Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Van on Tue May 12, 2015 6:24 pm

The contradictory statement made by our late beloved John Naka befuddles even the experts in the bonsai community; even the one just captured the Best of All American Bonsai category in the latest US National Bonsai Exibits in Roschester, NY: "That is very confusing and I don't understand what he means by that".

I am a newbie to bonsai, how can i decipher that?  The art of bonsai is making something very young very ordinary plants looked like old trees?  Or the art of bonsai is to capture centuries or even millenium old trees put in the pot and called it a bonsai?  If so, how to judge them accordingly for the awards?

Would love to hear your feedbacks and opinions on this topic.  Thanks

van

Van
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  M. Frary on Tue May 12, 2015 8:19 pm

As for your question regarding Naka's statement,the answer is pretty straight forward. Make the bonsai look like a tree that might be found in nature. Look at some of Walter Pall's trees. He gets it. Don't make the tree look contrived or an abstract image of a tree.
It isn't kard to make a bonsai look like a tree. They grow that way naturally. We just help them along a little.
To develop a young tree into a bonsai takes forever. I cut big trees down to make little trees. Most if not all of the best you will see were made that way.

M. Frary
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Van on Tue May 12, 2015 9:44 pm

M. Frary wrote:   As for your question regarding Naka's statement,the answer is pretty straight forward. Make the bonsai look like a tree that might be found in nature. Look at some of Walter Pall's trees. He gets it. Don't make the tree look contrived or an abstract image of a tree.
 It isn't kard to make a bonsai look like a tree. They grow that way naturally. We just help them along a little.
  To develop a young tree into a bonsai takes forever. I cut big trees down to make little trees. Most if not all of the best you will see were made that way.

I hope to see plainly just black and white like you, may be some of our visions are cloudy. Would love you to enlighten us with a few pictures of your "Walter Pall" works. Thanks
van

Van
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed May 13, 2015 12:06 am

Van wrote: I hope to see plainly just black and white like you, may be some of our visions are cloudy.  Would love you to enlighten us with a few pictures of your "Walter Pall" works.  Thanks van

van - i know you don't like to pander to people, so i gotta ask: was that meant to sound smarmy ???
or is it just the lack of vocal inflection leaving us with only the interpretation of your phrasing ???
(such as the use of "enlighten us"...)

just curious... scratch

but i agree with mike and it really is that black and white, especially when you look at the literal translation of the word bonsai;
which is: tree in pot (or tree in tray)

and of course the goal of sticking that tree in that pot or tray is to take the viewer away from the fact that it is a tree in a pot or a tray... and there-in lies the art part of bonsai.

some may throw other things in the mix, such as back-story, spiritualism, fantasy, etc (and they all have their part in someone reaching the goal) but it all boils down to what naka said.

some things really are as simple as they seem when stated plainly and without flourish.

(mike - i know you cant post pics here, so feel free to dump a bunch on our blog and post a link to it... thats what its there for)

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  M. Frary on Wed May 13, 2015 3:15 am

I'll try again. But if Van would like to check out Walters trees they are on his website. They are the trees I was referring to. I can only hope to emulate what he and others like John Naka did.
Let me ask you this Van. Since you quoted Mr. Naka you have seen a picture of Goshen no? Probably his most famous works and one of the most famous compositions in the world right? It looks natural. Not made up. Or how about I put it this way. For the longest time people grew Trident maples in the pine tree form. Left branch,right branch,back branch and so on and so forth. Cool looking trees but..... maples don't grow in a pine tree shape. Their natural shape is an boom type or tree. Both are cool looking but the one that is grown like a pine tree is more of a stylized or abstract type of tree. Not the image of a maple tree or any decidious tree you see in nature.
Look around at trees in nature. Those forms are what Naka was getting at. And it is actually harder to get a tree to look natural than most think. Making a tree look unnatural takes no time at all.

M. Frary
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  M. Frary on Wed May 13, 2015 3:19 am

Just look at the link under Kevins signature. I better get busy. But I do have some of my stuff on there already. There is a great progression on an American elm and what can be done with one in a years period. Walter Pall style indeed!

M. Frary
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  JimLewis on Wed May 13, 2015 3:14 pm

The contradictory statement made by our late beloved John Naka befuddles even the experts in the bonsai community

"Befuddles?" Phoo. All you have to do is think about it. "Contradictory?" Nutz. All you have to do is look at the trees displayed in the typical club display -- my club or your club, I don't care. How many of those trees make you want to go back and look again, and then again? How many of them can you pass by with "Oh, another juniper cascade." and go on to the next tree or table. How many of them make you think of looking for birds' nests in their branches? And how many do you pass by as "Just another bonsai?"

John's wise comment should be tattooed on the inside of every bonsaiests' eyelids.

Maybe then most of us would stop making just ho-hum bonsai and start making real trees.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed May 13, 2015 5:30 pm

even though some of my trees cross the line from reality to fantasy, i still say "AMEN", jim !
and mike is right in that an abstract image of a tree is a helluva lot easier to contrive than one that speaks purely of nature...

but as a newbie, the fantastical is/was appealing, though the deeper i get into this, the more i see the pure beauty of a tree that really does represent nature... and the beginning of that, for me, came from arthur joura.

i was telling arthur about a rainbow eucalyptus that i acquired and was attempting to apply bonsai techniques to and when i explained how the technicolor bark almost looks fake he asked me: "why would you want a real tree that looks fake ?"

to which i cleverly replied: "well, i... ahem... er... um... scratch "

Wink

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Van on Wed May 13, 2015 11:19 pm

JimLewis wrote:
The contradictory statement made by our late beloved John Naka befuddles even the experts in the bonsai community

Maybe then most of us would stop making just ho-hum bonsai and start making real trees.

The guy thats making the ho-hum just captured one of the biggest award in the country as i stated in the post, look it up. For someone that caliber to ho-hum, i just ask a questions to make sure its plainly black and white like you state or its more than that. I appricate your opinion and waiting for any other views because accepting an idea without questioning sometimes a dangerous thing to do. Thanks.

van

Van
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Van on Wed May 13, 2015 11:31 pm

beer city snake wrote:

van - i know you don't like to pander to people, so i gotta ask: was that meant to sound smarmy ???
or is it just the lack of vocal inflection leaving us with only the interpretation of your phrasing ???
(such as the use of "enlighten us"...)

just curious... scratch

(mike - i know you cant post pics here, so feel free to dump a bunch on our blog and post a link to it... thats what its there for)

Show us, educate us, open our eyes... or shine a light on us. I think i like the last one, how about you?

Go a head and take a dump on me, i would love to dig through a pile of crap and see something. After all, you are what you eat right? Thanks.

van

Van
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed May 13, 2015 11:37 pm

Rolling Eyes

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  M. Frary on Thu May 14, 2015 3:25 am

JimLewis wrote:
The contradictory statement made by our late beloved John Naka befuddles even the experts in the bonsai community

"Befuddles?"  Phoo.  All you have to do is think about it.  "Contradictory?"  Nutz.  All you have to do is look at the trees displayed in the typical club display -- my club or your club, I don't care.  How many of those trees make you want to go back and look again, and then again?  How many of them can you pass by with "Oh, another juniper cascade." and go on to the next tree or table.  How many of them make you think of looking for birds' nests in their branches?  And how many do you pass by as "Just another bonsai?"

John's wise comment should be tattooed on the inside of every bonsaiests' eyelids.  

Maybe then most of us would stop making just ho-hum bonsai and start making real trees.
I have a humming bird nest I found years ago. You just gave me a great idea Jim.

M. Frary
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun May 17, 2015 10:25 am

Van,

depending on what you want [ young, middle or mature tree look ] study/draw 10 to 20 examples of one type, say an elm. Then take the qualities you prefer, put it into an effort.

Good chance you will end up with a tree that is individual, suits your taste, but may not neccessarily, be a group pleaser.

Bonsai is what you grow and prefer. The problem will always be, when you put it out for public viewing and naturally public taste.

Mr. Naka, may have made the statement, but he didn't expand on into the results.

Be aware the group is going through the blah blahs after the spring flush, good time to go away and come back in October or so. Too many arguments.
Probably fading away until then, lots of physical work to do.

Hope to see your efforts in images, don't theorise yourself to death.
Laters.
Khaimraj


This called, Oxy for short, latin name is extremely long. Swamp type, there are also cousins that grow inland. Flowers are stars. Still have to learn how to make it bloom. Has to be dried out. Some where at 14 to 18 feet [say 5 m ] in height when mature, and largest trunk seen so far 8 " [ 20 cm or so ]


Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  M. Frary on Sun May 17, 2015 12:26 pm

I think theories are all Van has. I wasn't arguing. He had a question. He got my answer.
I think of myself as a people pleaser.

M. Frary
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sun May 17, 2015 2:26 pm

M. Frary wrote:  I think theories are all Van has.  

actually he does have some cool material he posted...
but sometimes expounding on theories from atop a soap-box gets in the way of us seeing that...
(present company included... which is a lesson i am still learning Wink )

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun May 17, 2015 6:04 pm

After years of drawing trees, this is my answer.

Any shape could be a tree, as nature has practically every shape possible.
However, as folk go, most like to be led, so the many love the formula type trees. They have been selected for maximum eye pleasure.

The so called - Natural style - is just another formula in the malking.

BUT why worry, or debate any of this ?

Only a man set out for sales would consider any of this important.

What you do in your backyard is for your contemplation / pleasure / peace of mind.

Health may take 3 to 5 years to master ---------------- but Design is for life!
Laters.
Khaimraj


Another long name - Zanthoxylum  [ local ] shape has since changed. New Species and still learning.
Smells like pepper.



Last edited by Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun May 17, 2015 6:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : adding image)

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Van on Sun May 17, 2015 6:37 pm

/


Last edited by Van on Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:37 am; edited 1 time in total

Van
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Guest on Fri May 22, 2015 6:50 pm

Yikes! At the risk of getting my head torn off ...

Back in the day I met and spoke with Mr. Naka (as well as Ben Oki, Johnny Uchida, and a few others from the L.A. Japanese American bonsai community). I think first we need to realize that when they pass down knowledge, enigmatic is baked right into the cake. It's all about sub text.

Imo Mr. Naka was alluding to what he saw as a huge problem with American bonsai. Too many practitioners garnered their inspiration from 2 dimensional images seen in magazines and books with the resultant trees flat, 2 dimensional, cartoon versions of what they could have been (and personally it appears to me this problem has gotten worse. We need to view our tees from overhead often. W/o depth you've got jack all). Another all too common mistake; apex leaning away or pointing up. We need to reconcile in a pot what we would be seeing standing in front of the real thing. The perspective has the crown leaning towards you even if it's a profile tree). In short I believe the sensei was instructing us to draw inspiration from the wild.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri May 22, 2015 7:13 pm

which is exactly why i believe far too much emphasis is placed on deciding what the "front" of a tree is...

of course when you stick a tree in "the contest" you want the best side forward, but beyond that it should be pleasing from all sides
(which of course can be more difficult than just getting one side to look good)

arthur joura came to milwaukee for a talk and workshop with carolina hornbeams - all young and small -
and he got quite the kick out of how everyone already had their "front" picked out Laughing

he is one of my main eye-openers to many aspects of this banzai world

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Guest on Fri May 22, 2015 8:41 pm

Ha ha. It's like the old axiom: If you can't decide on a front / round pot. Decide later.

I believe it's crucial to style a tree with the front decided upon. What makes a bonsai personal to the viewer is the apex. The grandeur, beauty, life story comes from else where. The apex is the personalized expression of the entity. Imo it should always be coming towards the viewer and it's neigh on impossible to do that w/o knowing where the viewer is going to be.

There's a vid with Ryan Neil succinctly describing the process (i'll look in bookmarks in a minute). It's the best I've ever seen regards front and shows how more often than not it's a series of hierarchical compromises which on a complex design could mean that the feature we've fallen in love with may not even show. We need to let the tree tell us where the front is. Anything less than a honest assessment becomes imposition. It' okay to be wrong (i am often hence the long history of re-style) but styling begins and revolves around the front (imho).

I think it's this one:



but possibly:


Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri May 22, 2015 10:24 pm

i suppose i can see the sense in that from a design standpoint...
puts alot of emphasis on the apex...

but i fully agree with letting the tree dictate not only the front, but other aspects of it as well.
(and that is a relatively new revelation for this newbie as is evidenced by some of my earlier efforts Embarassed )

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Guest on Fri May 22, 2015 10:30 pm

arrrgh! I was dead wrong. It's this demonstration in Canberra. He gives a great hierarchy of bonsai design concepts starting at the 28 minute mark:


Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sat May 23, 2015 1:26 am

havent watched those vids, but as i'm outside working on a couple trees, i was giving some thought to what you said about the apex and front etc, and the more i think on it, the more that seems especially applicable to conifers but not so much deciduous (and in saying that i am painting with the broadest of strokes... but still)

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat May 23, 2015 2:07 am

Actually Kevin, Mike,

the videos by,

https://www.youtube.com/user/bjorvalabonsai

would have cleared that up, as he often moves around the tree, which is how on our side we noted the actual density of many varieties grown in Japan.

Of course if you are using the Calligraphic style, which is meant to be viewed as an ink-painting, from the front only, well that is another matter.

That front bit feels like a reaction, as more folk naturally explore the ideas in growing Bonsai. Of course for the many a front is enough for showing off a creation. Sculpture in the round is going to be much more demanding.
And so the world turns.
Laters
Khaimraj

* Kevin, it was a song for fun, don't overthink it. Laughing Laughing Laughing

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Guest on Sat May 23, 2015 2:41 am

beer city snake wrote:havent watched those vids, but as i'm outside working on a couple trees, i was giving some thought to what you said about the apex and front etc, and the more i think on it, the more that seems especially applicable to conifers but not so much deciduous (and in saying that i am painting with the broadest of strokes... but still)

We may have take a meeting to decide on a format to set up a conference to agree to disagree Kevin :) Encountering a tall object in the world is tough for primates. We make quick sense of things horizontally. Birds and fish 'see' up and down.

To me it doesn't matter the genus or style of bonsai. Studying a large tree in nature (or a sky-scraper for that matter) from our stature as humans, the perspective causes the tip to appear to be leaning towards us. If we get too close the tip is no longer visible (imagine reproducing THAT in miniature?) and we are no longer looking at a vertical object. Only part of it. If it is looking away from you, turning it's back on you. or not visible at all, we will never really have a personal connection. Never really have that moment where we are communing with another sentient being. If we have had moments like that with bonsai go back and see what the apex is doing. "...even in a profile tree {where the apex is 'looking' to one side}" that mass should lean towards the front.

I wish there were more overhead shots of the great bonsai we all know and love. It may be surprising to notice how many of the great ones have the apex (or the apex of the dominate tree in a multi-trunked version) leaning quite a bit towards the viewer. I welcome pictures of bonsai that run contrary to the 'head bowed' trees.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Don't make a tree looked like a bonsai but make a bonsai looked like a tree - Revisit

Post  Sponsored content Today at 10:33 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum