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Filtering by Tag: book

Distance & Desire ~ A Valentine's Day Venetian Art and Book Giveaway

Sophia Khan

watercolor on Arches paper

watercolor on Arches paper

Distance and Desire, Venice

painted without a pencil sketch
copyright © Sophia Khan

Today I am so very excited to be sharing a beautiful twofold giveaway.  This is in celebration of the upcoming Valentine's Day, and in the spirit of one of the most beloved cities for the mysteries of love, the beauty of rapture, and the lure of romance and the unknown.

And as this day for cherishing your loved one's nears, thoughts of longing, thoughts of desire - distance and desire -appear on my easel and in my diary...


Distance and desire

Distance is sacred because it creates longing and desire
It makes the moment of pleasure in the arms of a beloved city all the more enthralling
Tears of joy can only flow after an ocean of waiting is traversed
And in the end, one never does 'leave.' A place becomes one with the emotion that it awoke within us.
And it is this emotion that we seek to recreate in our everyday lives back home.
We get close, but we remain in essence, distant.  And in that space, emerges the beauty of Longing; emerges the beauty of Desire...


I paint to remember, I paint to celebrate that distance, to celebrate that encounter; to know, to listen, to be closer to my memories and to the essence of place. As such, a painting, at times paints itself. With this watercolor, the color of desire, the color of romance, became a suggestion of an intimate encounter. A dialogue that secretly took place between the viewer and a mysterious person who, just moments ago, walked away from a balcony of the Ca' d'Oro on the Grand Canal. Or perhaps, a dialogue about to take place; a moment of anticipation. And so it celebrates much of what is experienced within the city itself. 

But art is not solitary.  I paint to share the experience of a place, the emotion, and the encounter, with others. And just the same, I often read the words of others, to revel in the experience writers have of places I myself hold dear. It is no surprise my bookshelves are filled with travel memoirs, travel essays, architectural history, and travel sketchbooks of other artists. And along the way has come a book, an experience really, that speaks of this 'distance and desire' as it evokes the emotion of Venice. 

When I received the book, Dream of Venice, and opened it up to the very first page and image, I had to simply stop and sit myself down. Before me, there was intensely evocative and overwhelming beauty. There was mystery, intrigue, a suggestion of so many layers of stories, layers of everyday lives. I gave this image, this moment, the time it so beautifully asked for, before being able to move on. 

As I continued over time, to read the prose and wander through the layered imagery, filled with a kaleidoscope of emotions and reflections, I am brought closer to the state of my own longing, the state of my own desire for Venice.   Each moment, each emotion elicited in this book, has a depth and richness that only Venice can inspire. And they all lyrically come together to form the concerto of a dream that is as much about Venice as it is about encounter. 

And so experiencing this book, reminds me so much of experiencing Venice. How my footsteps stopped before the overwhelm and beauty of the city when I first saw it, as I stood awe-struck before being able to move ahead any further. How I wondered how so much beauty had suddenly come upon me and from where, once I entered Piazza San Marco. There is anticipation and a moment of astonishing beauty, that nothing could have prepared me for. And the rest of the maze of the city-a myriad of curiosity, mystery, discoveries, elicited emotions, and delightful surprises about the city, and about myself.

Artists, writers, and makers hope most of all to stir emotion. I hope that my watercolor, 'Distance and Desire' conveys some of what has moved me so, within this city, and am so thrilled to be enjoying a new 'place', the book Dream of Venice, where the wonder and complexity of Venice is so rapturously evoked. 

I had never thought of a book as an experience before. As such, it is one's own personal encounter with this book that will bring out its true gems for each unique reader-just as the city will for each traveler. And so I am thrilled that the publisher, Bella Figura Publications, is kindly offering to gift a complimentary copy of this book, in celebration of sharing their love for this remarkable city on Valentine's Day.

Dream of Venice. Bella Figura Publications. 2014. Photography by Charles Christopher, edited by JoAnn Locktov, forward by Frances Mayes

The winner will also be receiving a set of (5) Greeting Cards, with envelopes, of my watercolor 'Distance creates Desire' as shown above. These can be secretly tucked in as a card within a beautiful gift, used to write a love letter or poem on the back, gifted to an Italophile, or framed as a small print. 

This competition is now closed to entries.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the acclaimed new book featured here, Dream of Venice, it is available on Amazon here.

If you would like cards, prints, or the original watercolor of the featured art, Distance & Desire, they are available at the below links:

Please note that due to regulations, this competition is only open to US residents, ages 18 and up.  Please see terms and conditions below.  To enter the competition, simply do one or more of the below steps.  (Each step counts as an additional entry and will increase your chances of winning).  Then, leave a comment below this blog post letting us know which steps you have completed, so we can know how many entries to create in your name. 

The options to enter are one or more of the following + leaving a comment as described above:

  • Subscribe to Sophia Khan Studio's watercolor inspiration journal.  (Link to subscribe here).
  • Follow Dream of Venice on Twitter:
  • Follow Sophia Khan Studio on Twitter:
  • Tweet this offer, either by composing your own personal tweet or using the 'Share' feature below the post and include the following hashtags #giveaway #venice #valentinesday #book #art.  (Please remember the hashtags will need to be inserted within the automated tweet-you can simply copy/paste them from this post).
  • Follow Sophia Khan Studio on Pinterest:
  • Pin the image of the book onto a Pinterest board, using the 'Share' feature below the post.

(If you are already subscribed to my newsletter and/or already follow the Twitter account(s) prior to this contest, you can still enter.  Just let me know in the comments).

I look forward to hearing from you and wish you all much luck and lots of fun with the entries! (Do remember that to complete the entry process you must leave a comment below indicating which steps you have completed so I can make the correct number of entries in your name).

This contents runs now through February 13th, 2015.  The winner will be chosen at random and announced in the comments section of this blog post, on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2015.

terms and conditions

This contest is open to US residents, ages 18 and up. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. The contest runs now through February 13th, 2015. This contest is sponsored by Sophia A Khan and Bella Figura Publications. There will be one winner chosen at random on february 14, 2015. the winner will be announced in the comments section of this blog, with the name provided and will be contacted through the email address they provide. UPON BEING CONTACTED, WE ASK THAT THE WINNER PROVIDE A VALID US ADDRESS, WITHIN THREE DAYS, WHERE WE MAY SHIP THE PRIZES. The odds of winning are dependent upon the number of entries. Entries will be accepted as described in the steps outlined in the blog post above.We reserve the right to void the winning entry, if it does not comply with our terms and conditions. In the event that this should happen, we reserve the right to choose another winner at random. The greeting cards will be shipped by Sophia A Khan, and the book will be shipped by Bella Figura Publications.  The set of greeting cards have a retail value of $24 and the book has a retail value of $26. Prizes will be shipped to US addresses only. Affiliates, employees, and family members of both sponsors are ineligible. Sophia A Khan and Bella Figura Publications are not liable for any loss that may be incurred from entering or winning this contest, or for any damage to prizes incurred during shipment.