Life's a Beech

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Life's a Beech

Post  BobbyLane on Tue Dec 27, 2016 5:53 pm

Caution Exclamation  Deadwood zone.....Please step away now if you're not a fan of old, gnarly, battled hardened, deciduous trees with deadwood caution-Red zone Exclamation

lol!

Hi folks, hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

This Gnarly old Beech was my present to myself!
Ive been busy with it over the festive period and today finished the carving.. the tree has a nice flat nebari and a fat stumpy trunk, not pretty by any means, the material lends itself to a battle hardened, ancient deciduous image, probably going to be the best example ive ever had in my collection of a veteran tree.....a worthy replacement for my yamadori Beech

The branch structure and ramification will need some time...ive cut off most of the larger buds at the tips, this should get the tiny dormant ones to pop in spring
IMG_3289 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
IMG_3292 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
IMG_3294 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr


The trunk is completely hollow
IMG_3299 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

After some reduction of heavy bits
IMG_3309 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

some carving work and stripping of the hollw/deadwood area
2016-12-24_10-50-22 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

I wanted to show from the front, that the tree is hollow at the top, but rather than open up the entire trunk, something i likely would of done in the past, ive decided to add some mystique, so you can see that the trunk is hollow, but you can't see to what extent....i thought the uro at the front looked a little round/manmade, so now rather than being round it ties into a jagged deadwood section. i think it works and can be tweaked in time
IMG_3389 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

im hopeful the cut back will give me some budding further down these sub trunks/branches, i'd like to cut at the red lines, but its risky cutting back beech to no viable buds, so i will wait until the spring to see what back budding i get...branch one looks like it has some nodes under the bark but can't be certain yet
IMG_3309 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

IMG_3429 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
IMG_3435 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
IMG_3448 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
IMG_3450 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

There is plenty of internal growth in other areas and lots of dormant buds on some of the smaller twiggy branches
IMG_3451 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
IMG_3452 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
IMG_3453 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
IMG_3457 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

Beech in the wild isnt really known for its gnarled bark, hollow trunks and deadwood sections, nothing like Oak tree, but there are exceptions...but for me, this material doesnt lend itself to your typical, elegant beech tree, so the styling is like that of a Champion tree, maybe an old Beech pollard




A foggy back drop
IMG_3513 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
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Re: Life's a Beech

Post  Richard S on Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:16 pm

This is a great piece of material and I love what you've done to it.

There are plenty of gnarly old beech trees around that feature dead wood and hollow trunks to some extent but even if there weren't I don't see that it would matter. What you are creating is the image of an ancient deciduous tree that has reached great age and which wears the evidence of it's struggle for survival for all to see.

It's a recognisably iconic image of an ancient tree even if it isn't typically "Beech".

You've also succeeded in adding great character to a tree which was otherwise a bit awkward and which certainly wouldn't make the grade as "classical bonsai".

It's funny but just yesterday I was reading Michael Hadgedorn's blog in which he declared that the Beech he was working on would always be "second rate" because it had scars on the trunk. Now Hadgehorn is a great bonsai artist and I take the point if the scars in question are "obviously" man made but I certainly don't hold with the notion that to be "first rate" bonsai, deciduous trees (Beech or any other) must be scar free.

Carve away mate is what I say Very Happy  your doing great work (and yes, I am taking notes and shamelessly intending to steal all of your best ideas).

Regards

Richard
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Re: Life's a Beech

Post  BobbyLane on Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:13 pm

Richard S wrote:This is a great piece of material and I love what you've done to it.

There are plenty of gnarly old beech trees around that feature dead wood and hollow trunks to some extent but even if there weren't I don't see that it would matter. What you are creating is the image of an ancient deciduous tree that has reached great age and which wears the evidence of it's struggle for survival for all to see.

It's a recognisably iconic image of an ancient tree even if it isn't typically "Beech".

You've also succeeded in adding great character to a tree which was otherwise a bit awkward and which certainly wouldn't make the grade as "classical bonsai".

It's funny but just yesterday I was reading Michael Hadgedorn's blog in which he declared that the Beech he was working on would always be "second rate" because it had scars on the trunk. Now Hadgehorn is a great bonsai artist and I take the point if the scars in question are "obviously" man made but I certainly don't hold with the notion that to be "first rate" bonsai, deciduous trees (Beech or any other) must be scar free.

Carve away mate is what I say Very Happy  your doing great work (and yes, I am taking notes and shamelessly intending to steal all of your best ideas).

Regards

Richard

Cheers Rich, You're right there is in fact plenty of Beech trees showing these characteristics, ive been looking at photo's of the Burnham Beeches and many of those have hollow trunks, areas of deadwood....i also believe trees dont have to be scar/hole free to make good bonsai, if wanting to create an image of whats in nature then these features shouldnt be scorned on. the key is that such features are not overdone or appear man made. ive still got some work to do on this one, but ive established the primary structure and can make reductions here and there without spoiling the basic image too much, this is how i like to work my trees, i dont believe that a tree has to look crappy all the time in order for it to be better in the future. in the case of Beech its a one flush tree so will always be a long term project anyway. for eg, ive highlighted where i think three of the strong branches will need to likely be reduced, with red lines....depending on how much back budding i get, only one of those might be reduced this coming season. simply no rush or need to cut everything back to the bare bones. i can enjoy the image while it develops. thats just me though...ive also made two shallow Uro at the base of two main sub trunks, those will be taken deeper after the tree has adjusted and will appear more natural. in spring the tree will be slipped into an oval. will keep the thread updated Cool
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