Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

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Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  Bolero on Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:14 am

Here is my 11 month old "Work in Progress" Bonsai Landscape,
size is 24"w x 12"d x 9"h, Juniper Shimpaku, Mugo Pine, Ying rock...
It is a view of a Mountain outcropping...

Please give your best Critique and commentary so I may improve upon my work.
I plan to remove 2 and add 4 new in 2016




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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  JimLewis on Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:30 pm

Very nice start.  I'd like to see a little less symmetry by moving the large stone a bit to the left or right.   And about that stone.  It's nice, but doesn't seem to match the other stones in the landscape.  Geology in the "real world" is usually a bit more consistent -- tho not always.

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Response...

Post  Bolero on Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:45 pm

Thanks Jim and Excellent point, one of my many shortcomings is Symmetry, I just always go there...Unfortunately
the Main Rock and others in this Landscape are cemented to the Tray so way too late to make a change like that...

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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  JimLewis on Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:20 pm

Main Rock and others in this Landscape are cemented to the Tray

Why?

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Rock in Landscape

Post  Bolero on Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:45 pm

I cement the rocks in because the Landscape receives a lot of movement, and the bottoms of the various rocks are not always flat for a good solid seating...in this particular landscape I have the center prominent focal point rock raised on 3 pieces of 1"tk x 3" long wood, shims if you please, to raise the rock for the setting I am trying to achieve.
Its all glued as an assembly....I could break it loose and reset it off center to break up the symmetry, but it would be like starting all over....I'm not sure that it is that critical to the overall effect...???
I have already removed and relocated a couple of the Shimpaku and 1 Mugo, here is a picture from this AM...





Now I am in a quandary as to what I should plant in the front of the landscape, need help here....type and size, size here really important.

what do you think...???

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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:33 pm

something much more developed would be good for up front-ish so as to make the thin young material in the back seem more distant...

my initial comment (which i withheld) was going to be about the lack of development of the material for being in a landscape
(something i too was doing at first)

something i learned at the NC expo this year is that it really is worth it to get your material nicely developed before putting into a landscape, trayscape, rock planting etc.

aside from the aesthetics, it is much easier to develop the material when it is on its own...

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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  dick benbow on Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:47 pm

I always like to see a worn path or maybe a stream bed that adds more interest to the scene.

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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  jgeanangel on Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:24 pm

Hey Bolero...  I applaud your efforts and appreciate that you seem to be trying very hard at this!

You asked for a critique so I would like to share my opinion on a few things.

1. You really need to develop some better material for these efforts or they are always going to look amateurish. You would be amazed how much better material can get in just a season or two of focused development...especially when you are using material this small.

2. The planting lacks a consistent and believable perspective.  Junipers taller than the mtn in the back of the planting...very small material in the front.

3. Your stone placement doesn't create any flow to the composition...  You have probably seen this before but I encourage you to do an image search for iwagumi style...this aquascaping style can help you better understand how to arrange stones so that there is consistent flow and movement to your composition....pay attention to how your eye moves across a composition.

4. Landscapes are done on trays or slabs not in pots....

5. And i think this is an important one...the plane of your planting is all the same...plane meaning ground level....  the ground is never flat in a natural landscape like this...  I suspect part of the problem is the use of the pot instead of a tray....gives you a false sense of  the ground level when creating.  I would encourage you to try and create a planting in which there is zero flat ground...there is always a slope moving up or down and  in all directions.  Refer again to the aquascaping photos.

6. The scale between your trees and your hardscape is off by a lot to my eye. Your rocks need to be twice as large for the size trees you are using...and you are already using trees too small in my opinion.  If your inspiration for the landscapes you are doing is Chinese landscapes...I encourage you to really pay attention to the size of those plantings...I would bet money that they are significantly larger (many are 4-8' wide) than what you are imagining from photos.  I think you will ultimately find that at the size you are working it is going to be extremely difficult to keep the trees healthy and in shape long term.  Mame size bonsai are very difficult to maintain over time and they live in tiny pots thus limiting their growth...your trees will grow much too fast to be maintainable over the long term in the deep pots you use....which will only further the scale issue.


I might suggest that you use clay or muck as a base for your stones instead of permanently securing your stones...it will give you much more flexibility and more easily allow you to place stones with an eye toward movement.

I don't think most folks realize just how hard it is to source the right material for creating tray landscapes.  After nearly 20 years of sourcing materials, I still find that I never have the right rocks, trees, trays, and other plant material to put together a really good landscape.  

Here are a couple photos of a project I've started...table top is 42" and the tallest stone is somewhere close to the same from the top of the table...I estimate that there is nearly 500 pounds of stone used.


Playing with some plants...I suspect it will take another several years before I have just the right plant material.


Keep on working at it! i have great confidence that you will find the right recipe!
John


Last edited by jgeanangel on Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:27 am; edited 2 times in total

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Bonsai Lanscape

Post  Bolero on Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:36 pm

WOW....Mr Geanangel you are a Master and I a mere Grasshopper in the World of Bonsai so I am not going to get into your Critique other than saying I appreciate your advice.......However I do wish to provide a bit of Context and as stated in the OP my inspiration is a Rocky (mountain) Outcropping not a Mountain scene so your comparison of tree size to stone size is ill founded...and to me perspective is everything in a Bonsai Landscape and my perspective is incomplete at this point of the Landscape.

I really do appreciate that you would take the time to study and comment on my offering, thank you, I will take some of what you say under advisement...

The pictures of your newly started Landscape, 500lbs of stone and serious Bonsai plants are amazing and I am sure will turn into a Bonsai Landscape of major repute.
I lack the money, resources and room to build Landscapes on that level but thank you for sharing.


Images of Rocky outcroppings




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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:24 am

The above images [ rocks in nature ] work because they are a mass that has been weathered in situ.

It may help if you spent some time simply getting the rocks to look natural, and studied rock penjing.
Only much later adding vegetation.
Images shot dead on may help as well, too many over views.

Perhaps an effort of just rocks, with those small plants added to them slowly [ growing on the rocks ]

Making landscapes look natural is a great deal of work. Lots of time.
I encourage to keep growing.
Thanks for sharing, it is appreciated.
Laters
Khaimraj

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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:53 pm

Bolero wrote:I do wish to provide a bit of Context and as stated in the OP my inspiration is a Rocky (mountain) Outcropping not a Mountain scene so your comparison of tree size to stone size is ill founded...

bolero - with what you stated, points 1-6 of what john wrote are still applicable to what you are trying to achieve. Wink

we all have much to learn and your landscapes, like everyone elses, will only get better as we learn.
the advantage you have is no fear of diving in and trying it.


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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  steveb on Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:53 am

Thanks for sharing information on constructing a landscape. I'm planning on starting one next spring and will certainly refer back to your guidelines John.

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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  Norma on Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:22 am

Hi Bolero, The next time you build a landscape bonsai scene rather than gluing the rocks in place, pick up some floral clay found at most garden centers. It's easier to change the rocks and you won't ruin your bonsai pot! Good luck and don't be discouraged!

Norma

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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  dick benbow on Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:40 pm

I also use that floral clay to hold my frogs* in my ikebana pots without damage....


*spikey needles to hold flowers in place in arraingements.

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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

Post  Kakejiku on Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:07 am

dick benbow wrote:I also use that floral clay to hold my frogs* in my ikebana pots without damage....


*spikey needles to hold flowers in place in arraingements.

剣山 【けんざん】 (n) (See 生け花・1) needle-point holder (in ikebana); frog

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Re: Please Critique my New Bonsai Tray Landscape

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