visit to Ryan Neil

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  Orion on Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:28 am

Al Polito wrote:
Gary Swiech wrote:

There is not only Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) and Western Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) out there for the hunting,

but also the Utau Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma), Pinchot Juniper (Juniperus pincotii), Alligator juniper and even Common juniper (Juniperus communis)...

Randy mostly goes for Ponderosa and Limber pines, Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce and whatever junipers that look good... from what I can tell. He also grows a lot of other traditional trees, like Tridents and Japanese maples, but most of his stock is mentioned above. I've seen RMJ, Utah, Western and Common juniper at his place and not the others, but I've only been there a few times. I hear that before too long his business, Oregon Bonsai, will have a website up again soon.

Do you know if he's planning on shipping again???


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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  Bruno António on Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:02 pm

WOOOOOOOO!!! Shocked

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  Andrew Legg on Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:47 pm

Hi All,

I just wanted to wade in in partial support of what Khaimraj was saying earlier in this thread.

About a year ago I went through a phase of disillusionment in bonsai as I thought to myself "How can I ever attain the level of bonsai achieved by the likes of Walter Pall, Ryan and their likes?". When I see Walter's trees and read about his travels I was jealous as I thought about what I could do with a lot of money or time to dedicate to this hobby of mine. When I saw Ryan's collection I was envious of how one person can have such a fantastic collection and spend his life living and breathing bonsai at the highest level. My thoughts were about how I was sure I could put together the same fantastic bonsai if I had such easy access to such fantastic material. After all, Kimura must be good, but who wouldn't be with access to that amount of fantastic material and time and resources. Surely given a 300 year old Californian Juniper with fantastic deadwood and character I'd be equally able to bend a few branches in place and get it looking fantastic. A few thousand big ones for a nice old Chinese or Japanese pot and bang, bonsai masterpiece done. Nirvana achieved. Piece of pie. Right?

Wrong! It was then that I gave this some thought and realised that I have a family with 2 kids. I have a day job that does not involve bonsai, and I live in a country where a life based on bonsai is not going to provide for my family to the extent that I want it to. I live in a country that does not have old junipers and pines. Larch and maples galore for yamadori are not available, and here in South Africa we make do with what we have. Bonsai here is different. My life is different and my talents are different, so why should I be jealous? Why should I be envious? Why should I try to compare myself to Ryan or Walter? It's pointless. And most of all, why should I question their abilities? If Ryan has a fantastic ability to turn collected material of the highest order into great works of art, why should I worry about whether he can go down to the local nursery here in Cape Town, pick out a small tree or bush with potential, and convert it into a masterpiece in a period of 2 years? Why should I care about what he can do from seed using a blank canvas? Does it matter? Sure, I can critique his trees in my bedroom on the internet for what I think of them, but can I critique him for who he is and what he does? No. He has chosen a path that differs to mine. His is surely a path that a lot of us bonsai folk dream about, but will never follow, so kudos to Ryan for having the guts to walk it, and congratulations to him for making a success in such a humble way.

Growing bonsai from seed is a very different process to creating trees from yamadori material. Both are in their own rights art forms, and in my mind there's as much skill that goes into making a success of either.

So, to Khaimraj I say, good question mate. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one thinking it. I think the answer is less cut 'n dried than we may expect.

And to Walter and Ryan and others out there like you guys I say thanks. Thanks for giving us inspiration. Thanks for living the dream for us. Thanks for sharing it with us, and most of all, thanks for making me realise that Kokufu Ten ain't what it's all about! Shocked There's more to bonsai then being the best.

Cheers,

Andrew



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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  leatherback on Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:27 pm

Hi Andrew,

Although I do appreciate Kamj. comment on whether Ryan can do the same thing with young material. I agree it is a valid question, but in light of the work shown also irrelevant. It is not what he is working on at the moment. If he cannot grow a nice bonsai from a cutting, does that make him less of an artist? No, I say. The trees are each and everyone worth thousands of dollars and would make any Noelanders contributor proud, if they were his or her work, I am sure. I know I am envious of having the material, the skill, the time. So, respectfully, I would like to respond to your post..

Andrew Legg wrote:

Wrong! It was then that I gave this some thought and realised that I have a family with 2 kids. I have a day job that does not involve bonsai, and I live in a country where a life based on bonsai is not going to provide for my family to the extent that I want it to. I live in a country that does not have old junipers and pines. Larch and maples galore for yamadori are not available, and here in South Africa we make do with what we have.


hm.. then again.. I work at a university. When students come to me for advice on spending time abroad (Which is part of my daytime job) they always complain about money. We come to my personal experiences, and I ofter hear: I wish IO could do this, but i have a girlfriend / part time job / soccer training / ... / and I always tell them: It is a choice. I gave up my GF, job, soccer etc because I wanted to see the world. Packed by bag and just left, not to resurface until over a year later.

It is also the age-old question of: Do you want it bad enough. Here we have a young guy who decided he wanted to become the best in bonsai. Left for japan en begged until his fingers bled to get a position with one of the best teachers in the world. Now he is back and showing off what he has learned. Never say someone else has had it easier, until you have walked his/her path too.

Andrew Legg wrote:
Growing bonsai from seed is a very different process to creating trees from yamadori material. Both are in their own rights art forms, and in my mind there's as much skill that goes into making a success of either.

So, to Khaimraj I say, good question mate. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one thinking it. I think the answer is less cut 'n dried than we may expect.

Agreed. Except for.. I think the answer is easy. Being good in one does not make you good in another part of the work. And being bad in one part doesn't mean you are a bad bonsai aartist. You have just specialized on something else. Some are great collectors of Yamadori, but do not try to shape or wire. And vice versa. Without either one, the world would be a whole lot bleaker.

My 2P Very Happy

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  Andrew Legg on Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:42 pm

leatherback wrote:Hi Andrew,

Although I do appreciate Kamj. comment on whether Ryan can do the same thing with young material. I agree it is a valid question, but in light of the work shown also irrelevant. It is not what he is working on at the moment. If he cannot grow a nice bonsai from a cutting, does that make him less of an artist? No, I say. The trees are each and everyone worth thousands of dollars and would make any Noelanders contributor proud, if they were his or her work, I am sure. I know I am envious of having the material, the skill, the time. So, respectfully, I would like to respond to your post..


My 2P Very Happy

Agree with you 100% mate. I think what I was trying to get at with the wife and 2 kids thing was that that was a path I chose. It is what I wanted most in my life and now that I have gone down that path, other options are not as simple. My interest in bonsai has grown since then, and I have to remind myself to work my hobby within the bounds of the choices I have made (that I'm glad I've made), and be realistic about the commitments I have made to others. I can't just leave my wife and kids and go to Japan searching out an apprenticeship. It is great that others make that choice though and as long as I put my bonsai experience into perspective relative to my life path I have chosen, there's no need for me to get bummed out about not having trees of the quality and quantity of these people. We all have to find our little niche in life, and for most of us posting here, bonsai only forms a part of that. Some have made the choice to make bonsai their whole life (kind of), and it is fantastic that they share their journeys with us.

I don't agree with what Khaimraj was saying, but I understand why he was saying it. I also don't think we should denegrate him for having said it.

EDIT: PS: Perhaps I did not make it clear that I am sure that Ryan's path has not been without tenacity and sacrifice, and as I said earlier - kudos to him for having the determination to see it through. He deserves all good things that come to him as a return. I'm not trying to take away from what Ryan has done. I'm not trying to make it sound mundane, but rather I'm trying to suggest that we chose to walk different paths, and that makes none of the rest of us lesser people for it. cheers

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  leatherback on Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:04 pm

^ cheers

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  Vance Wood on Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:30 pm

Andrew Legg wrote:
leatherback wrote:Hi Andrew,

Although I do appreciate Kamj. comment on whether Ryan can do the same thing with young material. I agree it is a valid question, but in light of the work shown also irrelevant. It is not what he is working on at the moment. If he cannot grow a nice bonsai from a cutting, does that make him less of an artist? No, I say. The trees are each and everyone worth thousands of dollars and would make any Noelanders contributor proud, if they were his or her work, I am sure. I know I am envious of having the material, the skill, the time. So, respectfully, I would like to respond to your post..


My 2P Very Happy

Agree with you 100% mate. I think what I was trying to get at with the wife and 2 kids thing was that that was a path I chose. It is what I wanted most in my life and now that I have gone down that path, other options are not as simple. My interest in bonsai has grown since then, and I have to remind myself to work my hobby within the bounds of the choices I have made (that I'm glad I've made), and be realistic about the commitments I have made to others. I can't just leave my wife and kids and go to Japan searching out an apprenticeship. It is great that others make that choice though and as long as I put my bonsai experience into perspective relative to my life path I have chosen, there's no need for me to get bummed out about not having trees of the quality and quantity of these people. We all have to find our little niche in life, and for most of us posting here, bonsai only forms a part of that. Some have made the choice to make bonsai their whole life (kind of), and it is fantastic that they share their journeys with us.

I don't agree with what Khaimraj was saying, but I understand why he was saying it. I also don't think we should denegrate him for having said it.

EDIT: PS: Perhaps I did not make it clear that I am sure that Ryan's path has not been without tenacity and sacrifice, and as I said earlier - kudos to him for having the determination to see it through. He deserves all good things that come to him as a return. I'm not trying to take away from what Ryan has done. I'm not trying to make it sound mundane, but rather I'm trying to suggest that we chose to walk different paths, and that makes none of the rest of us lesser people for it. cheers

Cheers,

Andrew

I agree with you but I would like to point one thing out, and I don't mean to infer that I am talking about you, I am talking about every one. Over the years of doing bonsai and participating on various forums there is one disturbing trait that I have noticed: The tendency for some to knock down anyone who demonstrates a degree of talent by claiming that the skill and talent was somehow gained fraudulently, or without paying some sort of preceived debt to the art. I suppose I myself might have been guilty of this just in case someone wants to make that point. We now live in a society where it is increasingly popular to beat down, demean, and trivialize accomplishment. We should stop, lest in the end the best we can produce is the mediocre.

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  crust on Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:47 pm

I have found that the tendency to brutally "beat down, demean, and trivialize" anything at all is magnified by the separation of communication medium--the more anonymous and separated we are the more ruthless we become--that and the phenomena of forums leans us all to be analytically of everything in a flaw-searching kind of way. We all know that JPEGs and text are a weak representations of most art--much of the subtly is lost and after all the "subtly and nuance" is, in the end,the very most important factor. I try not to get too postural and seek out the positive and informational... and beautiful.. and funny.

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  Vance Wood on Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:16 pm

crust wrote: I have found that the tendency to brutally "beat down, demean, and trivialize" anything at all is magnified by the separation of communication medium--the more anonymous and separated we are the more ruthless we become--that and the phenomena of forums leans us all to be analytically of everything in a flaw-searching kind of way. We all know that JPEGs and text are a weak representations of most art--much of the subtly is lost and after all the "subtly and nuance" is, in the end,the very most important factor. I try not to get too postural and seek out the positive and informational... and beautiful.. and funny.

That's good, an example for all of us to follow, however; there are those who cannot help but be critical, and it seems as is the case in this thread, the greater the talent the more scathing the criticizing. That would not be so bad if there was an artistic, or cultivational reason for the criticism. As demonstrated by some of the observation early in this thread the criticism seems to revolve around something else unrelated to the work but more toward the artist, their qualifications, their methods, and their failures.

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  augustine on Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:34 pm

First, I agree with Mr. Pall and add that this world has lost its civility.

Secondly I do not minimize Mr. Seedpersad's accomplishment or skill but this post was not about growing from seed. It is about showing us Ryan's work with world class yamadori. You folks in the tropics do the same evidenced by the spectacular wild plants like Premna shown in these forums. These are also first class trees which I admire greatly.

Seems that Ryan is emulating his teacher by working with spectacular wild material. Mr. Kimura's nursery specializes in working with material that is already highly refined, very special collected trees and "Important Bonsai Masterpieces." Ryan has access to this material shouldn't it be used by people who can maximize its potential? Don't we always hear that the best way to a great bonsai is to start with good material? Didn't high level bonsai in Japan start with wild junipers, spruces and pines? Haven't these trees been passed down for stewardship? Etc. Etc.

Something else I don't get. Masters of this art like Walter and Bill V. take their time to get on the forums and share their knowledge and experience and people, who I am sure are not masters, disagree and question their work and advice. This, I'm sure frustrates them and reduces their willingness to help us.

I'm rambling. Many thanks to Walter, Bill V, Brent, Ryan, Jim Doyle, Boon, Suthin, Colin, M. Hagedorn, Julian Adams and others like them for trying to improve the bonsai community. Please forgive our ignorance and keep trying. Unfortunately and history proves this...no one listens to a prophet from their own land.

Ego and envy hurt every endeavor and the potential to advance. I realize that people will assure us that ego and envy are not involved. Let's call out the devil by name!!

All the best as I wait for the shots from the detractors,

Augustine,
Central, MD 7A

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  Vance Wood on Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:51 pm

augustine wrote:First, I agree with Mr. Pall and add that this world has lost its civility.

Secondly I do not minimize Mr. Seedpersad's accomplishment or skill but this post was not about growing from seed. It is about showing us Ryan's work with world class yamadori. You folks in the tropics do the same evidenced by the spectacular wild plants like Premna shown in these forums. These are also first class trees which I admire greatly.

Seems that Ryan is emulating his teacher by working with spectacular wild material. Mr. Kimura's nursery specializes in working with material that is already highly refined, very special collected trees and "Important Bonsai Masterpieces." Ryan has access to this material shouldn't it be used by people who can maximize its potential? Don't we always hear that the best way to a great bonsai is to start with good material? Didn't high level bonsai in Japan start with wild junipers, spruces and pines? Haven't these trees been passed down for stewardship? Etc. Etc.

Something else I don't get. Masters of this art like Walter and Bill V. take their time to get on the forums and share their knowledge and experience and people, who I am sure are not masters, disagree and question their work and advice. This, I'm sure frustrates them and reduces their willingness to help us.

I'm rambling. Many thanks to Walter, Bill V, Brent, Ryan, Jim Doyle, Boon, Suthin, Colin, M. Hagedorn, Julian Adams and others like them for trying to improve the bonsai community. Please forgive our ignorance and keep trying. Unfortunately and history proves this...no one listens to a prophet from their own land.

Ego and envy hurt every endeavor and the potential to advance. I realize that people will assure us that ego and envy are not involved. Let's call out the devil by name!!

All the best as I wait for the shots from the detractors,

Augustine,
Central, MD 7A

I don't know why any one would be critical of your thoughts here if they looked at them objectively. You are of course correct: There are a lot of ego issues at work.

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  augustine on Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:01 pm

Vance,

Forgot to add you to the list of people who help us and I appreciate very much.

Your posts, as well as critical thinking, add greatly to my knowledge. Still fighting with the Mugos Smile.

Best,

Augustine

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  Vance Wood on Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:07 pm

That's most appreciated thank you very much. I try to help but just like everyone else sometimes my personal baggage gets in the way as much as I try to not let it.

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

Post  Andrew Legg on Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:10 pm

Vance Wood wrote:
Andrew Legg wrote:
leatherback wrote:Hi Andrew,

Although I do appreciate Kamj. comment on whether Ryan can do the same thing with young material. I agree it is a valid question, but in light of the work shown also irrelevant. It is not what he is working on at the moment. If he cannot grow a nice bonsai from a cutting, does that make him less of an artist? No, I say. The trees are each and everyone worth thousands of dollars and would make any Noelanders contributor proud, if they were his or her work, I am sure. I know I am envious of having the material, the skill, the time. So, respectfully, I would like to respond to your post..


My 2P Very Happy

Agree with you 100% mate. I think what I was trying to get at with the wife and 2 kids thing was that that was a path I chose. It is what I wanted most in my life and now that I have gone down that path, other options are not as simple. My interest in bonsai has grown since then, and I have to remind myself to work my hobby within the bounds of the choices I have made (that I'm glad I've made), and be realistic about the commitments I have made to others. I can't just leave my wife and kids and go to Japan searching out an apprenticeship. It is great that others make that choice though and as long as I put my bonsai experience into perspective relative to my life path I have chosen, there's no need for me to get bummed out about not having trees of the quality and quantity of these people. We all have to find our little niche in life, and for most of us posting here, bonsai only forms a part of that. Some have made the choice to make bonsai their whole life (kind of), and it is fantastic that they share their journeys with us.

I don't agree with what Khaimraj was saying, but I understand why he was saying it. I also don't think we should denegrate him for having said it.

EDIT: PS: Perhaps I did not make it clear that I am sure that Ryan's path has not been without tenacity and sacrifice, and as I said earlier - kudos to him for having the determination to see it through. He deserves all good things that come to him as a return. I'm not trying to take away from what Ryan has done. I'm not trying to make it sound mundane, but rather I'm trying to suggest that we chose to walk different paths, and that makes none of the rest of us lesser people for it. cheers

Cheers,

Andrew

I agree with you but I would like to point one thing out, and I don't mean to infer that I am talking about you, I am talking about every one. Over the years of doing bonsai and participating on various forums there is one disturbing trait that I have noticed: The tendency for some to knock down anyone who demonstrates a degree of talent by claiming that the skill and talent was somehow gained fraudulently, or without paying some sort of preceived debt to the art. I suppose I myself might have been guilty of this just in case someone wants to make that point. We now live in a society where it is increasingly popular to beat down, demean, and trivialize accomplishment. We should stop, lest in the end the best we can produce is the mediocre.

Agree 100% - we do like to drag down those that are successful, and it's a pity really, particularly when it relates to those that are successful and yet manage to maintain their dignity through their humble and decent behaviour. My experience in the bonsai fraternity and elsewhere in life is that those who have really achieved and become masters of their art seem to follow this pattern, and it is those that think they have achieved, or are trying too hard to prove themselves to be something they aren't that often do the best job of alienating themselves through their behaviour. My understanding of Ryan from the little I have seen of him is that he falls into the former category. He may not have 40 years of experience, but you sure as heck can't argue with his results!

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: visit to Ryan Neil

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