Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What Makes an Artist Great?

When it comes to art, be it writing, drawing, or music, what is it that makes an artist great? Besides training, natural talent, and experience? There's another word that would qualify. And that word is NITPICKY! Being NITPICKY is what separates a great artist from an average one.

Being NITPICKY means an artist won't settle for work that could be BETTER. Being NITPICKY means the artist strives for the absolute BEST work that is humanly possible! Being NITPICKY means an artist wants his or her work to be PERFECT.

If an artist didn't care about his or her work being as best as it could be, then he or she wouldn't be NITPICKY. That kind of an artist will settle for mediocrity. So yes, I'm nitpicky. At least when it comes to my art. Whether it's a drawing, a painting, a novel, or my book's cover designs, I'm NITPICKY. And I'm NITPICKY because I'm a perfectionist. Because I do want every piece of art I am associated with to be as good as it can possibly be.

Does that mean I succeed at being perfect in everything I do? Of course not. But I strive for it. At least in my art. And as a teacher I tell my students that, even though no person can be perfect, as the old saying goes, no one is perfect...it doesn't mean their art can't be perfect. Art is one of the few things in this world that CAN be perfect. But only if the artist is NITPICKY.

Okay. That's the lesson for today. The school year is ready to start. And my focus this year will be great artists are NITPICKY! I never used that word before. But it's a good one.

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