Bonsai & Patience

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Bonsai & Patience

Post  penz on Tue May 28, 2013 2:09 pm

Hi guys!

Many friends had asked me before: Which is the tree that would grow faster as a bonsai and I always answer the same: Bonsai is an art of patience so you shouln't look for the one that grows faster but for the tree specie you feel must passionate about Smile . That's why I wrotte an article on the subject:

Bonsai: The Art of Patience

Do you think I'm right? Tell me your thoughts on the subject.

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Patience

Post  lennard on Tue May 28, 2013 7:59 pm

I agree with your feelings on this 100%. Most of us can not afford finished trees anyway!
In my case I am in love with Ficus but they are very slow to grow into bonsai - now after almost 5 years of patience I am beginning to see them becoming something.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Lennard


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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  JimLewis on Tue May 28, 2013 11:54 pm

It's true enough, but won't change a thing <g>.

MY only quibble with the article is your calling what we're growing "Bonsai tree." I may be quibbling, but we grow BONSAI. Period. When you say "bonsai tree" you further the thought in the uninitiated that there is some species of plant called "bonsai tree."

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed May 29, 2013 1:45 pm

Sigh --- once again --

"Patience is for things that you do not like to do [ i.e. cleaning toiletbowls]"

When someone is impatient with a situation it is a sign that it is not enjoyable.

Perhaps if you explained that you enjoyed getting up or getting home to tend to your trees, and at the same time the problems of the day flowed away and answers began to form as the mind slowed and went into a quiet state.
[ Which for me is when images start to form and new oil painting ideas are born.]

I do tire of this - patience - factor. Even growing twigs into bonsai, is an enjoyable and positive situation.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  fiona on Wed May 29, 2013 2:52 pm

Haha. Khaimraj is turning into me - welcome to the word pedant club, Khaimraj. Having said that, I totally agree with him. "Unhurried" is the word I prefer to use for describing how we should approach bonsai.

But then again, my approach to doing bonsai is influenced by the amount of time I spend in the Western Isles: it's a bit like Mañana - but without that sense of urgency. Very Happy

But thanks for drawing our attention to the article - nothing new in it, but in these times where everything has to be "instant" it doesn't do us any harm to remind ourselves of the need to slow down when doing bonsai.






btw, on the topic of word pedantry, "species" not "specie". flutter eyelashes

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  my nellie on Wed May 29, 2013 3:01 pm

fiona wrote:... ... but in these times where everything has to be "instant" it doesn't do us any harm to remind ourselves of the need to slow down when doing bonsai.
Well said Fiona!
But over and above the need to slow down when doing lots of things other than bonsai, in my opinion.... We eat in a hurry, discuss in a hurry, dress in a hurry, recreate ourselves in a hurry, meet our friends in a hurry.... unfortunately

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed May 29, 2013 3:57 pm

Hello Fiona Laughing
Hello Alexandra Smile

historically, the idea behind the collected anything in ancient China, was to relax the mind and allow the imagination to flow.

So if a scholar collected a stone or plant or orchid, it was to be able to sit and quietly contemplate, which is how I work with the bonsai, walks on the beach or slow hikes into the forest or just sit on the cliffs.or draw when in nature.

If you find yourself rushing, simply, take 3 slow deep breaths, the slower the better, and just don't move.

The value of the scholar stones, as I have said before was, from who owned it, and that could not be bought or sold. Mostly handed down or given as a gift.

As usual commercialism entered and now, it is all about the showing, not the creation of poetry, prose, paintings or enjoying life.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Rick36 on Wed May 29, 2013 4:26 pm

Listen to Fiona, guys. If she has the unhurriedness to type in the tilde in Manana, her views on patience are lecture quality. Pedantry? Perhaps. But listen and learn. If I only had the time........

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Bonsai & Patience

Post  penz on Wed May 29, 2013 4:28 pm

Patience is a value that's being lost now days. Our societies are going way too fast bounce For me bonsai is a temporary escape from all that ( while I work on them and contemplate them). When we do bonsai we're creating a living piece of art that can actually live way longer than us. There are books that have took 50 years to writte, there are paintings that have took decades to paint. Do you know how long has been La Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona under construction? Since 1882 and is not finished yet. All this is unthinkable today because of how fast our societies are going.

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  fiona on Wed May 29, 2013 6:44 pm

It has taken me about 50 years to tidy my kitchen cupboards. Or maybe it has just felt like it. Hall cupboards next? Mañana.

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  coh on Wed May 29, 2013 7:49 pm

fiona wrote:It has taken me about 50 years to tidy my kitchen cupboards. Or maybe it has just felt like it. Hall cupboards next? Mañana.
I find that my kitchen cabinets and hall closets look plenty tidy when the doors are closed Very Happy
My wife, however, does not share that viewpoint...

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed May 29, 2013 11:47 pm

76, no problem, switch to Mame' and pea size, and if you need more, use distance viewing when building the trees and shrubs.
You can see the effect in, 4 Seasons of Bonsai and Count Matsudaira's work.

Mame' here is as I learnt it - 3" [ 7.5 cm ] and below.
Laters all.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  adam1234 on Thu May 30, 2013 12:34 am

Bonsai reminds me that I am slowing down to non existence, so I tell myself, hurry up man before you kick it!

Before I started to do bonsai my life had always been slow but ever since I began I have felt rather hurried by these things I call "little trees that reminds of death". Everytime I look at the trees it's like the conundrum part in an episode of countdown. Constantly being reminded of the brief life I've left from working out developement time required of trunks and branches when those targets are reached. Then, I see someone's average tree that had been worked for a long time and I think to myself "My, What a waste of time if that's the result". I then rush to complete whatever important thing I was supposed to do or call someone important I was supposed to call before the lure of my trees reminds me and brings me closer to death. It's like my flower garden just starting out this spring and already am thinking of what needs done for next year, Abit too hurried. When everything has slowed down in winter and nothing needs done and I am not even touching bonsai is when I find the time to look at the trees (I just wish days were slightly longer and more light, yes more light in winter), the rest of the time I am just hurrying tending the bonsai. I swear, they have us addicted to them and we don't even know we are running around after them, the little Ba****ds.

Patience is when you've got time, and only unlimited time.

Sorry for the pessimism, winter has been dark.

Adam


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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu May 30, 2013 3:34 am

Adam,

learn to enjoy what is yours, and forget about what others are doing. Unless you are a professional in Bonsai and have to be paid every month to support others, this is a hobby and even at personal best, it follows hobby rules.

I see so many doing this to themselves, trying to compete with professionals and forgetting to enjoy their labours.

No matter how beautiful you can grow anything, it is alive and will outgrow the design.Adaptability in Bonsai is very important, and change can come every 3 to5 years, where growing, healthy trees/shrubs are concerned.

I have had this type of conversation with many folk on our side, they keep comparing their work to what they see in books, and frustration is abundant. Do you love trees / shrubs or do you want to show off.
I just love growing trees / shrubs.
Best to you.
Khaimraj

* As my teacher Sister Mary Baptista [ from Eire ] once explained to me when I was 9 years old --- death is not the end. Never forgot her love.

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  adam1234 on Thu May 30, 2013 10:30 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Adam,

learn to enjoy what is yours, and forget about what others are doing. Unless you are a professional in Bonsai and have to be paid every month to support others, this is a hobby and even at personal best, it follows hobby rules.

I see so many doing this to themselves, trying to compete with professionals and forgetting to enjoy their labours.

No matter how beautiful you can grow anything, it is alive and will outgrow the design.Adaptability in Bonsai is very important, and change can come every 3 to5 years, where growing, healthy trees/shrubs are concerned.

I have had this type of conversation with many folk on our side, they keep comparing their work to what they see in books, and frustration is abundant. Do you love trees / shrubs or do you want to show off.
I just love growing trees / shrubs.
Best to you.
Khaimraj

* As my teacher Sister Mary Baptista [ from Eire ] once explained to me when I was 9 years old --- death is not the end. Never forgot her love.

Hi Khaimraj,

It's not that I am not enjoying the sport. I am not concerned about what others are doing (but it's always a good measure to see) I was just saying that wasting one's time producing sub standard trees after soo many years is such a shock. The enjoyment comes when the end result is superb and if not so then excellent. It should demonstrate a level of understanding, the trees being the evidence of that, even if the starting material is not world class. Most often the lack of HURRY is what leads to many becoming frustrated. So, we should hurry to find the best material we can, hurry to give the trees a proper start, hurry to make sure they are repotted when they need to, hurry to give them the best. For example, today has been particularly warm (around 18 degrees Celsius) and if I had not HURRIED to water my trees early in the morning before leaving the house, I would have set them back. It is not enjoyable looking at a dying or half dead tree, is it? I also believe one should always work toward excellence, just like a professional. Even as a hobby the few trees one has should undergo the same care that a professional would give theirs. I would never be frustrated if I am doing my best, the frustration is when I am not. But all this is in answer to your post which you might have misunderstood mine. I was just trying to say before that to me bonsai illustrates our mortality, the finality of life and the need to hurry toward that which is important.
Bank holiday weekend coming up and good weather's forecasted, Yippeeee!!!!

Cheers,
Adam

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri May 31, 2013 1:30 am

Adam,

I am not sure a hobbyist can reach the level of a professional, I haven't seen it in Fine Art thus far, and with Bonsai ?
So my point would be, enjoy what you can do, try to always better it, but if what you desire is a professional's standard, then head off to China or Japan.
Stay well.
Khaimraj

* Chuckle at 18 deg.C, down here everything would be dormant.

Today was extremely windy and all the heavy rain that fell over the last few days is gone, so it was back to watering.

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Mal B on Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:31 am

[quote="Khaimraj Seepersad"]Adam,

I am not sure a hobbyist can reach the level of a professional, I haven't seen it in Fine Art thus far, and with Bonsai ?
So my point would be, enjoy what you can do, try to always better it, but if what you desire is a professional's standard, then head off to China or Japan.
Stay well.
Khaimraj

Don't take this the wrong way Khaimraj but boy do you need to get of that small island of yours and get over here to Europe, you'd be amazed how many hobbist's are attaining a professional level. There are also quite a few professional's over here that would give some of those far eastern professional's a run for their money.

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  marcus watts on Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:35 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Adam,

I am not sure a hobbyist can reach the level of a professional, I haven't seen it in Fine Art thus far, and with Bonsai ?
So my point would be, enjoy what you can do, try to always better it, but if what you desire is a professional's standard, then head off to China or Japan.
.

I agree with Mal above and in addition would say How can you quantify the level a professional has reached in relation to an amateur........I know of people classed as professional in this hobby who I think are quite average with their ability and the testament can be average results with the trees they work on - but they earn a living from it and will continue to do so. Then you get a number of incredibly gifted amateurs (and a few pro's too) who are pushing boundaries, learning and experimenting with new methods or techniques and the results on their trees are there as concrete proof.

Within all groups where results are visible khaimraj you could virtually make a 'league table' - and there will not be a solid block of pros above the remaining hobbyists - the table will be mixed up - one incredibly important point too, the amateur can often work regularly on better quality trees and a persons results and technical development is so closely linked to material quality, while a pro may go many weeks having to work on average or worse trees as the owners pay them to do so.

I think the very best bonsai TEACHERS have been trained at high quality nurseries over years not weeks - I see first hand the excellent results of working with such individuals, but teaching needs very different skills to just 'doing' skills - some of the very best bonsai stylists and technicians are not pro's, even though they probably could be if they wanted to. it is very hard to talk globally about the hobby though when countries are developing their bonsai scene at different rates

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:10 am

Guys,

I am happy to be corrected. How do we measure the work ?

[1] Collected trees from Native Europe ?

[2] Collected or grown in Japan [ China/Other ] and exported, further development by other than Japanese [other ]?

[3] Home grown from seed / cutting / airlayer ?

Collected just means a good eye, and a green dressing.
What about the guy who starts with nothing and does an excellent job, but gets slighted because "nature" did it better ?
Khaimraj

*Please note, I am happy to be a hobbyist and I keep my trees in my backyard, very rarely exhibit [ because I don't want my trees stolen, fewer who see less chance,]

Additionally, I really don't understand all these hobbyists trying to compete with professionals, what for - sales ? pride?
getting rich ?
The fake sharing of experience for a price.
It all seems to be lightly hidden agendas.

Hence the impatience.

If in the earlier days trees and scholar stones were for expanding the imagination into Poetry, Prose and Painting, today it all feels very shallow. Decoration to match the furniture and fixtures. Sad

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:16 am

Just trying to get you guys to think.
None of this affects me, I have a vocation and am content.

A seed / small cutting is as a blank canvas to me. So as a Fine Artist, this way has the most appeal.
I leave this to explain why I prefer a seed or small cutting.
It is not as though I am trying to make any kind of point.
Plus, I started young and don't have the problems of the 35 to 70 year old, with regards to thoughts on mortality.

As though we were sitiing around a table and chatting.
Khaimraj

* On collecting trees - I worry about how many die or are killed because someone wants to have something, to show off or sell or just have.
Sorry, trees have a right to life as well, and age should be respected. They are not our toys.

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  fiona on Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:18 pm

It's the connotations of the word "amateur" that do the damage for me, as it is often used in the context of something shoddy and imperfect. I can't speak for anywhere other than the UK and what I've seen in Europe, but Marcus calls it correctly - the top notch "hobbyists" are every bit as good as the "professionals", and indeed are sometimes better. I'd include Marcus himself as a clear example of that.

But that is just my impression: what would be an interesting statistic would be if someone could gather the data of Noelanders, Ginkgo, Best of British and perhaps a couple of the other top shows in Europe and see what the relative percentage of amateur to professional is for the winners. I bet it would be surprising.

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  fiona on Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:24 pm

And for me it's not about wanting to "compete" with the top folk: it's about doing the best I can and personal satisfaction. It's also about having nice things to relax beside and contemplate - rather as I am doing on this (unusually) sunny Scottish afternoon after the housework and other dull things are done and (appropriately and in several cases literally) dusted. Very Happy

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  marcus watts on Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:47 pm

it is interesting Khaimraj that you point out the tree and stone path was one step to get the mind ready for poetry, prose and painting.......if i looked deeper at this notion it suggests some may think these three are on a somewhat higher level and need a more trained imagination to understand or enjoy them...I would offer an alternative idea in that a person probably stops the restless search when they find the pastime that gives them most mental pleasure and fulfillment.

For many the path ends at bonsai - they need no higher goal of enjoying poetry or prose when all is given by their trees. What can be gained from trying to 'do' bonsai to your highest achievable level.? ....for me certainly discipline, responsibility, artistic freedom, and overwhelming senses of achievement when something goes to plan or responds well.....but i feel thinking that patience is essential could sometimes lead to laziness.

i can study a good tree or material as deeply as is required, sometimes coming back several times over many months if it is challenging - that is part of the discipline needed to do the material justice - and usually I manage to see the hiding image in the tangle of branches - so i feel that there is often scope to improve on what sits in front of me once technique is learned and practiced....i don't think the option to improve a famous poem or painting would go down too well though, so I guess i'll stick with bonsai as the outlet for my creative juices

cheers

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Mal B on Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:16 pm

fiona wrote:It's the connotations of the word "amateur" that do the damage for me, as it is often used in the context of something shoddy and imperfect. I can't speak for anywhere other than the UK and what I've seen in Europe, but Marcus calls it correctly - the top notch "hobbyists" are every bit as good as the "professionals", and indeed are sometimes better. I'd include Marcus himself as a clear example of that.

But that is just my impression: what would be an interesting statistic would be if someone could gather the data of Noelanders, Ginkgo, Best of British and perhaps a couple of the other top shows in Europe and see what the relative percentage of amateur to professional is for the winners. I bet it would be surprising.

I bet it wouldn't Fiona, one big down side to showing is the ever present politics of it, the old saying " if your face fit's " still applies.

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Re: Bonsai & Patience

Post  Mal B on Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:28 pm

Ain't into the philosophical side of the hobby, it bore's the shite out of me. More into the doing, a branch get's wired and placed into position because it look's good not because of some arty farty rule on design dictate's. I've usually found them that like's to talk all educated and the like, sure know what make's a good tree BUT they usually couldn't create a good quality bonsai if you beat them over the head with it for year. Just an under educated mechanical engineer's take on thing's Razz

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