Gail Timmerman-Vaughan


About lichen

Lichen is the result of an alliance between two very different types of organisms, a fungus (or more than one) and a single celled alga. This association produces beautiful, natural forms that clothe surfaces such as rocks, soil or plants with sculptural and interesting shapes and colours.

In the lichen symbiosis the fungal partner provides structure and sexual reproduction while the alga provides food through photosynthesis and sometimes nitrogen fixation. In New Zealand we have one of the richest lichen floras in the world, with around 1000 described species in over 200 genera.

My love for the beauty of lichens comes from observing them in the New Zealand environment as I have wandered with my backpack, sketch book and camera along valleys, up hillsides to the bush edge and into our alpine environments. Through painting and drawing I can explore the sculptural shapes of lichen while sometimes (but not always!) enlivening with the use of a vibrant colour palate.

Haematomma alpinum

Haematomma alpinum growing on dead Melicytus alpinus, 2017, watercolour, 130 x 390 mm (giclee available)

Lichen from the D'Urville River

A lichen from the D'Urville river valley, species unknown, 2013, watercolour, 527 x 390 mm

Xanthoparmelia painting

A rock lichen (Xanthoparmelia sp.), 2017, watercolour, 437 x 520 mm (giclee available)

Menegazzia painting in circle format

A Menegazzia species, substrate mountain beech, 2015, watercolour, 282 mm diameter (giclee available)

lichen from Natashas garden

Lichens from Natasha's garden, 2012, coloured pencil, 207 x 380 mm

Hypogymnia watercolour

Tube lichen (Hypogymnia sp.), 2014, watercolour, 309 x 545 mm (giclee available)

A rock lichen

A rock lichen (species unknown), Mt Barrosa, Canterbury, 2012, watercolour, 445 x 318 mm

painting of Menegazzia species

Menegazzia species, 2016, watercolour, 420 x 313 mm