When I arrived here 2 weeks ago, I checked into the nearest hotel, and headed straight for the old town, hoping to find a place to stay for awhile. Well, for the next two months.
Within a half hour I wandered into a coffee shop and met Jason & Joanne, a dynamic Taiwanese couple who, of course, spoke fluent Mandarin. They’d spent a decade in NYC, so their English was great, too. It turns out they knew just the right place for me to set up my own studio in Lijiang.
This is where I’m painting the small-scale ink illustrations for my new book, The Paper Apprentice. I made my trademark chaotic brand of organization within a day of moving in.
It borders a 200-year old courtyard built in traditional Naxi style.
Bats for good luck surround a mosaic of ancient-style Chinese characters.
The oldest part of the complex was originally built nearly 200 years ago. [And rebuilt after the many earthquakes since, incorporating original materials each time. The other buildings are newer.]
Wood ceilings over everything. As you can see I sleep under this bizarre lamp of exploding silk.
Oh did I mention the place is well under US$300 a month? Next month I’ll be staying in a bigger studio, to work on larger paintings, for less $.
We’re up a hill from Sifangjie, the main town square that’s jammed with tourists 18 hours a day. I’ve been lucky to find a quiet place to paint under pressure to meet upcoming deadlines. And learn the infuriatingly minute distinctions between different tones in Mandarin.
More photos on Flickr here