Old town Lijiang in the Yunnan Province of China earns its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site easily, with its cobbled streets, colorfully adorned and wooden buildings, and orderly system of waterways and bridges (earning it the nickname of a Chinese Venice). Adding to the magic, the town’s backdrop is the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, visible clearly on cloudless days.
The subject: While old town Lijiang is incredibly beautiful, be forewarned – in peak season and many other times of the year, it will attract throngs of tourists – mostly Chinese. It is not unlike visiting Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco – there is plenty of history, and beauty and an almost unimaginable concentration of shops and vendors. The maze of streets and canals invite you to get happily lost, and lost you will get as I did amid literally hundreds of shops, restaurants, and guesthouses. There are textures of color and sound (like the constant beating of drums and sound of running water) everywhere you walk.
The inspiration: It was while wandering old town Lijiang with iPad in hand that I became fascinated with the colors and textures of an old restaurant with the word “whiskey” emblazoned over its windows. I am not really sure what street I was on as I had been wandering for several hours in this tangled world of artistic inspiration.
Artist’s tools: I quickly used my colored pencils in the Procreate app to create the outlines of my artwork in old town Lijiang. Using a combination of various oil pastel pencils and watercolor brushes, as well as special texture brushes available in Procreate, I worked with my Apple pencil to capture the color and contrasts in front of me.