Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

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Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:05 pm

2 years ago (sept 2012) I joined the Milwaukee Bonsai Society  (MBS) and attended my first beginner workshop… tiger bark ficus retusa was the material provided and I was super stoked to dive into this thing that had been tickling me since the preceding winter (jan 2012) when I got my 2 little spekboom cuttings from a co-worker.
This is how it looked when I got it





And at the end of its first "styling", that first day…



The guy who guided me, chose this (above & below pic) as the front…



but after a season of looking at it, it didn’t take me long to disagree and do a 180 on the front, putting the aerial roots and all the other distracting cris-crossing roots to the back, so the actual base of the trunk was visible… as shown here with its new pot (summer 2013)



then, this summer (2014) I defoliated him
pardon the wiring - i have since learned a thing or 2 thanks to ron fortmann (in person) and colin lewis (on-line)



and showed him at the MBS exhibit for which he pulled a 3rd place (sept 2014)
(my 9 year old niece made the scroll painting and i promised her i would use it)



apparently, several folks (including show judge colin lewis) most emphatically did NOT like that circling root at the base:  
(even though the trunk base was visible…)



after listening to several suggestions, I listened to none of them because I rather liked that root… until jack douthitt suggested a mound or hillock coming up alongside the root so it wasn’t just floating there and could actually suggest why it did what it did… now that idea I liked !

so I went at it with a muck wall, some soil and some moss





I am initially quite happy with the results, except now it needs a totally different pot, due to the bulging sides of the one its in not flowing with the line of the hillock



I also re-wired and re-styled the front incorporating some of the techniques I have been slowly picking up in regards to hiding flaws and that sort of thing… the front of the tree was too barren anyways…

and so this is how it looks today:



a bit one sided ?
maybe
can i live with that ?
you bet, as i believe that swooping lowest branch balances the empty space on the right...
(with my long term hope being that thhat branch just brushes the ground under it)

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  Precarious on Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:26 pm

Someone suggested a rock in a bonsai is hiding something, but I think they can create balance as well. Maybe the argument then is that the rock is hiding imbalance- whatever. I think a rock of some sort could do what you're trying to do with the branch. Whichever way, it looks cool and is far better than anything I could have produced after two years. Way to go.

Question: is that aerial on the right now in the 'hill' or behind it? If in it, that would give some leeway to wire it and put some movement to it without it sticking out of the ground too far, and only if the straight line bothers you. Does that make sense?

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  Precarious on Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:29 pm

cheers BTW, your niece is an up-and-comer!

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  tmmason10 on Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:11 pm

The tree is overall looking pretty good. I would probably have split, or removed the root as well, as it detracts from the rest of the tree. Also, I think the first branch seems disconnected from the tree, at least in the picture, and I would try some foreshortening(link below). Again, the res of the tre actually looks quite stately but those two things are taking away some of its majesty.

http://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATforeshortening%20page2.htm

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:52 pm

hey thanks david...

the aerial is in the hill (there are actually 2 of them back there and they are both in the hill)
but that is likely to maybe, for sure, possibly, but not positive, going to change when i get it in its next pot bounce
you can see them both better in this pic:



they were a couple of weak little sisters when i first got them, but they are thickening up quickly.

and the straight lines of the aerials dont bother me at all as they add to the upright MAJESTY
(  king  gawd i love that word !!!) of the tree... and something of a support system...
if they had movement, they couldnt do their job of helping to support all that MAJESTY ( king )

lol!

and TM - if you saw it from the top you would see that i already have used foreshortening techniques
(without knowing what they were called) on that branch and several others...
now just hoping for back budding when i give it a hard cutback next season so i can bring things in and together more...

and i should have mentioned that part of my goal is to bring the above branches downward as they fill in so as to eliminate that disconnected feeling... from the earlier pics, you can see that i have them well on their way to doing just that.

also just noticed that the crown looks unruly in the pics...
should have combed its hair to get rid of that cowlick Wink

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  Wander on Thu Oct 16, 2014 4:51 am

Perhaps it's just me, but not a single photo will load in this, and I wanted to see them! I've tried multiple times, from multiple computers, on multiple networks. Sad

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  Precarious on Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:52 am

I had the same problem last night, and it didn't clear up until this morning.

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:52 pm

i had the same issue when i uploaded the last picture last nite, but everything is there now...

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  twyama3388 on Thu Oct 16, 2014 4:32 pm

It is a good material, but if I want to trim it, I like that make it a sense of balance and simple,
Below is processed photos for your reference.



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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  JimLewis on Thu Oct 16, 2014 4:37 pm

I'd agree fully with the first picture (above) but not the second.

Kevin: That niece of yours is VERY talented. What is the other object on the table?

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:15 pm

while i appreciate the suggestions, i will stick with my plan for now...
(and both pictures put the 1st branch at or above the half-way point up the tree which seems too far)

jim - thats a boat i crafted from 2 pieces of driftwood...
one, the main body, was given to me by a friend back when i had my art studio,
but i was never able to connect it to anything, other than thinking it looked boat-ish...

then before the MBS show i was going through my driftwood stash putting together my display,
when i came across the "mast" which fit PERFECTLY into 2 grooves of the boat...
no bending, cutting, drilling or carving... just a dab of glue and part of a used muslin tea pouch for a "sail"

and viola' !

i called my display "way down upon the yangtzee river" Razz





when i get more time i will be posting pics from the MBS exhibit.

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  JimLewis on Thu Oct 16, 2014 7:25 pm

Love the boat.

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  Andre Beaurain on Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:38 am

twyama3388 wrote:It is a good material, but if I want to trim it, I like that make it a sense of balance and simple,
Below is processed photos for your reference.



Even this one has a beginning of a Poodle thing going, I still think this is a very very nice suggestion. I love it, and I think you should pursue it!

Im also beginning to realize that we tend to have to many branches, lower down, which we dont need. And which makes the trees look younger for some strange reason...

Love Light and Awakening
Andre

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:24 pm

if my long range vision cyclops doesn't look like what i see in my head, i will then consider other options...
but i really really really don't want a tree that could pass as any other tree and fit with-in accepted paramaters...

thats not art.

and if it means getting a 3rd place in "the contest" rather than a first,
i will gladly take the 3rd Cool

now, if someone wants to do a virtual for me of a nicely rounded crown flowing down along that left side with all the foliage filled in
and the right side pulled down more and filled in with foliage (keeping some of the negative space), i would be ever so grateful.

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  twyama3388 on Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:36 pm

Andre Beaurain wrote:
twyama3388 wrote:It is a good material, but if I want to trim it, I like that make it a sense of balance and simple,
Below is processed photos for your reference.



Even this one has a beginning of a Poodle thing going, I still think this is a very very nice suggestion.  I love it, and I think you should pursue it!

Im also beginning to realize that we tend to have to many branches, lower down, which we dont need.  And which makes the trees look younger for some strange reason...

Love Light and Awakening
Andre

Thanks for your Comments.


Last edited by twyama3388 on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:09 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  twyama3388 on Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:09 pm

Easy to use and simple look which is always the design ideas of Steve Jobs (Apple).
But maybe someone do not know the idea is from the oriental "Zen"
The oriental bonsai which is always with some spiritual concepts of "Zen".
That’s why they always looks simple, even looks empty.
Because simple and easy is happiness, like the design idea of Jobs.
Some simple bonsai's pictures for your reference.





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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  Andre Beaurain on Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:58 pm

beer city snake wrote:

now, if someone wants to do a virtual for me of a nicely rounded crown flowing down along that left side with all the foliage filled in
and the right side pulled down more and filled in with foliage (keeping some of the negative space), i would be ever so grateful.

You mean something more like this.....

Legend:  Dark green  - foliage
             Light green - negative space...



Hihihih hi hihihihihihihihihihihiihihiihih hii hiii

Ps  Drawing birds is not that easy I have found....

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:32 pm

PERFECT !!!

although i must say that i feel a bit violated after you peeked inside my skull affraid

i saved that picture as: andre beaurainism

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  leatherback on Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:21 pm

beer city snake wrote:
now, if someone wants to do a virtual for me of a nicely rounded crown flowing down along that left side with all the foliage filled in
and the right side pulled down more and filled in with foliage (keeping some of the negative space), i would be ever so grateful.

OK,

maybe not what you asked for. But what I saw the first time you showewd us the pic; Did not want to offend then, but how about bringing the top down?


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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:56 pm

leatherback wrote:
beer city snake wrote:
now, if someone wants to do a virtual for me of a nicely rounded crown flowing down along that left side with all the foliage filled in
and the right side pulled down more and filled in with foliage (keeping some of the negative space), i would be ever so grateful.

OK,

maybe not what you asked for. But what I saw the first time you showewd us the pic; Did not want to offend then, but how about bringing the top down?


no worries about offending me...
you may have a back of leather,
but i have developed a fairly thick skin too elephant Wink

and yes, i do agree w/ you and have been working at that in order to reduce the height a bit
(there is also another issue up in crown that i would like to eliminate),
but am stuck waiting for the back budding...
now that i have defoliated it once, i will be more comfortable doing it once a year and that should expedite things...

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  Leo Schordje on Fri Oct 17, 2014 6:33 pm

Did I ever tell you I really liked your display? And I love the scroll by your niece.

Andre, you are a crazy, creative nut, love your virtual.

My thoughts toward improving the tree over the long term. You might try bringing the height down, but that is optional, the tree might "grow into" its height. My thought is around the aerial roots, either develop more aerial roots, or eliminate them all together. Aerial roots on just one side of the tree breaks the logic of the tree.

Up North where we grow these things, aerial roots are reluctant to form, due to the low humidity. My trees only produce aerial roots during a several month hot and humid summer. Which means most years they don't have enough heat and humidity to form. If they start, typically it gets too dry and the roots abort before they get long enough to reach and take hold in the pot. However, over the long term, there will be more hot and humid spells, you will eventually get aerial roots.

Many choose to style their ficus without aerial roots, because it is difficult to get them where you want them, and outside the tropics it is very unpredictable as to where they form.

That is just my thought, you could go either way with the tree. I would definitely head toward a wider tree, without any further height increase. You do have a nice start, not bad at all for a person with less than 3 years under your belt. Well done.

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:13 pm

Leo Schordje wrote:Did I ever tell you I really liked your display?

no... no you haven't...

and you don't send me flowerrrrs anyyyyy-morrrre...
(sorry babs)

um... i guess the tree didnt consider logic when it grew those  Wink
i did not eliminate nor add any, so...

BUT !!! if my plan works, the aerial roots will not be just on that one side...
if i can get that left branch to hover just above the soil line,
i was thinking of pulling down a secondary or thirdendary branch and burying it to see if it roots...
(once i find a newly appropriate pot)


BWAH-HA-HA-HA !!!

(fiona - any chance of a frankenstein emoticon ?)

oh yeah, and i will be sharing all the kudos with my neice, lil miss em !!!
she'll be stoked.

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:44 pm

beer city snake wrote:
if i can get that left branch to hover just above the soil line,
i was thinking of pulling down a secondary or thirdendary branch and burying it to see if it roots...
(once i find a newly appropriate pot)

btw - any thoughts as to the feasibility of this ?  scratch

and lil miss em sends her thanks to all for the compliments on her painting... sunny

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  LanceMac10 on Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:04 pm

Hey Kevin, a couple of years ago I purchased two figs planted in 18" Anderson flats. As an experiment, I covered an area that had some exposed surface roots with some moistened sphagnum moss and covered that with some of those vegetable storage bags. You know, the ones that allowed the gases that hastened the veggies demise to escape? Well, they work pretty well for this approach. I just sealed it up tight, with a few strategic folds for watering, with some camo duct-tape on the side of the flat. Scheduled for a long-term test, I took a torch to the plan a few weeks later and threw done the cash for a couple pots, (ok, I know, check-book bonsai-ist, don't make that face!). Well, when I removed this "miracle plastic", to my delight, many "roots" had formed from pre-existing surface roots. A few had even established themselves into the soil and showed decent thickening.
Perhaps you could leverage the branch a bit closer to soil level, drape said "miracle plastic" over the branch and a pile of sphagnum moss from soil to the branch. Maybe wrap your ends of the plastic bag with a few lengths of wire to resemble a big ol' staple and anchor it to the soil. Something to try when it gets a little warmer.


Not that it matters, but yes, I too am a snow, skate punk from the eighties. And to let you know how out of control I still am, I decided to have a kid while I was firmly ensconced in my forties!! Think Ward Cleaver channeling H.R. from the Bad Brains.

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:54 pm

thats pretty rad !!!

both the technique and your brief back story... i might be a bit older (53) and started skating, surfing and snowboarding in the 70s... sang in a band in the 80s and made thrasher mag in maybe 82... still do all of it, but a bit less agro now because i wanna do it all for the rest of my life and every injury takes that much longer to heal (missing this entire fall surf season here on the great lakes due to some skate induced banged up ribs)... hell, i even have a concrete skate bank in my backyard that duane peters, the creature team, etc, etc have been here to skate...

and YES it does matter.... bonsai can NOT be the only thing that shapes who we are !!!

and congrats on the kid... they can be fun as hell !!!

but, still, we digress Wink

pending any other suggestions, i might give that a try !

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Re: Tony the Tiger Bark Ficus Retusa progression

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