Dozens of rainbow mandala stones by Elspeth Mclean
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)

For some, creating art and practicing meditation are one and the same.

Elspeth McleanElspeth Mclean, an Australian artist living in Canada, hand-paints mandala patterns on smooth stones to "express and celebrate the colors of [her] soul and spirit."

Mandala designs originated in ancient India as spiritual and ritualistic symbols for the universe, and they remain a integral expression of meditation in modern times.

"My artwork is directly influenced by my life and what surrounds me," Mclean writes in her artist statement. "Nature, the seasons, the animals that cross my path, my travels and, of course, any mythology/symbolism that I am interested in are expressed through my artwork. I like to create paintings based on either scenes I've had or witnessed or a feeling that I want to express through image."

Mandala stones with paintbrushes
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)

Mclean's unique style, which she describes as "Dotillism," is informed by her love of a related art technique, stippling, which relies on small dot patterns to express varying degrees of shading in drawing.

By combining this technique with the thick consistency of acrylic paint, she is able to imbue her work with vibrant color as well as depth and texture.

Mandala stone with orange flower
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)

Although the intricate nature of her work might seem time-consuming, Mclean is able to work fairly quickly thanks to the acrylic paint.

"I am a fast worker, I have so many different stories to tell, that I need this medium to keep up with the flow of my ideas," she writes on her website.

Purple and green mandala stone
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)

Because she often uses nature as inspiration, it's important to her that her work does not put stress on the environment. That's why all of her mandala stones were collected legally and without compromising the local ecosystem.

Continue below to see more examples of Mclean's dreamy mandala stones, and stay up to date with her latest work by following her on Facebook, Instagram and her Etsy shop.

Mandala stones with constellations
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)
Mandala stones shaped like a heart
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)
Pink and yellow mandala stone on tie-dye background
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)
Four mandala stones lined up in a row
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)
Placing the final dot on a mandala stone
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)
Mandala stone on a bed of pink flowers
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)
A handful of mandala stones
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)
Colorful mandala stone on pink background
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)
Painting mandala stones
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)
Blue mandala stone atop other stones
(Photo: Elspeth Mclean)

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.