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FAQ's

Technique and Style

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What do you use to create your dots?

I use small paintbrushes (anything from a size 00 to a size 2, depending on the dots I am creating). I am not loyal to any particular brand.

How do you get your dots so perfect?

Practice, practice, practice! It is important to keep your brushes in good condition by washing them thoroughly after each use. The creation of dots is all about how much paint I load onto the brush and how much pressure is applied. Experiment - have fun!

What kind of paint do you use?

I use acrylic paint. Acrylics dry fast and holds their shape, creating the beautiful raised texture of my dots. I add a little bit of water to thin my paint down but nothing else.

How do you seal/finish your work?

I seal my original work with museum quality matte spray varnish. This protects the items from UV light, fading and dust. My art is not waterproof and should never be left outside or in the weather. I also recommend not displaying original pieces in areas that receive prolonged direct sunlight or moisture, such as the bathroom or kitchen.

How do you sign your original work?

I sign my artwork with my initials, EM, in braille. This inspiration came to me when a friend told me my artwork “is like braille for the soul.” On my paintings I sign on the bottom right-hand corner and on Stones and Pendants, I sign the back.

How did you start painting dots?

I’ve always loved patterns and creating shading and gradients within my work. For years I carried a sketchbook with me everywhere I went, and I would draw using the “stippling effect” to create shading in my works. In my quest to bring these drawings to life and colour onto canvas, the dots emerged. In the beginning, I used dots to create detail and pattern on my bold paintings. I loved this part of the process and continued to add more dots with each piece until eventually, they were completely covered.

Is your artwork Australian Aboriginal?

No, my artwork is not part of the Contemporary Australian Aboriginal art movement. I am Australian, but my use and intent of applying the technique of dots are different than Australian Aboriginal art. I do not use their themes or stories to tell of the Dreamtime and their sacred ways. For my artwork, the dot technique is purely decorative and for visual effect, used in place of brush strokes. Dots are found in many cultures around the world such as the dot covered sculptures called Alebrijes in Mexico, Indonesia, Africa, and in the European Pointillist Movement, which began in 1880.

What inspires your artwork?

I draw my inspiration from life around me. Nature is my greatest muse, and it influences every piece of my art I create. Whether it be flora and fauna, animals, the glorious changing of the seasons, a sunset, the ocean, the phases of the moon, the stars at night… the inspiration is endless. Art is my own special and unique way of documenting my life journey.

 
 

General

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Do you teach workshops?

Not at this stage but I do hope to get back into teaching in the future. I do have some YouTube videos showing me at work here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEA7kpVN29ohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apeEdFVPdXE

Do you have a studio I can visit?

I work from a home studio, and at this time it is not open to the general public.

Is your artwork available for Liscencing?

Absolutely! To discuss your ideas further, please send an email to hello@elspethmclean.com.

I’d love an original, do you do commissions?

Not at this time. Rather, I am focusing my energies on nurturing my imagination, gallery and show participation, and some extra special upcoming projects (Be the first to hear about them by signing up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page!).

Why are all Originals and Stones sold out on your website?

Due to the intricate nature of my original pieces, they’re incredibly time-consuming to create. Each work of art is unique and hand-painted by only me. Since going viral in 2015, demand for my art has increased significantly. I do my very best to create for the wonderful people who are interested in my art while maintaining a healthy sense of balance in my life.

How can I find out when Original art will be available to purchase?

I recommend signing up for my email newsletter on the bottom of this page (you’ll be the first to know!). Alternatively, you can periodically check the Stones page of this website, where I maintain a calendar of upcoming original art sale dates. I also make these announcements on my Instagram and Facebook pages (direct links below). Unfortunately, I cannot reserve, hold or lay by any artworks.

Do you wholesale your work?

Thank you for your interest! At this stage, no, but I plan to do so in the future. If you’d like to be notified when I offer this, please send us an email to introduce yourself and your shop at hello@elspethmclean.com.

Can I use your art as a logo for my business, or can you design me a logo?

I am not currently licensing existing artwork or creating new artwork for logos or business branding.

Can I use your art on a poster for an event I am holding?

If you are interested in using my art for any marketing or promotional purposes, please contact us at hello@elspethmclean.com. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, based on business ethos. Depending on the nature of your event and the use of my art, special event liscencing fees begin around $200 USD.

Can I share your art on my social media?

In the spirit of sharing beautiful and inspiring things on social media, please do! In the spirit of promoting or advertising your business or event, please don’t. When sharing, please be sure my name, Elspeth McLean, is clearly identified as the artist and that I am tagged appropriately.

 
 

Stones

 
 

All stones have been collected legally and with permission. Mandala Stones are purely decorative and are not a toy. Please be mindful around displaying them with small children around.

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Where do you find such round stones?

My husband (Adam) and I spend hours on the beach searching for these perfectly round stones. We estimate that between the two of us, we gather around 10-15 stones per hour.

Do you sell unpainted round stones so that I can paint some myself?

No. Discovering the stone to paint is part of the fun and the journey! It may be as close as your own backyard.

When did you start painting Mandala Stones?

On the 10th of April 2013. What a beautiful day!

How many stones/pendants are available on sale date?

This number varies, ranging anywhere from 15-25 pieces.

How long does it take you to create a stone?

Depending on the size and intricacy of the piece, 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.

How much does a Mandala Stone Cost?

Prices begin at around $100 USD and go up from there, depending on the style and intricacy of the stone. Sizes range from 3.5cm up to 10cm in diameter. 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.

How do I care for my Mandala Stone or Pendant?

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 and should never be submerged in water, washed with water or left outside. I also recommend that you do not keep Mandala Stones in areas such areas of moisture such as the bathroom or kitchen. Do not display in areas that are exposed to prolonged direct sunlight. Use a dry cloth to gently clean any dust/dirt from your stone. While the tactile texture of the stone is lovely to touch, please refrain from handling too much. You may want to occasionally brighten up the silver of your pendant with a polish cloth (just make sure not to polish the painted areas).

Can I commission a Mandala Stone as a gift or to signify a special event?

Not at this time. Rather, I am focusing my energies on nurturing my imagination, gallery and show participation, and some extra special upcoming projects (Be the first to hear about them by signing up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page!).

Can I be added to a waiting list to purchase a stone?

At this time, I do not offer a waiting list, nor do I reserve orders for special events.

How secure are Pendant Stones in their silver setting?

Very. Pendants are created in collaboration with my jeweller and friend, Jake Grant. He has 20+ years experience in the jewellery industry (he even made the wedding bands for my husband and me!). Jake carves a groove into the side of the stone where he then wraps wire to finish the piece and create a loop for a chain to go through. Because the wire wrap fits neatly into the carved groove, it makes it practically impossible to pull out of its fitting.

What do I hang my pendant from?

Each pendant comes with an 18” and 1.5mm thick silver-plated snake chain, featuring a Lobster Clasp.

 
 

Payment, Shipping & Returns

All orders ship from British Columbia, Canada via Canada Post.

 
 
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What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards and Paypal.

Will my order come with a tracking number and insurance?

Canadian and USA orders- a tracking number and full insurance are included. International orders- You have the choice of fully insuring and tacking your order for an additional flat fee of $25 (calculated at checkout). *Please note- orders containing only postcards/gift cards do not come with a tracking number, as this is not a service Canada Post offers at an affordable price.

When will my order ship & how long will it take to receive?

Orders ship within 1-5 business days. Delivery times vary depending on your location. While shipping times are not guaranteed, they average as follows: Canada- 2-7 business days USA- 6-12 business days International- 10-15 business days

Expect longer delivery times around the Holidays. International orders may experience further delays due to Customs procedures, which are out of our control.

Will my order incur any duty/tax/brokerage fees upon delivery?

All Canadian sales are subject to 5% GST. All British Columbia sales are subject to 7% GST. Orders to Canada and USA do not receive any fees upon delivery. Every country has a unique tax/duty policy. Please contact your local postal system to obtain this information. Recipients are responsible for any duty/tax and brokerage fees as these are not included in shipping costs. The value of your shipment will be declared honestly and accurately.

Do you offer gift-wrapping?

Apart from Postcards and Cards, all orders are automatically gift wrapped! If you would like your Paper Goods gift-wrapped, please leave a note in the comments area your order. If you would like to include a note with your gift, please specify this as well!

Help! I put in the wrong address.

Please send an email to help@elspethmclean.com as soon as possible. We’re happy to make corrections if the error is caught before shipment. If the item has already shipped, you will be responsible for forwarding the item to your correct address. We do not assume any responsibility for lost parcels if an incorrect address was given at the time of order.

Why do you require my phone number in my order?

Customs forms typically require this information in the event you need to be contacted regarding any issues with your shipment. Your phone number will not be used for any other purposes and will not be shared.

Help! My order is damaged/lost.

If your order is lost or damaged and you purchased insurance, please send an email to help@elspethmclean.com. A replacement item/s will be sent, and a claim will be opened with Canada Post. The claim will be initiated on our end but will be your responsibility to follow through with it. In the event your item is damaged, you will be required to provide photos of the damage to both the item and the packaging. If your order is lost or damaged and insurance/tracking option was not purchased, we will not take responsibility or offer a replacement. Note: tracking and insurance are automatically included for Canada and USA orders.

Can I cancel an order?

We’ll gladly process cancellations that are received before order shipment. Orders already shipped are not eligible for cancellation. To request a cancellation, email help@elspethmclean.com.

Can I return/exchange an item?

Due to the hand-made quality of my items, all sales are final. If you receive the wrong order or need to initiate an insurance claim due to damage, please email help@elspethmclean.com.

Why is your shop currency USD when you are in Canada?

Since the majority of our orders come from the United States, we list our prices in USD currency.