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

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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 2:59 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote: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.

Sorry but you lost me there. The front bit? When you style a tree it is regardless of a front? Sculpture in the round is only in the round if we go around it (or it's on a moving turntable. weird) but if we stop to have a conversation with it, that always takes place from the front. Seen many images of 'David' from the back? Hope not =0 Naturally we wish our trees to look best from any angle. But without a front it's a pleasant plant in an expensive pot. That's great and I don't think many mind when they are called bonsai. That's fine too. Not bonsai though. Not penjing either.

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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 9:51 am

Mickey,

we are on the same road. To continue the conversation on - the front - I would have suggested round pots and mentioned that historically, sculpture in the round [ 3d ] always has good sides, excellent sides and weak sides.

Since I tend to view trees from a distance, to get the overall shape/s, I really haven't spent a lot of time thinking about tops leaning toward the viewer.
The silhouette and viewing for shapes may have either cancelled it or incorporated it ?

I think a good many forget that for most Bonsai is a relaxing hobby and may not have a great deal of deep, profound thoughts. I am probably one of them, as I simply grew up in the jungle, and have a love of trees. Memories.
In the city here, there is a deficiency as trees go.
I also noted that the urge to grow something green goes up in apartments in Florence, Italy.

I guess all I am doing is applying Fine Art rules to Bonsai.
Until.
Khaimraj

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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 2:55 pm

and admittedly, some, if not most, of my "theories" are based on nothing more than "what i like" and what can i, as a relative newbie (in my 3-4th fully devoted year) pull off in a pleasing, convincing manner on my own accord, while avoiding becoming a "check-book" artist... (being someone who purchases finished or nearly finished trees) nor someone who blindly follows what they are told or have read by their bonsai artist de jour...

you would not believe how many basic design concepts i rejected outright from the beginning, that have eventually made sense as my material has developed and my knowledge has grown... conversely i have later found that some of those rejected ideas were actually rejected by others as well in the pursuit of finding our own, north american, identity in this endeavor.

i also believe there is room for less definitive-ness in applying labels such as bonsai and penjing which are foreign words from a foreign land with a foreign culture. (a deceased horse which continues to be dragged out of the barn, hitched to its cart and flogged to no avail)

pretty plant in an expensive pot ?
no thanks

striking tree in a cool pot
i'm all in.

but then again, i am no purist... about anything.

(and i hope that the agreeing to disagree is taken in the light of its intent, being nothing more than friendly discourse of course)
Wink Cool

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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 6:40 pm

Khimraj,

I too sensed we are on the same road. I just wasn't quite sure what you meant. Apologies if it sounded like I was trying to dictate rules from on high. I have seen a bit of your tress and I admire them very much. I could be completely content just working and enjoying my modest trees in the solitude of my yard. All the rest of it is secondary ... BUT! ... I still need to bring in akadama from Japan, raffia from the Philippines, pots from China, composted pine bark from Texas, and plants from where ever in the world they originate ... and this leads to commerce and this becomes social and the curiosity of what others are doing and this leads to  you and I discussing esoteric concepts that almost no one cares about. I'm always wanting to grow and learn and I hope to learn from you as well. Cheers my friend :)

Kevin: Sorry Kevin. I went a bit past my shelf life on that one eh? Got a wee bit too strict(?). Maybe a little on how a guy who basically has broken every rule in life (mostly with results that were not good) came to be so strident about how the apex should lean :D

When I began with bonsai I wanted my trees to be like the trees in Japan and China. I read and memorized the 'rules' and began to  apply them. After some time the nature of it caused me to question the rules and the possibility that the rules were stifling creativity. You know, why be bound by oppressive rules? Trees in nature grow every which way. Won't all our trees look the same if we all blindly follow the rules? With this urge to be free I began to dissect the rules (strong suggestions) to try and understand why they were necessary. I studied also design concepts in the art world. Graphics, perspective, foreshortening in painting, asymmetry, golden triangle, scale, and so on as well as the science of how, as a species we see and process what we are seeing. After some time, and with kind guidance, while still coming to understand these art concepts the realization came that the rules are not rules at all. They are an accumulated wisdom passed down for generations from artists whom were successful at idealizing nature in miniature.  Living things daily on the edge of death created for the joy of it. To me it seemed bonsai can be the most beautiful things that came into being by the touch of man. In short, we utilize the 'rules' because they work. We can and should break the rules whenever possible but I believe strongly this should only be done if we understand the rule we are breaking to begin with and also it needs to be for a good reason. Not just for the sake of breaking or not ignored simply because we are wanting our own style.

I can't be sure I'm correctly assessing Mr. Naka's words but I do know that the disappointment in the regression of American bonsai was a very real thing in that community (and likely still is). Now we have some young lions in this country who studied in Japan and they feel the same. They also intend to try and elevate our game. I sincerely hope I don't have to hear some tosser say: "Oh. Of course they want it tobecome something more. They are trying to  sell trees." This goes way beyond commerce. This is beginning to affect our self image as a nation. We should be second only to Japan. After the second world war and the 'reparation' of Japan along with Japanese brides, American G.I.s returned home with a love of Japanese culture. Bonsai was part of this. Once the detention camps were closed and the large Japanese American communities began re-establishing in LA. SF, Portland and Seattle they too began again with their trees. Some how we let the rest of the world catch and surpass us. Personally I think it's because we've become a nation of dabblers. We are too easily distracted. We give up and settle for pleasant and low maintenance. We had an enormous head start on guys like Pall and Noelanders. The Italians and Spanish? Forget about it. We'll never catch them. We need to ask ourselves why.

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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 7:07 pm

Mickey,

Edzard was an old IBCER and a good friend, ha small world. He sent me the Bonsai pot catalogue I use for reference for designs, great guy.
I tried to call him, but kept getting his answering machine on work.
He used to be here back in 2010 and well before on the IBC e-mail group list.

I knew Chinese ink painting [ I prefer the work before 1600 or so ] before I really knew Penjing.
I am also 1/4 Chinese as my grandfather is from a small village outside Canton [ forgive me my laziness for using the English name, he came over in 1900's or so, his mum and uncle are both buried in Trinidad. Family name is supposed to be Su Ping.]

By passed Akadama for local material, and I have grown from seed J.B.pine about 25 years plus. Still learning about them. A gentleman named Adair, has been helping my brother-in-law out, over on Bonsai-Nut.
Make our pots as we have clay similar to Yi-Xing.
Aged compost [ courtesy organic farming - Roadale ] and standard plants from the tropical, sub-tropical and one ginkgo from the UK since 1992. [ refridgerator ]
Learning to use local trees, as they are found.
BUT our climate even with the 6 month dry season, grows trees of health and great domes.
This is around my 35th year growing thingees.

Our Bonsai society is presently without a leader, as one man, an elderly Chinese gentleman was carrying it all. He got fed up, and I suspect with the Bought sai attitude.
So I am trying to just give a simple two component soil and the get out of Dodge, as that Design part is too too much to teach. Laughing Laughing
I even made arragements for lessons and a kiln to fire the efforts, no interest.

I would rather focus on a Bonsai Museum.
Until.
Khaimraj

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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 24, 2015 2:58 pm

well stated mike... very well stated.
i did not know you were a man of letters Wink

and i fully agree that the rules (for lack of a better term) need to be known before they are broken.
i was told that in the first of the novice classes i took through the milwaukee bonsai society.

luckily i was told that by someone i respect and truly wanted to learn from:
the AAC's own Ron Fortmann.

unfortunately i understood that a bit late for some of my earlier trees...
but thats ok because time marches on and as it does so, we learn.

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

Post  Van on Mon May 25, 2015 3:00 pm

Hi Mike,
I really enjoy your takes, and thanks for taking time to express how you feel.  I am just a newbie myself, but base on what I have observed so far, I can relate a lot of your thinking process.

mikeyeye wrote:
When I began with bonsai I wanted my trees to be like the trees in Japan and China. I read and memorized the 'rules' and began to  apply them. After some time the nature of it caused me to question the rules and the possibility that the rules were stifling creativity. You know, why be bound by oppressive rules? Trees in nature grow every which way. Won't all our trees look the same if we all blindly follow the rules? With this urge to be free I began to dissect the rules (strong suggestions) to try and understand why they were necessary. I studied also design concepts in the art world. Graphics, perspective, foreshortening in painting, asymmetry, golden triangle, scale, and so on as well as the science of how, as a species we see and process what we are seeing. After some time, and with kind guidance, while still coming to understand these art concepts the realization came that the rules are not rules at all. They are an accumulated wisdom passed down for generations from artists whom were successful at idealizing nature in miniature.  Living things daily on the edge of death created for the joy of it. To me it seemed bonsai can be the most beautiful things that came into being by the touch of man. In short, we utilize the 'rules' because they work. We can and should break the rules whenever possible but I believe strongly this should only be done if we understand the rule we are breaking to begin with and also it needs to be for a good reason. Not just for the sake of breaking or not ignored simply because we are wanting our own style.

Water Pall once said in his video: If you think natural is beautiful, take a look of yourself in the mirror in the morning.  Without understanding the concepts of arts and only following nature as guidelines, i think a lot of us got lost in the woods.

mikeyeye wrote:
I can't be sure I'm correctly assessing Mr. Naka's words but I do know that the disappointment in the regression of American bonsai was a very real thing in that community (and likely still is).

For the last thirty years or so, the rhythm of our country emphasizes fast: fast pace, fast cars, fast foods... instant noodle, instant results, instant gratifications...  the key element in bonsai is time, and time is something we never have enough even those there are 24 hours each day like the rest of the world; we just lack patient.  Bonsai is a process to enjoy along the way, gratifications should be considered only as the by product of that process; until then, gratification is only an illusion.

mikeyeye wrote:
This is beginning to affect our self image as a nation. We should be second only to Japan. After the second world war and the 'reparation' of Japan along with Japanese brides, American G.I.s returned home with a love of Japanese culture. Bonsai was part of this. Once the detention camps were closed and the large Japanese American communities began re-establishing in LA. SF, Portland and Seattle they too began again with their trees. Some how we let the rest of the world catch and surpass us. Personally I think it's because we've become a nation of dabblers. We are too easily distracted. We give up and settle for pleasant and low maintenance. We had an enormous head start on guys like Pall and Noelanders. The Italians and Spanish? Forget about it. We'll never catch them. We need to ask ourselves why.

The fathers went to war and fought mightily for the sake of the country and brought back something beautiful from the enemy.  The sons grew up antiwar, stone, fat, and bald from drug, fast food, and hormone.  Now it leave the grandsons fumbling around the woods to find their ways.  I still have hope because of the enormous resources this country has to offer, it quite a bit of catch up to do but it looks like as a country we become passionate about bonsai again. It will get better if we rally and support the artists dedicate 5-6 years of their lives in foreign land to relearn the arts, commercial or not, the artists need to eat to sustain their ambitions.  Thanks again.

van

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

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:13 pm

it is amazing how two very similar topics of discussion have taken two very different directions...

this one being very civil and agreeable Cool
and the arboretum one, not so much so Evil or Very Mad

anyways, thank you mikey for reminding us of this thread in your arboretum post.
(but i cant help but wonder about the tonal shift... scratch )

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

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