a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  reddog on Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:39 pm

beautiful trees. I question a couple of the container choices though.

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  dick benbow on Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:58 pm

I hear what your saying about the pots, but to be honest I never noticed them as i viewed the display.I was so involved with the trees themselves, that was all I was seeing. It wasn't until I got home and was loading the photos that i began to wonder why he had made some of his choices. Wouldn't it be grande if we had an opportunity to get his feedback on the subject.

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  ang3lfir3 on Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:14 pm

dick benbow wrote:here's the maple and as i count some how we ended up with a baker's dozen (13) Smile
More is always better with bonsai!

dick benbow wrote:I hear what your saying about the pots, but to be honest I never noticed them as i viewed the display.I was so involved with the trees themselves, that was all I was seeing. It wasn't until I got home and was loading the photos that i began to wonder why he had made some of his choices. Wouldn't it be grande if we had an opportunity to get his feedback on the subject.

well Dan doesn't use computers ... never has needed to... probably never really will ... and that's ok Smile

I can on the other hand give you some insight into the pot choices. It is something we discuss regularly at Elandan. But before I get too far down that road I ask that you do one thing... look back on them and look for some common aesthetic (because its there) .... pay special attention to the mt hemlock, the cedar, and the trident... ok go look .... I'll wait here ...




so hopefully you got a chance to go check them out again .... so what did you notice about them??

Did you notice that almost all of them are round? or square? they don't try to force the viewer to see the tree from just one side ... the trees can be displayed from many angles and still look good so why force the tree to be seen from only one side? Dan often talks fondly about the idea of putting the trees on electric turntables to display them ... easily done with these pots ...

Did you notice that many of them are glazed?? and have conifers in them?? Did you notice that they are usually, a light blue(robins egg), medium green or white??
You might have also noticed that they all present a very Chinese feel to them .... lets start with the colors.... well... these are the colors Dan likes (pretty easy wasn't it?) ... and he happens to LOVE antique Chinese pots and has a rather nice collection of them ... he is most fond of white crackled glazes however (gift hint for all) .... now on to using glazed pots for conifers! ... This comes from Dan's appreciation for Chinese bonsai (pensai) ... the expressions are more free form and more true to the crazy gnarledness that nature can create .... Dan often spends a week or two in China with Diane as they travel and lead tours, during this time Dan always finds a way to sneak out and see a few bonsai gardens. Using glazed pots with conifers is not unusual in China and this is often the trips where Daniel purchases his pots.

many of the pot depths are chosen for horticultural reasons, the trees need less watering on hot days .... all 250+ bonsai at Elandan are watered by hand on the 6 acre property.

Dan's pot choices are often a source of peoples misunderstanding ... there is absolutely no interest in displaying the tree in a pot that meets some sort of rule or standard. Dan simply chooses the pot that he feels looks best with the tree and generally he will try to choose a round or square pot if possible ... there is actually little mystery behind the choices.... Smile they simply make him happy

He has often likened the idea of disliking the pot choices to disliking the frame on a painting ......

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  dick benbow on Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:22 pm

I appreciate, very much, your sharing with us and it does give a delightful understanding as to why he does what he does. the way you described the mentality, makes sense and the longer I'm involved with things japanese, the more I understand the bottom line of finding something that ultimately pleases yourself.

thank-you!

Smile

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container choice

Post  reddog on Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:58 pm

his container choice may reflect something differently in person. on the computer screen a couple of them just do not look right to me. just my opinion.

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  dick benbow on Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:12 pm

opinions always appreciated Smile Might just be my so-so photography skills...

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:23 pm

ang3lfir3 wrote:Dan's pot choices are often a source of peoples misunderstanding ... there is absolutely no interest in displaying the tree in a pot that meets some sort of rule or standard. Dan simply chooses the pot that he feels looks best with the tree and generally he will try to choose a round or square pot if possible ... there is actually little mystery behind the choices.... Smile they simply make him happy

He has often likened the idea of disliking the pot choices to disliking the frame on a painting ......


For the most part I REALLY like the pot choices. They may seem unconventional - but the bonsai are too and I think they work well together. And I have to say that's a nice collection of old Canton pots!

R

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Gary Swiech on Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:06 pm

ang3lfir3,

After reading Dan's book I have a question.

In the book, it says that Dan doesn't transplant his trees. That seemed a little strange to me. Does he or doesn't he repot and if he does how does he do it?



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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:25 pm

So I am duplicating the photos of trees that Dick took... On the Shore Pine I took the liberty of removing the one thing I wish was gone. As someone who has worked on this tree, I'm entitled to see it my own way... lol in fact it was the first tree Daniel ever put me to work on. But that's a different story.....

I thought seeing the trees from the lens of someone who knows these trees intimately might change the view for people. I have no issue with any of these pot choices myself... and not that I think seeing these will change anyone's mind... but the feel of the images is different, and so may offer something else to the viewer.


(Shore Pine - Pinus Contorta Contorta)


(Japanese Larch - Larix kaempferi)


(Alaskan Yellow Cedar - Callitropsis nootkatensis, formerly Chamaecyparis nootkatensis)


(Hinoki Cypress - Chamaecyparis obtusa)


(Mountain Hemlock - Tsuga mertensiana)


(Korean Hornbeam - Carpinus coreana)


(Japanese Black Pine - Pinus thunbergii)

Kindest regards,

Victrinia


Last edited by Victrinia Ridgeway on Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:10 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Added common and botanical names to the tree images.)

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  LSBonsai on Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:11 pm

Cool trees! I would love to know what type or larch those are, and their origin. They are impressive.

Victrinia Ridgeway wrote:So I am duplicating the photos of trees that Dick took... On the Shore Pine I took the liberty of removing the one thing I wish was gone. As someone who has worked on this tree, I'm entitled to see it my own way... lol in fact it was the first tree Daniel ever put me to work on. But that's a different story.....

I thought seeing the trees from the lens of someone who knows these trees intimately might change the view for people. I have no issue with any of these pot choices myself... and not that I think seeing these will change anyone's mind... but the feel of the images is different, and so may offer something else to the viewer.















Kindest regards,

Victrinia

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:19 pm

Only one is a Japanese Larch in the display... and I'm fairly certain it was grown from seed decades ago. I'm terribly fond of that tree myself. Cool

V

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  dick benbow on Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:14 pm

bout time we got a few decent pictures Smile !

you should share some stories about being a student of dan's.....especially if it involves the shore pine.

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:18 am

Not sure when I'll get that done for you Dick... but there are amusing little stories to tell about being a student to someone like Dan... He's not orthodox in the least, and no doubt some teachers will be shocked at his methods. But he has only one goal... find those who could become eagles in bonsai... skip the nonsense... and teach them to fly. Even if that occasionally involves a catapult. lol

Love that man.

V

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  ang3lfir3 on Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:25 am

Gary Swiech wrote:ang3lfir3,
After reading Dan's book I have a question.
In the book, it says that Dan doesn't transplant his trees. That seemed a little strange to me. Does he or doesn't he repot and if he does how does he do it?

Will does mention in the book that Daniel doesn't really repot the trees... this is still mostly true... he has started to repot some of the trees in the last few years... but this has really only needed to start happening because some of the trees had not been repoted in a few decades (some trees hadn't been repotted since the 70's [no joke]) ...
much of the repoting activity consists of removing a few inches of the root mass and lowering the tree ... sometimes it entails simply up potting the tree into a pot that is 1/2" wider .... the essence is that the trees become weaker and grow slower (development is not super fast) .... this helps keep the trees in stasis and makes them easier to maintain ... its not a technique for everyone... and Dan is even finding that as his desire to change the trees changes he needs more vigor ....


@Dick .... as my wife said .... Dan teaches in a very unorthodox way .... its been a journey that's for sure .... :p


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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  dick benbow on Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:21 am

thank-you both for being so helpful and knowledgeable and willing to share. i cracked up about the comment
catapulting as a method to lean to fly. I can picture that Smile

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First lessons...

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:46 am

It's funny, trying to think of how to best convey how this all came to be... me working with Daniel, eventually Eric... and now an additional trio of gentlemen all working with him. So much is unorthodox about how he approached working with me, and I've watched it evolve in certain ways over each successive person.

I'll start with how I met him, a story I've told here and there over the years... I got started in bonsai in 2005, but even as close as I was to Elandan my first mecca was the Pacific Rim. I have years of documented photographs from most every season... and I was so inspired by the perfect beauty of the trees. I think I was intimidated at first by the idea of Elandan... there was little to no chance I'd run into the legendary person of David DeGroot, but Daniel was known to haunt his own garden. That was sort of like being told I could walk into the recording studio of Sting... and watch him do a session. Uh yah... so not worthy.

But I went by myself one day... and was just captivated by the things I saw. It was nothing like what I saw in the Rim collection. There was no tidy, elegant, seemingly unattainable expression of beauty, only something wild and visceral that challenged the concepts of my as yet childlike appreciation.

In the Rim, though curated by one exceptional man, the job of a curator is to still honor the intention of the artist to a degree. At Elandan there was one stamp, one vision, and it threaded from tree to tree with stunning conviction. I think that's when I fell in love with Elandan, and knew that if I had never seen a tree before, I would always know a tree that had known his work.

On my second visit to the garden Daniel was there... warm, welcoming, and entirely approachable. He looked like some Native American chief with deeply bronze skin, even deeper smile lines, and long pulled back ponytail. His first question was, "How do you like my garden?"



It's funny, but he asks everyone that... it's his segue into inviting you to explore his love of the art, and his particular vision... give the man a chance and you'll not only learn a thing or twenty about bonsai, but your vocabulary will vastly improve and you'll become intimately acquainted with music from by-gone eras... he's terribly fond of singing, and very good at it.

There's something rare in the generosity with which he will share the art. The other day I was envied for my closeness to him, because I've learned so much and the education has cost me nothing but my time and dedication. I begrudge no teacher/master the need to be paid for their lessons, but that's just not been part of his intentions. The entire garden is put forth with the sole purpose of being a teaching garden. Hs leaves stubs on carved branches just so people can get a sense of how much was whittled away. Sure there's an admission for the garden for visitors... but 8 dollars is a pittance to pay to a man who will gladly give you his undivided attention at every turn just because you show an interest. But given all that, there was no real long-term teacher student relationship under his belt to that point. After being given his attention for the better part of an hour, I asked him if he accepted volunteers to help in the garden... I know now that no one had ever asked him that before. He mumbled something non-committal, and I said I'd come by sometime. I told him I would happily pull weeds from the path.

I think he was truly surprised that I showed up the very next weekend.

We walked around for an hour and he gave me his philosophies and artistic truths, and found we were much of the same mind. I was pretty enthusiastic and a totally untutored person, but I had a grasp of a few... very few... basics. So when I asked him what he'd like me to do, he said, "Would you like to work on a tree?"

Now it was my turn to be truly surprised, combined with a certain terror, at what he had just proposed. But he took me over to the Shore pine you like so well... and he started talking about pruning techniques on a two needle pine. He told me I should prune it, and gave a couple examples, and told me if I wanted to unwire it that I should... but that it should be unwound, not cut. He handed me his pruners and walked away.

Really... he walked away.


(Photo to illustrate the delicacy of the wood is on this tree.)

I stared at the thing for a while... I think I was in shock. I had never seen so much wire in my life. This tree was covered with every gauge of aluminum wire imaginable, over nearly every branch and sub-trunk. I decided that unwiring a portion would give me a chance to get to know the tree a bit before daring to cut anything... and so it began. He stopped back by after about an hour or so and didn't seem displeased, and left again...
I worked on that tree for most of the day, because as you know, it's huge. I didn't finish it... and Daniel came back by and said I could finish it the next day... because he wanted to walk me around and talk more.

At some point in that walk, some guests needed help with a sale... he pointed at a 1200 yo juniper and told me to cut back the branches that had died back to "respectable jins"... and walked away.

Really... he walked away.

I looked at the thing and muttered, "What the heck is a respectable jin???"

He came back a while later and just nodded at my idea of respectable... and said he hoped I'd be back the next day.
I was of course... and he was just as happy to see me as I was him. It took the better part of that next day, or a total of about 12 hours to complete the work on the Shore pine. It was completely unwired, and heavily pruned. He brought his wife by the tree and admired it at the end of the day... and complimented my work, and was so appreciative of my help. He then asked if I was going to come back the next weekend... I said yes.

That was the beginning of what is one of the most precious friendships I have. Never once in our relationship has he ever actually called me a student. He's always called me his equal... a fellow artist. The idea of which I scoffed at whenever he introduced me to the guests who would watch us work. The first time he referred to Eric as a student, I was terribly jealous... but then I realized he was evolving as a teacher, and I decided I would much rather have the footing of being his 'fellow sojourner in the art'.

I'll try and add other stories when I can. It's kind of fun to recall these early days... and some are enlightening.

Kindest regards,

Victrinia

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:37 am

In the story I related... I think the enlightening thing is that one can learn MORE about how to properly wire a tree, by undoing the wire of masters, than many times the hours of trying to do it on their own. I know that worked with Eric... he smokes me at wiring at this point I think. Wink

V

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Andre Beaurain on Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:38 am

As a horticulurist I get very annoyed when looking at such beautifull work, and none of them is 'signed'

Please people learn to lable the trees.
And artist will never exibit work without signing it. Why do we post trees without labeling it !!

How must the novice know what they are?

Incredible work. and a nice story. Thank you.


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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Poink88 on Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:24 am

Vi,

Thanks for sharing your story, I really loved reading it.

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  my nellie on Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:01 am

Dear Mrs. Victrinia,
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time in order to share with all of us your personal acquaintance with Mr. Daniel, one of your most precious friends as you have mentioned above.
It has been like reading a good book, for me at least...

May I quote the most important from my point of view....

... ... give the man a chance and you'll not only learn a thing or twenty about bonsai, but your vocabulary will vastly improve and you'll become intimately acquainted with music from by-gone eras...
And a lot more, I would add, even not knowing in person either you or Mr. Daniel.

... ...There's something rare in the generosity with which he will share the art. The other day I was envied for my closeness to him, because I've learned so much and the education has cost me nothing but my time and dedication. I begrudge no teacher/master the need to be paid for their lessons, but that's just not been part of his intentions. The entire garden is put forth with the sole purpose of being a teaching garden.
The spirit of bonsai in its true expression!

... ...I was pretty enthusiastic and a totally untutored person, but I had a grasp of a few... very few... basics. So when I asked him what he'd like me to do, he said, "Would you like to work on a tree?"
The ability of a true artist to distinguish the artist to be!

Thank you again!
I would love to read more from you!

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:29 pm

Nice trees, nice stories, Nice people.....What more could we ask for.


regards,
jun Smile

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:35 pm

Thank you for sharing your journal; truly inspiring and gives me an urge to move to that part of the country. Oh to have access to such warm hearts and beauty!
Todd

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  dick benbow on Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:05 pm

like the others, I deeply appreciated your sharing. Thank-you. Coupla comments of yours were so "spot on" of my impressions of the man and his vision. It has been my good fortune to have david de Groot as my teacher and am looking forward to the 27th of this month, when we may have a chance to work together on a project tree at the collection Smile

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:12 pm

Andre Beaurain wrote:As a horticulurist I get very annoyed when looking at such beautifull work, and none of them is 'signed'

Please people learn to lable the trees.
And artist will never exibit work without signing it. Why do we post trees without labeling it !!

How must the novice know what they are?

Incredible work. and a nice story. Thank you.


I have corrected my error... as a plant nerd, who often trumpets horticulture before art, I get where you are coming from. I'm glad you enjoyed the trees.

Thanks!

Victrinia

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

Post  Victrinia Ridgeway on Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:21 pm

Poink88 wrote:Vi,

Thanks for sharing your story, I really loved reading it.

lol, I haven't been called Vi in years... you have my permission to do so ad nauseum. lol Cool

my nellie wrote:Thank you again! I would love to read more from you!

Thank you Alexandra, you are very kind... I will do my best to carve out more time for this. Smile

jun wrote:Nice trees, nice stories, Nice people.....What more could we ask for.
regards,
jun Smile

Salamat Po! cheers

Todd Ellis wrote:Thank you for sharing your journal; truly inspiring and gives me an urge to move to that part of the country. Oh to have access to such warm hearts and beauty!
Todd

Thanks Todd, as with the rest you are very kind... If you ever get out this way, be sure to holler, we are always up for giving bonsai folks a guided tour. Smile

Kindest regards to all,

Victrinia

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Re: a display from the North West's artistry of Dan Robinson

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