Triangular trees.

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Triangular trees.

Post  Marco Giai-Coletti on Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:52 pm

Something I'm struggling to understand, perhaps others out there are wondering the same thing or can provide an explanation.

If bonsai are stylised versions of the real thing, then why are the majority shaped like an acute triangle? The only exception seems to be the broom. I see more broom shaped trees in the wild than I do acute triangles.

Most trees are apically dominant, which means that the acute triangle is against the natural growth habit of the plant.

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  leatherback on Sat Jun 06, 2015 8:03 pm

Good observation.
Many trees are styled as pines, even when they are working on an oak. In my view, it is not right.
Keeping the lower branches healthy is easier in a traingular shape (Allowing more sun to reach them) which may be of influence.

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Jun 07, 2015 10:15 am

Marco,

it's a design technique. You aim for a traingle and then decide where to go from there, irregular, or rounded or oval or other or combinations.

If you have a shape, it is easier to begin to vary from that shape, in this case a triangle.

However, many folk, just stop with the triangle, as it gets confusing to go further. Bird in the hand.................

You can work this out using the Jun technique. Image an old tree that you like, rest a piece of tracing paper over the screen, and carefully copy the outline with a 6b, or 7b or 8b or 9b pencil. Study.

This is why I advise after the Health stage [ light plant biology and light soil science ] the Bonsaist should go and do some Design classes.
Hope this helps.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Guest on Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:34 am

Hi Marco

It is for shure a misunderstanding to train a broadleafed tree as a connifer, and people should go out in the nature to study how the trees actuly grow, and not just look at other peoples versions of nature, and maybe mistakes.
The only boadleafed tree I can think of  growing connifer-ish, is the japanese Acer palmatum...they have the clouds like the connifers, but acers having their branches pulled dawn, and the pads kept too dense, is seen inbetween...the branches should be allowed to also grow upwards, and the clouds kept open.

To keep a tree triangular is for me, a way to reach my goal, growing up the tree a bit by bit...later is something else going to happen...it is only a step on the way
Juns model is a good way to look at the tree, but at the same time, do you have to think of the conditions in hes country...what he can grow in 6 months, do we in Denmark and the rest of europe need 10 years for....the drawing will be long gone....with collected material is it something else.
Not a complain, I love Juns trees...and we all adapt to the conditions given Smile

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  William N. Valavanis on Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:56 am

Bonsai is a horticultural art form based on both art and horticulture.

There are two types of bonsai: classical and naturalistic, sometimes these two overlap.

The horticultural reason for shaping bonsai in a triangular silhouette is for light penetration to the lower branches.

The aesthetic reason for shaping bonsai in a triangular silhouette is for design. Of the three basic shapes in the world, circle, square and triangle, the triangle is the most stable and will not visually turn over.

In 1829 an old Japanese horticultural manual presented information and drawing on how to shape an "ideal" bonsai. The triangular form was clearly evident, along with several pages of "taboo" branch formations.

Generally, people to dislike the triangular silhouette favor the naturalistic forms of bonsai, and often say "anything goes, because they have seen it in nature." But usually these forms lack good basic design principles.

Bill

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sun Jun 07, 2015 2:55 pm

good topic... and good replies
this was also one of the first things arthur joura addressed with us in the workshop he did here...

as i move along in my articultural learning, i find that incorporating good "design" into a naturalistic tree is difficult.
from some finished results (by others) that i have seen, it is very rewarding, and so worth striving for, despite the challenges.

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Zach Smith on Sun Jun 07, 2015 3:05 pm

One purpose for the triangular shape is to fool the eye using forced perspective in order to make the tree seem much taller than it is. Go stand close to a large, tall tree and notice how the trunk, which may have little taper when viewed from a distance, now tapers pretty dramatically from bottom to top. Likewise with the foliage mass. In order to make a two foot tall tree appear to be 100 feet tall, the trunk and foliage mass needs to taper quickly from soil to apex.

In the broom style or broom-form tree, the forced perspective is achieved in the tapering of the sub-trunks rather than the main trunk, and in keeping the foliage closer to the outer edges rather than close in (you want the tree to look like a tree, not a shrub). This takes a lot of time and work if done properly. Broom style is one of the most difficult to do well, in my opinion. Walter Pall is unsurpassed at the broom-form style.

For what it's worth.

Zach

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  JimLewis on Sun Jun 07, 2015 3:15 pm

The triangle is a very flexible shape. In our trees it needn't result in pointy-top trees; many trees with rounded (more naturalistic) tops fit the general triangle shape, particularly if the tree is a bit wide. And you don't have to stay rigidly inside the lines.


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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Marco Giai-Coletti on Sun Jun 07, 2015 3:44 pm

Thanks for the replies, so it needn't be an acute triangle, an obtuse triangle is also acceptable from a horticulture and design point of view?

The exceptions must be the broom and Pierneef forms since there are no lower branches.

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  DougB on Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:26 pm

In truth because most bonsai trees are not formal uprights they are usually form scalene triangles. A triangle with unequal angles and sides. The rule of thirds and triangles has be taught in formal art for centuries.

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Guest on Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:01 pm

DougB wrote:In truth because most bonsai trees are not formal uprights they are usually form scalene triangles.  A triangle with unequal angles and sides.  The rule of thirds and triangles has be taught in formal art for centuries.

Well said

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Zach Smith on Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:49 pm

Scalene cones, to be precise.

Zach

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:13 am

how many sides does a cone even have ? scratch

Wink

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Zach Smith on Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:15 am

beer city snake wrote:how many sides does a cone even have ? scratch

Wink
Heh heh. I'm still trying to find where they end.

Zach

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:24 am

Zach Smith wrote:
beer city snake wrote:how many sides does a cone even have ? scratch

Wink
Heh heh.  I'm still trying to find where they end.

Zach

Smile

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Marco Giai-Coletti on Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:41 pm

This discussion seems appropriate.

http://bonsaibark.com/2015/06/18/whats-wrong-with-these-trees-or-not/

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  M. Frary on Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:01 pm

Marco Giai-Coletti wrote:Thanks for the replies, so it needn't be an acute triangle, an obtuse triangle is also acceptable from a horticulture and design point of view?

The exceptions must be the broom and Pierneef forms since there are no lower branches.
The Pierneef form is almost an upside down triangle.

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Marco Giai-Coletti on Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:04 pm

Precisely the opposite of what all others are trying to achieve.

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Precarious on Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:09 pm

Has anybody told the trees the form they are SUPPOSED to be taking? cyclops

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:40 pm

brings us right back to naka saying: dont make a tree look like a bonsai - make a bonsai look like a tree.

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  fiona on Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:10 am

beer city snake wrote:brings us right back to naka saying: dont make a tree look like a bonsai - make a bonsai look like a tree.
... which in turn brings us right back to the simple observation that few if any of the top bonsai in Japan look like anything like trees.

Perhaps we need to widen our Naka inspirations/quotations to answer Marco's original question and ask, rather than if they must have a particular shape, if our bonsai 'have philosophy, botany, artistry, human quality behind it' which Naka claims they must 'to be a bonsai'

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:56 pm

fiona wrote:
beer city snake wrote:brings us right back to naka saying: dont make a tree look like a bonsai - make a bonsai look like a tree.
... which in turn brings us right back to the simple observation that few if any of the top bonsai in Japan look like anything like trees.

which in turn is why some, like myself, prefer not to adhere to the japanese style Wink

as i said earlier, i believe the naturalistic style, but with good design principals, is far more difficult than following the established patterns set forth in countless (old) rule books...

and while marco wasnt asking why one is more difficult than the other, that could go a long way in explaining why so many bonsai are shaped the way they are... following "the rules" is generally easier than free thinking. (and "free thinking" does not necessarily mean "anything goes" as bill put forth)

at any rate, i believe marco got some rock solid answers to his inquiry, from some people worth paying attention to.


(disclaimer - it will be a long time before my trees have attained the styling i hope for, partly because of having to correct many things i did in my first couplafew years where i did believe "anything goes" Rolling Eyes Razz )

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:09 pm

Well Kevin,

as we say in Fine Art, oil painting as Wall / space fillers or Contemplation.

Bonsai - house decoration, or objects to stimulate the mind onto greater ideas.

Should be interesting watching - Naturalistic - turn into a style, as it will peak, and then .............
Next will be - Idealistic ------------------ Bonsai follows Fine Art.

Naturalism, Idealism, Classicism, Mannerism .................

Presently Bonsai is in Mannerism.

Pity these efforts cannot be hung as paintings on Museum walls, so much will be lost --------- sad.
Laters.
Khai.....

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Marco Giai-Coletti on Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:50 pm

All very interesting responses - thank you. Lots to ponder.

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Re: Triangular trees.

Post  Toshiro on Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:39 pm

I am new to bonsai, but have studied art for a while. Thing people say can be contradictory to things other people say. I find that this happens quite a bit in bonsai. As I have learned about the world of bonsai I have noticed that just because you follow the "rules" it does not mean you will have a beautiful tree. Also, If you skip some "rules" it doesn't mean you'll have an ugly tree. In bonsai different countries have different aesthetics. Within those countries there are groups who might concentrate on specific aesthetic values. In art school when i tried to follow the "rules" and please the instructor they usually disliked my work. When I did what I felt was right They liked it much better. This is my first year growing trees for bonsai and I love it. I have read that bonsai has fads that come and go. so, keep your trees healthy. Read up on the type of trees you think look good. Yes, some one might not agree with what I said. That is just part of Bonsai no kokoro.

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Re: Triangular trees.

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