Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  John Quinn on Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:54 pm

Earlier in this thread, Rob said "Don't worry so much about the name of the style but the image that it conveys..."
I think we have lost the forest for the trees...is it important what label we try to associate with a given tree? If it evokes a feeling in us that captures our imagination, whether it is a 'naturalistic' or 'idealized' representation of a tree, isn't that enough?

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  AlainK on Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:59 pm

John Quinn wrote:Earlier in this thread, Rob said "Don't worry so much about the name of the style but the image that it conveys..."
I think we have lost the forest for the trees...is it important what label we try to associate with a given tree? If it evokes a feeling in us that captures our imagination, whether it is a 'naturalistic' or 'idealized' representation of a tree, isn't that enough?

Aye!

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:03 pm

I'm really pleased to see that the other mods are in agreement on this. Let's all keep the emphasis on the beauty of the trees presented and maintain a valuable thread.

It will probably all be distilled down to the best pictures eventually, for the archive.

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Roger Snipes on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:04 pm

OK, here is a somewhat broom-like Euonymus. It still has a way to go in it's development.




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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Walter Pall on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:05 pm

Is this a broom form?

Anyway, it is a field elm, Ulmus campestre.


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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  fiona on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:32 pm

John Quinn wrote:Earlier in this thread, Rob said "Don't worry so much about the name of the style but the image that it conveys..." I think we have lost the forest for the trees...is it important what label we try to associate with a given tree? If it evokes a feeling in us that captures our imagination, whether it is a 'naturalistic' or 'idealized' representation of a tree, isn't that enough?
Kind of what Paul Landis was suggesting in his comment "Get stuck on definitions and miss the art methinks....." Or maybe Bruce Lee was talking about bonsai "labels" when he said, "It's like a finger pointing a way to the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory."

Anyway, is this Hawthorn of mine in the informal broom form? I think it is - or at least it is moving in that direction as it lacks ramification at present. It is certainly very different from most of the stylised hawthorns I see at exhibitions, and has indeed been criticised for being so. Yet I have one not unlike it as a garden tree. Comments would be welcome. Height approx 14 inches.

In leaf:



Winter image hastily snapped tonight - almost literally shooting in the dark!


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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Guest on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:41 pm

I love your tree, Fiona. It has a haunted,erie feeling about it. Tim Burton would like it as well affraid

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Peter E. on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:44 pm

fiona wrote: Comments would be welcome. Height approx 14 inches.

In leaf:



Winter image hastily snapped tonight - almost literally shooting in the dark!


I do not think this "Broom" style.

Is this ?.


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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  andy mcconnell on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:45 pm

fionas hawthorn ..very natural Very Happy
pleasing to the eye...as will said it has a spooky feel to it What a Face

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Chris Cochrane on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:56 pm

Tomio Yamada's bonsai at a Tokyo exhibit (Sakkaten, 12/2004)...



Other deciduous bonsai in the same exhibit...





Garden bonsai being watered outside the exhibit...






HOW MANY BROOMS?

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Guest on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:58 pm

fiona wrote:[

Anyway, is this Hawthorn of mine in the informal broom form? I think it is - or at least it is moving in that direction as it lacks ramification at present. It is certainly very different from most of the stylised hawthorns I see at exhibitions, and has indeed been criticised for being so. Yet I have one not unlike it as a garden tree. Comments would be welcome. Height approx 14 inches.
]
You say your tree has been criticised for not being like the "stylised" Hawthorns. Bunkum and balderdash. Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad
Come to mention it, of all the Yews I've seen in exhibition and books ( all stylised ). Never have I seen one in It's true form..... Broom.

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  fiona on Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:01 pm

Good point.

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  AlainK on Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:06 pm

Walter Pall wrote:Is this a broom form?

No, it isn't. Nae, es iz nicht.

It's an unformal upright tree. Since it isn't a conifer, the branches are more evenly ramified, which gives the tree a "broooom-like shape" when in full leaf.

I like your poking at established rules, but let's call a spade a spade, and a broom a broom. You wouldn't cut off the crutch of a disabled person, would you?

These terms (Hokidachi, shakan, chokkan, han-kengai...) and what they try to norm are convenient references for ordinary people who want to better themselves, to understand the basics of aesthetics.

You have achieved great works (in French, "oeuvres", oyf Deutsch, "Werken" ?..."), but now that you want to erase the alhabet because your genius doesn't need it any longer, do you think that the alphabet is of no use for the illiterate?

If so, that's an interesting point view.

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  AlainK on Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:15 pm

... all being said, i find all of the trees posted here beautiful.

Yes, 'beautiful' is not a norm, it's "un terme affectif".

L'affection, en français, c'est à la fois plus modeste et bien plus grand que le terme "affection" in English...

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  andy mcconnell on Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:25 pm

will baddeley wrote:
fiona wrote:[

Anyway, is this Hawthorn of mine in the informal broom form? I think it is - or at least it is moving in that direction as it lacks ramification at present. It is certainly very different from most of the stylised hawthorns I see at exhibitions, and has indeed been criticised for being so. Yet I have one not unlike it as a garden tree. Comments would be welcome. Height approx 14 inches.
]
You say your tree has been criticised for not being like the "stylised" Hawthorns. Bunkum and balderdash. Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad
Come to mention it, of all the Yews I've seen in exhibition and books ( all stylised ). Never have I seen one in It's true form..... Broom.

will
a yew i collected last fall ....huge size already in a natural broom style
one more year and styling can begin





andy

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Hans Vleugels on Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:21 am

Here are some definitions I found on the net which can tell us what a broomstyle bonsai is:

One of the classical bonsai styles, the broom style resembles an inverted broom with a single trunk dividing into branches and many symmetric branchlets, which themselves subdivide into twigs and so forth. The chief characteristics of the broom style is its distinctive silhouette, single, upright trunk and branch ramification. The broom style is specifically the form that replicates the way a number of deciduous plants or trees thrive in nature. This style offers you an image of a tree that grows without any competitors around.

There are two forms available in broom style. The first is the formal, while the other is the informal. In the formal division, you can see a broom bonsai featuring a trunk that separates at a particular angle and point. The trunk should be straight and upright and does not continue to the top of the tree; it branches out in all directions about 1/3 of the way up the entire height of the tree. Branches should start from a point on the trunk that is about one third of the total height of the tree. They usually emerge from one area, although this is not always the case and variants are possible. In this manner the branches and leaves form a ball-shaped crown which can also be very beautiful during the winter months. The division allows three or more branches to grow, each holding a thickness similar to each other. These branches emerge and grow upwards from the trunk where they originate. The most important thing to note about this type is that its branches grow diagonally to form a shape similar to that of a fan.

The informal broom, on the other hand, has a trunk that boasts bends and twists, resembling a tree blown by a harsh wind, or the one that is in movement. The branches of this type also grow upward to imitate the shape of a fan. A very natural style of tree that is often found growing in parklands and in form looks roughly like an upturned broom. Deciduous trees are most suitable for this style enabling the branch ramification to be appreciated without leaves in the tree's winter state.

For me the keypoints of a good broomstyle bonsai are: Single trunk, a straight upward trunk, branches should start from one point on the trunk, rounded shape of crown, and of course as much as possible ramification. Much depends on how you 'read' these rules or guidelines. But for me it is clear that some of the trees shown here are definitely not broomstyle bonsai. This does not mean they are lousy bonsai, but they just are not broomstyle bonsai. You can not call every deciduous tree with some ramification an informal broomstyle bonsai. My point of view...

Regards,
Hans

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Andrija Zokic on Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:50 am

The first of all I think that it is better to use term broom form , not broom style.
You can read here more - http://walterpallbonsaiarticles.blogspot.com/2009/10/styles-and-forms.html I graduated Art Academy (sculptor), and I teach art in the school, so all that has written in this article (considering my artistic background), really have a sense! (If bonsai is even art for you?)

On photos here we can see many mixed forms, but every tree has also elements of broom form. So those photos are not "off topic", because this topic has no title: "Show me your brooms – but exact brooms according to broom description given in bonsai books."

Form names are good because sometimes it can make communication easier, but I do not see greater meaning, especially I do not understand why on some exhibitions below the tree owner is also written tree form. I think it is completely unnecessary.

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  fiona on Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:30 am

Thank you, Andrija, as you have obviously done the same as I did which is look at what Walter has actually written on the subject outwith this thread. The one you reference is on of the articles I read too, a couple of years ago first and then revisited for this discussion. The parallel I draw between your own situation as an artist and sculptor and mine is that when I approach the whole area of Form vs Style from the English Literature perspective, I too can see the correlations. In my case the distinction is most marked in poetry, where there are clear forms - epic, ballad whatever you want to call them. Some of those forms having guidelines that are more strictly adhered to than others - Haiku obviously springs to mind here, as does original Anglo-Saxon poetry which gave us Beowulf and had the same adherence to syllable pattern. Yet if all poets wrote in exactly the same manner, we would have a colossal amount of detritus poetry where there existed good copies and bad copies of the same basic thing. Different styles evolved - in some cases as a definite kicking against the pricks and in others as a developmental (often experimental) desire to do something unique while maintaining a foot in the base camp. For me the Form is this base camp from which the poet starts. The bit of himself/herself (or the "school" they belong to) that is attached to the base form is the poet's own distinctive "voice" - in other words the way they "style" their poem. Anyway, you get the gist so I'll not go on. The main point I was trying to make in my earlier post was that sometimes we get blinkered by people telling us there are rules when there are merely guidelines. I am asking myself why, throughout this thread, I have had Harry Chapin's song "Flowers are Red" running through my head. Go find the lyrics and you'll see what I mean.

Now - any more pictures anyone?

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Smithy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:10 pm

I thought i would link my post in inspirational trees to here as i thought it was appropriate.
http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/bonsai-f1/inspirational-trees-t1054-90.htm#22840

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  pine queen on Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:27 pm

Zelkova serrata, the inspiration of broom form bonsai. "Noma Keyaki", a thousand year old Zelkova with a coke for scale.
Pic credit; lets just say it is for educational purposes from a Japanese site of sorts.

Q


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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  JimLewis on Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:08 pm

Thanks, Hans . . . I rest my/our case. clown

Naka I pp. 137-39 (Tho, on page 135, he comes closer to what Walter is saying) Question

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Walter Pall on Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:44 pm

Many of your will have read this already. Sorry, folks, but I have the feeling that it is time to post it again.

Since a few years the subject of ‘naturalistic’ bonsai is discussed in bonsai circles especially on the internet. Whenever it comes up the forums are getting lively. The subject has a tendency to polarize. Well, it is in a way the antithesis to modern abstract bonsai design, but this alone is not enough to cause such a lot of disagreement. One reason is that the concept is simply not understood by many.

The movement is having a following all around the world. I am known as a proponent, but I have not really invented it. I have only made the observation (which many others have made too) that too many bonsai looked like bonsai and not like trees would really look like. I had seen that the trend in styling is toward more and more refinement which often takes away all naturalness. I found that too many of these bonsai looked artificial, like they were made of plastic and not like they grew naturally like that. The hand of man is clearly visible. At the same time so many bonsai look like each other because they were all styled according to one single pattern. In nature there is an infinite number of patterns for trees to grow though.

So what is the concept? It comes from something that John Naka has said often : ‘do not try to make your tree look like a bonsai, rather try to make your bonsai look like a tree.’ That’s it. Not more, not less. So how do you know what a tree looks like vs. a bonsai? Is there a difference anyway? Well, give up looking at bonsai for your images and look at real trees. It is that simple. Does it take a genius to find that out? Well, one would think that everybody understands this immediately. They don’t! There are more misunderstandings than you ever can imagine. The major impediment is the way bonsai was and is taught. It is taught to make a BONSAI. The naturalistic style is the antithesis and thus must be wrong in the eyes of the average bonsai student and certainly when bonsai fundamentalists can voice their opinion. The most remarkable remark that I got was "bonsai has NOTHING to do with real trees!". Really? It is hard to believe. Well, if one sees how so many bonsai are styled this statement can even be left as is."Painting people has NOTHING to do with real people". How about this for a statement.

What’s the difference between a real tree and a standard bonsai? Real trees are not triangular if they are not young spruce, larch or redwood. Real trees do not have all horizontal branches when they are old: the branches are usually bending downwards on conifers and upwards and then downwards on broadleaved trees. Real trees do not usually have large negative space between all branches, where 'the bird can fly through'. There may be some negative space, but usually it is more for birds to fly in rather than through. Real trees do not always have a main branch which is the lowest one. Real trees do not have a clearly defined front, they have many good sides. If there is one good side of a real tree there are usually branches from top to bottom, the tree is not open. On real trees the branches are not ordered very nicely. These are the main differences but there are more.

A traditional bonsai is ideal, it is abstract. A naturalistic bonsai is realistic, which is the opposite of abstract. But it is never totally realistic. There is always a certain degree of abstraction. But it is never going as far as so many modern bonsai which are very groomed, very much refined, very ‘licked’ and too often look almost unreal. They certainly look like some human being and not nature has made them. Naturalistic bonsai is the antithesis to this development which has gone a bit too far in many cases in my opinion.

Too many people think they have understood this and let nature do the styling of their tree in a pot. They think that naturalistic styling is about just letting grow and edit here and there. It is called naturalistic because it is NOT natural. The trick is NOT to leave the piece of material almost as is and let nature do the styling. This is creating bonsai material. ‘Naturalistic’ means that the end result, the finished tree in a pot is supposed to give the feeling of an impressive natural tree that was never touched by man. It does not matter how this aim is achieved. In almost all cases this aim is achieved by very artificial means – not by nature!

Naturalistic bonsai has nothing to do with the method, but only with the result. Clip and grow and never using wire is an old method to create bonsai. Many think that this is naturalistic bonsai styling. It is not, but it can be. A hedge is created by clip and grow method; and it can hardly be called naturalistic. Many think that it is about not using wire. Well, look at the example here. Every single branch was wired at one point. The trick really is that in the very end this is not visible. The end result looks like it grew like this by itself. Really every single thing on this pine was ‘made’, ‘created’, by the artist. I wire all my bonsai heavily in the first styling phases, even non-conifers. I wire every single branch and branchlet usually – 100%. After a few years this must not be noticeable. The tree must look like it was never touched by human hands. It is hard work to get to this stage.

‘Naturalistic’ is not an excuse for lazy people, it is not about untidy looking trees, it is not a shortcut. I think it is at least as much if not more labor intensive as traditional styling. It is not about going back to the days when trees were not groomed as much as today, when bonsai trees looked wild and untamed.

Naturalistic styling is just another option of how to style bonsai.. It is perfectly OK to not like the whole idea or the end result presented here. It is an honorable opinion ti think that the aim was not reached in this example. But does this mean that the aim was wrong? It is perfectly OK to say that one has understood the direction but to decide to continue to work along the well known traditional paths. This is only a suggestion how one can also treat the art of bonsai. I am not telling you which way you HAVE to go, that you only have to work naturalistically from now on. It is also not necessary to change completely and radically. One can make bonsai just a bit more natural from now on. One can also make a decision by what the material tells you. Contrary to what many expect I do a lot of rather traditional and also modern trees: because the material tells me that this is what it wants to be.

Anyway, I think this naturalistic styling has added another option of general style which makes the art more interesting and creates a lot more variety. It can be more fun than doing another look-alike bonsai again.

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  AlainK on Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:22 pm

Well, one has to admit that these are very convincing arguments, and a very well constructed speech. Wink

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  Walter Pall on Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:30 pm

AlainK wrote:Well, one has to admit that these are very convincing arguments, and a very well constructed speech. Wink

At this point I have to say THANK YOU to all the bonsai fundamentalists who have tormented me over the yeas. They have forced me to get my thinking and writing clear.

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

Post  John Quinn on Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:39 pm

Thanks, Walter, for your very cogent summary of your understanding of this topic.

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Re: Clean Sweep - Show Us Your Brooms

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