, and her imagination, this artist completely changes every stone her brush touches. Fascinatingly enough, Elspeth employs a rather unique painting style inspired from pointillism. The artist employs “Dotillism”, which allows her to create vibrant mandalas with an energetic yet meditative effect, accomplished through color and repetition.

“Creating is a way for me to express the colours of my soul,” McLean said on Etsy. “A way to share my experience of the world.”

Elspeth also said that the duration of her painting process depends largely on the size and intricacy of the piece.

light pink to purple mandala stones


mandala stones placed atop cactus


mandala stones placed in decorative plate

“A completed stone can take several hours and even up to days to complete. However, the total time invested includes much more than the painting itself. I also factor in time spent travelling to find them, collecting them, cleaning/preparing them, and photographing them for the world to see.”

purple and blue mandala stones


red, purple, and white

The Mandala Stones come at an equally beautiful price.

super vibrant mandala stones

As of June 13, 2018, Elspeth has completely moved her platform from Etsy to her very own website. The prices startat $100 and go up from there, depending on the style and intricacy of the stone. She explains the reason behind her work’s pricey price range in her website:

“The cost of a piece of art is more than just the creation of the piece. It involves- travelling to find stones, time spent finding stones, cleaning; preparing and painting the stones, photographing/editing the item and then creating a listing on my website. These are handmade individual pieces of art and are not mass-produced.”

And unfortunately, Elspeth isn’t an artist you can approach for special, personalized gifts and commemorative tokens. According to her, she would rather focus her energies on nurturing her imagination, gallery and show participation, and some special upcoming projects. As of writing, all of her Mandala Stones have sold out, which means that you’ll have to keep an eye out for when she releases new stones, as she doesn’t have a waiting list. Hopefully next time, we’ll be lucky enough to score one of these gorgeous works of art!

Watch Elspeth paint with her Dottilism technique: