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Diary

Venice Art Trip Preparations

Sophia Khan

Palazzo Dario ~ a playful façade along the Grand Canal

Palazzo Dario ~ a playful façade along the Grand Canal

It's been an exciting and busy last few weeks for me as I prepare for my upcoming trip to paint in Venice. One of the things that I have been doing creatively, is experimenting with some new paint colors and techniques, and gathering and sorting all the art supplies I would like to take along. I've also been indulging in books about or inspired by Venice, and about traveling solo in general, which is my favorite way to explore other parts of the world.

And so today, sharing some of those watercolors and some glimpses of my 'preparations' for Venice.

I also want to take this time, to dearly thank everybody who has reserved an original Venice watercolor from this trip. It will bring me so much joy to bring back a part of my creative journey for you, and I so look forward to my painting explorations while I am there. Thank you, thank you so very much.

(Reservations have now been sold out, but I do look forward to having some lovely new Venice inspired art for my shop when I return).

Beneath the balcony ~ a charming façade in Venice

Beneath the balcony ~ a charming façade in Venice

Below are some of the art supplies I'll be bringing with me: a fresh new travel palette, my favorite watercolors, a small travel watercolor set for cafes and restaurants, various sized watercolor pads and sketchbooks, my favorite watercolor brushes, a few new tools to experiment with....

And also a few small notebooks, as I have a daily practice of writing first thing in the morning, and before going to bed at night. I so look forward to bringing that practice along with me and to seeing how Venice inspires...

In the map below, I've started highlighting some preliminary ideas of places I would love to paint...All the while leaving much room for spontaneous discovery and inspiration, while I am there!

For now, back to my studio, back to dreaming and joyfully putting some 'finishing touches' on my preparations, and yes, brushing up on Italian!

Wishing you my very best, from my corner of the world to yours, and looking forward to reconnecting once I return from Venice!

Xx,
Sophia

Reserve "Your Venice" Art Experience

Sophia Khan

Dear Friends,

I am so very excited to share that I will be embarking on a painting trip to Venice, my most beloved and inspiring muse, very soon. 

My first trip there, as an architecture student, opened my mind and eyes to a entirely different way of approaching the design process. But what Venice gave me, went much farther than just that. It gave me a deeper understanding of myself. As I walked its maze, I came to know and appreciated different parts of myself, such as my introversion. This part of me, I previously saw as somewhat of a flaw, but that all went away soon after I found myself in Venice. There I was, in the most magical corner of beautiful Italy, enjoying my time to the fullest, being adventurous, and carefree, in a city that celebrates just that.

But this trip will be much different than my others, in that I will focus primarily on painting while I am there. And so I am so pleased to be offering a gift from Venice, for you to bring into your home.

~ BECOME OF PATRON OF 'YOUR VENICE' ~

I am so excited to share that I will be taking reservations for a limited number of original watercolors. These works of art will be painted en plein air in Venice, for you to own a piece of the beauty of the city, painted in all its glory.

They are priced at $300 USD, and will be 8" x 10" original watercolors.

And because you may know, how much I also enjoy writing, you will also receive a personalized hand written letter, where I will share my experience of the city, and of painting there. Each painting will also include a beautifully designed, signed and numbered Certificate of Authenticity, designed exclusively for these select Venice watercolors.

The exact painting subject will be a delightful surprise for you, but it will be Venice, and it will be beautiful and colorful, with the signature emotive and expressive aesthetic of my work! If there is a special someone in your life who is a Venetophile, it would also make for a wonderful gift....

The uppermost watercolor, of the glorious Piazza San Marco, was painted when I was in the midst of preparing for and anticipating my trip. I hope a part of my joy and excitement has come through in the colors and brushwork....And I am so looking forward to painting in Venice and bringing back a piece of its beauty for some of you!

Wishing you a beautiful day and my very best,

Xx
Sophia

Cairo Bliss

Sophia Khan

Memories of Cairo ~ watercolor
copyright © Sophia Khan

Although I have never been to Egypt, I have an incredibly near and dear friend who once lived there. And so for me, my connection to this place, my inspiration came through a person. I chose the warm color palette, subconsciously and intuitively, as I often chose my colors. But knowing that this person is so dear to me, the warmth is all very appropriate.

The new year for me, started slowly, quietly. In fact I am still feeling my way through this time of year that always bring about a sense of being renewed along with the excitement and anticipation of new experiences. It's always a time of reflection for me. Why not tap into the energy of the new and see how that can manifest in beautiful ways in one's life. It's also a time of planning things for my art, my work, my business, this world of mine that I am so grateful for, that enlivens me, that enriches me, in endless ways.

And so a moment of thanks, to you, for joining me in this journey, in my art, my words, and my wanderlust. I am always thrilled to write to you.

And being that Valentine's Day is nearing us, I would love to share some new works in my online are shop (links below) that would make beautiful gifts for someone special in your life who enjoys travel, art, and the craft of celebrating the two together artfully.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend, and my very best,

Xx ~ Sophia

Venetian Night Watercolor

Sophia Khan

Watercolor on Arches paper

Watercolor on Arches paper

copyright © Sophia Khan

In celebration of the upcoming holidays, I am excited to be offering complimentary shipping on prints, originals, and notecards in my online shop ~ see link above (valid for purchases $50 and up, and including International shipping as well ~ for a limited time only)

Today's watercolor is my first Venetian night scene, and even though I don't paint night scenes very often, I had a lot of fun putting paint to paper on this one. And then these thoughts....

In Venice, like no other place that I have been, the city 'transforms' itself at nightfall. What was once so in the day, changes at night and what the night brings forth, the day can never manifest.

There is mystery at night, but it is never one that feels unsafe. No, rather it welcomes a sense of adventure; that same feeling that lured us into the city in the first place.

And it is within this dark that its spaces speak to us eve more. It is in this dark that we begin to see the Piazza anew, and we can now feel our very own presence within it, as the crowds begin to diminish. Indeed, even we become more beautiful here in Venice, at nightfall.

Until next time, wishing you all a beautiful week ahead, and my very best,

Xx,
Sophia

Painting with Passion

Sophia Khan

work in progress, of the Ca' d'Oro in Venice

"It was the inevitable destiny of Venice to be painted, and painted with passion..."~ Henry James, Italian Hours

The above quote speaks to me on so many fronts....Not only does it refer to how the city so beautifully and effortlessly makes itself a muse to so many artists, but for me it also refers to how one singe place, one single moment, within the city can become a subject for me to paint not only once, but again and again. It is as if different parts of my travel memories emerge with each new painting, loving the same subject into life with my paintbrushes slowly over time.

Long time, and even new followers of my work, will recognize this as my single most loved subject to paint, the Ca' d'Oro, situated along the Grand Canal in Venice. In fact, a pleasant little surprise it was for me to learn that this palace, which translates into "House of Gold" was originally knows as Palazzo Santa Sofia.

If you haven't already had a look, I dig deeper into sharing my thoughts on painting Venice and my personal travels and journey there, on the beautiful blog of author Saxon Henry here.

~

I'll be happily painting away in my studio, with some exciting new subjects, one of which happens to be an Italian night scene ~ which I typically never paint, but am excited for how it is turning out so far and will look forward to sharing...

Until next time, wishing you my very best,

Xx, 

Sophia


Colors of Venezia

Sophia Khan

Watercolor on Arches paper

Watercolor on Arches paper

Colors of Venezia
copyright © Sophia Khan

You many recognize this Venetian facade as one I paint often ~ and indeed will continue to paint as I find it so very beautiful and rhythmic, with a touch of mystery and intrigue. It's one of those places that lends itself to my loose, interpretive way of painting architecture. 

Shared here is actually one of my earliest watercolors of the palace. Painting this facade, just as painting any other place, is a way for me to celebrate the beauty of a site, my memories of being there, and what I remember most. And so each painting holds the gems of my travel experiences.

With Venice, here I am thinking of contrasts; of dark and light, of vibrant colors and pure white, of dreamlike spaces and beauty floating between sky and water, and these words...

Venice is a Contrast

Venice is a contrast
The roads we drive on
The land we walk on
all disappear
and what emerges before us
is water, lightness, a feeling as if we too, along with the city, are floating
in a dream of a place that has both always existed,
and has just come to life when we arrived to admire its glory

Venice is a contrast
From a world where we know how to get somewhere
Here it is best to lay map aside
lay our notions of place, arrival, space, and time aside
And let the silent lure of the city, the maze, guide us by freeing us

Venice is a contrast
What is possible, what we can experience, what we know, is all contained within the roof of our lives, our homes, our beliefs.
Here, in the city of Venice
We are called, lead, guided to believe that anything is possible and soon learn that indeed it is.

Color of Venezia ~ the above watercolor ~ is available as a limited edition archival print, in my online shop here.

Let's Paint the Beauty of Italy

Sophia Khan

watercolor on Arches paper

watercolor on Arches paper

An Invitation from Doorway No. 48 ~ Ferrandina, Italy
copyright © Sophia Khan

I am excited to be sharing my latest watercolor workshop. "Let's paint the beauty of Italy" is a unique online watercolor workshop I will be teaching, that can be joined from anywhere in the world. I'll be teaching my techniques for painting some of my favorite Italian subjects, in a fun, engaging, not intimidating, yet structured environment. Italy has been a favorite subject for many artists past and present, and so I am thrilled to be offering this. 

By the end of the class you will have painted two watercolors inspired by Italy, and will have learned many exciting watercolor techniques that create beautiful results, and are also a lot of fun to work with.

For more info and the introductory rate for joining, see the link below:

Fountain of Bliss ~ Bologna, Italy

Sophia Khan

watercolor on Arches paper

watercolor on Arches paper

Fountain of Bliss, Bologna, Italy | painted without a pencil sketch | copyright © Sophia Khan

A dreamy, inviting watercolor celebrating the beauty of a courtyard within the Basilica of Santa Stefano.

Dear Friends, 

No matter where I visit courtyards, in lands East or West, they always convey much of the same beautiful sense of serenity and inner calm. There is a universal love for what the courtyard 'contains', for what it exudes, for how one feels within its presence. And they are all the more inviting with the element of water.

This courtyard is in the Basilica di Santo Stefano, in the city of Bologna, Italy. A moment of repose from the movement outside, of people strolling the many lovely arcades that line the city.

With this watercolor, as with much of my art, the idea was not about a photorealistic representation, but more about the moment of encounter, one's presence within the space, in a manner that celebrates the qualities that make it unique and render it unforgettable to the traveler.

For this weekend, I will be offering complimentary shipping on this original watercolor (International shipping qualifies as well :~) See link here. 

Wishing you a beautiful weekend ahead ~ and may it be filled with much beauty, delight, and wonder...

Xx,
Sophia

Your Watercolor Travel Memento

Sophia Khan

I am loving the new subjects that are emerging in my studio these days ~ monasteries ~ doors ~ courtyards ~ streets signs...yes sometimes even street signs are beautiful enough to paint.

While many of these are subject from my own travels, much of my joy as an artist comes from celebrating the travel memories of others. The places we travel bring us alive in ways that familiar surroundings never quite do. And I think it is that emotion, that adventure, serenity, and joy, that we remember most when we think back to our travels.

I wanted to share here, that pricing for commissioning your Watercolor Travel Memento will be going up soon. 

If you have been wanting to have your favorite travel memory painted by me, or created as a bespoke gift for someone special from their own photograph ~ perhaps an anniversary gift for a honeymoon, or early holiday gift plan to become a beautiful family heirloom ~ now would be a great time to book.

The link to book at the current rates is below ~

Dreamy bridges of Persia & Italy

Sophia Khan

watercolor on Arches paper

watercolor on Arches paper

Persian bridge, Unfettered thirst
copyright © Sophia Khan

"Having drunk entire seas, we remain quite surprised that our lips are just as dry as the shore, and we continue to seek out the sea...without seeing that our lips are the shore and we ourselves the sea." ~ Farid al-Din Attar, Persian mystic poetic

Some of the most beautiful and dynamic spaces I have encountered in my travels are those that serve multiple functions. A simple example would be the piazzas that are found throughout Italy. These served as containers for rituals around religious and civic ceremonies, and as gathering places for evening strolls, or passeggiatas. Many are lined with restaurants and contain seating for eating outdoors. Spontaneous activities such as performances, and music and also abound.

Another space where this is beautifully done, is with bridges; an example being the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. More than just a means of connecting one part of the city to the other, across the Arno River, it serves as an urban shopping experience, with small shops lining the bridge. In the evenings, during the warmer months, small musical performances often take place here.  I used to love taking a walk over to this bridge when I lived in Florence, to engage with the crowds, music, and romantic ambiance of all the beautiful views of the river.

In the city of Isfahan, the Si-o-Se Bridge similarly serves as both a stopping point or place of arrival, in addition to its primary function of being a means of crossing water. Within its brick arches, there is a lovely and quaint little tea shop, serving delicate sweets, hot chai in glass teacups, and many delightful flavors of hookah. I remember crawling into my own little niche with a window view, (pictured below) to enjoy a bit of a break afters spending some time sketching the bridge. A German couple seated nearby almost mistook me for a local.

My niche within the Si-o-Se bridge in Isfahan

My niche within the Si-o-Se bridge in Isfahan

One of the things I loved about this space was that it felt like a celebration of the self. There really is only enough room for one or two people to crawl up onto the cushions to enjoy the delights and the lovely views. And being that I love solo travel, it has become one of my simplest and most favorite travel memories.

I would love to hear about one of a favorite place you have discovered during your own travels, if you are so inclined to share. I love hearing from readers...