Gail Timmerman-Vaughan

lichen art

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. The consequence of this association is the production of beautiful, natural forms that can clothe surfaces such as rocks, soil or plants with strongly 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 are fortunate to 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 years of observing them in the New Zealand environment as I have wandered with my backpack, sketch book and camera along river beds, up hillsides to the bush edge and into our alpine environments.

Haematomma alpinum

Haematomma alpinum growing on dead Melicytus alpinus, 2017, watercolour, 130 x 390 mm

Selected for the Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition, Auckland Botanic Gardens, 30 March - 1 July 2018.


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


Menegazzia painting in circle format

A Menegazzia species, substrate mountain beech, 2015, watercolour, 282 mm diameter


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


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