They had filled out and were glowing like a childhood Enid Blyton fantasy. Since then lichen paintings have filled the gaps, allowing me to indulge my need for rich colour and the way in which natural rhythms, cycles translate into pattern, on a macro and a micro scale.

They occupy a space that feels untouched by the real world; where I can participate in thousands of mini-relationships, each site-specific. The same lichen in light and in shadow will behave differently. Some colonise new territory, riding roughshod over all others. Others will carefully occupy spaces that are unwanted by occupants of the rock or bark. I am amused by their strong sense of belonging.

Once I saw lichens, they couldn't be unseen. Their essential form and growth patterns is something we all know, deep down inside where things are elemental.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Student Science says a lichen is an organism that consists of a fungus and an alga living together in a symbiotic relationship. The alga supplies nutrients by photosynthesis, while the fungus shades the alga from excessive sunlight and supplies water by absorbing water vapor from the air. Lichens often live on rocks and tree bark and can thrive in extreme environments, such as mountaintops and the polar regions.