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Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business ( built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
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Whiskey and color in old town Lijiang artwork created on an iPad.

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.

A print of this digital painting on your wall is the next best thing to being there yourself…as well as a great gift for anyone in your life who appreciates artwork inspired by travel. Click on any image below to go directly to my online store to purchase prints, gift cards, coffee cups and more.

Map of China

In the map below, pins mark the location of all the sites mentioned in our articles on China. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name and any additional information.