Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lichen and Ladybirds

This is a watercolour and gouache painting of Lichens. They are quite fascinating to study. When you look closely at Lichens you see the most amazing shapes and patterns. I decided to magnify the lichens so the structures could be seen clearly. 

These Lichens were found growing on a branch of an apple tree, in the orchard of Powis Castle Gardens in Wales. I included the Ladybirds (Exochomus quadripustulatus) to add a sense of scale.

Lichens are a partnership between two simple organisms, a fungus and one or more algae. They grow together in a symbiotic relationship, each helping the other to survive. They are very long lived and a single colony of Lichens may be centuries old. They are also incredibly tough. They can stand very high temperatures but can also cope with freezing conditions, which would kill most other organisms.

Lichens are present throughout the year. The colours of lichens can be so varied, it depends whether they are growing in deep shadow or bright sunshine.

Lichens thrive in damp mild areas away from the glare of the sun.

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