Yet another darn juniper!

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Yet another darn juniper!

Post  fiona on Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:35 pm

Seems I am having a Juniper frenzy this weather. I have been working this week on another of my collection - this time a root over rock. The rock is about 12 inches (35cm) and the overall thing is about 20inches (50cm).

When I got this tree about 5 years ago, it had been styled in "pom-poms" and each of the "pads" had been end-pinched to the extent that the outer growth was solid and inside was a mass of dead stuff. Poor pic but it looked like this:




My first task was to thin it out considerably. This left very little decent growth which meant that for the best part of the last two years I have done little other than let it grow again, making sure not to let it become so overgrown that I created the same problem as I was trying to solve of dead inner growth. At the end of last year it looked like this:




So, it has now had a first restyle and I took the decision to remove a couple of branches and to bring it in a bit to give a more compact image. Today, it looks like this:




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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  fiona on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:03 pm

However, I still think there is much more that can be done to achieve a great image. I am of the opinion that the long branch at the right creates an imbalance and have been swithering with as John J might say, being "brave" and dispensing with it. A tinker on PS has given me a couple of ideas:

1. remove the bottom right branch




2. remove both bottom right branches



There is of course the option to jin one or both.

So, I'd welcome your thoughts on this one. I haven't shown the back of the tree as I am still working on it.

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  F. Waheedy on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:34 pm

Looks beautiful, Fiona. Looks more stable with the branch removed.
did you have a lot of Juvenile foliage you pinched out?

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  stavros on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:55 pm

I would go with option no1 , removing the long branch, not both.
This way, it gives me the impression that the tree is leaning down from the rock, almost as if it looses its balance and it just holds on......

By removing both branches, it does not appear as dramatic, at least to me.



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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Ian Young on Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:10 pm

Fiona,

Beautiful tree you have there. I agree with Stavros that you need to have some weight to the bottom to give it that look of clinging on. It fits far better with the root over rock image IMHO.

I would either keep the lower branch or remove and replace with the one above, but still drop it down. I have done a quick virtual showing how I see the image improving with some compacting of the foliage and a little opening here and there. Just an idea Smile


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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Smithy on Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:15 pm

That really is a lovely tree. I'd love to have a tree like that.

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Ian Young on Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:23 pm

Another one with bottom branch gone and one above extended.


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Yet a third option

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:26 pm

How about a different option. Keep the bottom branch, but bend the end of it up so it is parallel to the ground- makes a nice use of negative space. Get rid of the next branch above it. Bring in the canopy all over to make a smaller volume that accentuates the rock. Clean up the multiple branches coming from the trunk at the first juncture to the left.

What kind of rock is it? Hope it's not that spongy "lava rock"? It's tough to get juniper roots to stick to a rock. Good job.


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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Joao Santos on Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:25 pm

I still prefer de removal of the two lower branches. It balances much more the hole set.

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  NeilDellinger on Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:28 pm

Nice job Fiona!!...agree with Ian on removing the lowest and pulling the next one down. Excellent idea Ian!

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  bonsaistud on Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:02 am

Wonderful Juniper you have there Fiona...nice work you have done so far...

I like what Stravros and Ian have offered you. Taking it a step further, I think which ever branch you keep needs more movement.

Then there's the pads...INHO...I don't recall ever seeing a tree, in nature, growing pads.

Remember...IMHO...and I know that whatever direction you take, my friend, it will be a great bonsai...

Pat

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:38 am

Lovely tree on rock! What kind of juniper is this? I like the first photo with the lowest branch removed; it has more movement; more natural. I would play with jinning the lowest branch before removing it entirely; to see if it works in the composition - it may or may not. Have fun and please post more photos! thumbs up Salut, Todd

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Jaco Kriek on Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:28 am

Fiona
Very nice tree. However, to me the trunk line is informal with movement and then you have two straight parallel branches which I find not in the same theme as the trunk. I think by removing one and giving the other some movement the overall image will improve.
Jaco


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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:03 pm

One other point to keep in mind - junipers grow in channels and its possible that the first big branch is being feed by one of the most visible main roots sticking to the rocks. By removing the big branch you may also lose the root.

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Ian Young on Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:23 pm

Excellent point Rob! If it was to be removed it would need to be in stages to allow the tree time to adjust, even then it might still lose a corresponding root.

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:37 pm

Rob Kempinski wrote:One other point to keep in mind - junipers grow in channels and its possible that the first big branch is being feed by one of the most visible main roots sticking to the rocks. By removing the big branch you may also lose the root.

Wow, Rob. I never considered this possibility; considering that the main root is a main part of the composition... I learn something every day from this forum. You folks ROCK! Salut, Todd

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Marlon Machado on Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:24 pm

Nice tree. I also see the problem of the imbalance of the composition, as others have commented. I believe a simple solution is to simply tilt tree and rock to the left by 20 degrees, this way you achieve a more balanced composition as the virtual below shows:



No changes were made to the canopy of the tree, just the virtual tilting of rock and tree. But you can see the image is a lot more balanced, it only needs some small improvements in the ramification. I would also try and move the rock/tree a little more to the left edge of the pot.

The reason the composition did not work before was because the rock had too straight sides. The tree seemed to be struggling to grasp the rock, and its lower branch was pulling it down. Imbalance can work when the composition express an idea of dynamic movement, which was not the case with this tree.

Below are the before and after images:



Cheers,

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Paul B (Scotland) on Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:55 pm


Hi Fiona,

Some good ideas being posted here, tough decision for you.

I really like Marlons idea of tilting the rock slightly. The tree looks more stable and balanced.

Cheers

Paul


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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  AlainK on Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:24 pm


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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Todd Ellis on Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:26 am

Marlon Machado wrote:Nice tree. I also see the problem of the imbalance of the composition, as others have commented. I believe a simple solution is to simply tilt tree and rock to the left by 20 degrees, this way you achieve a more balanced composition as the virtual below shows:



No changes were made to the canopy of the tree, just the virtual tilting of rock and tree. But you can see the image is a lot more balanced, it only needs some small improvements in the ramification. I would also try and move the rock/tree a little more to the left edge of the pot.

The reason the composition did not work before was because the rock had too straight sides. The tree seemed to be struggling to grasp the rock, and its lower branch was pulling it down. Imbalance can work when the composition express an idea of dynamic movement, which was not the case with this tree.

Below are the before and after images:



Cheers,


I'm looking at the before and after photos. I think the rock looks well situated in the first photo. The rock angle in the second photo makes me want to add another rock to the left and in the front to balance; add a third aspect to the composition; three is a good number. The tree does look more stable in the second photo, but is that what it needs? Salut, Todd

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  fiona on Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:09 am

Lots of good suggestions coming through - for which many thanks.

I have made a couple of alterations today but am away pedalling until Monday night so won't have a chance to update the photo record 'til then.

Thanks for the ideas - do feel free to keep them coming.

Fiona

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  craigw on Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:43 pm

Hi Fiona, beautiful tree and also a great rock.
Craig

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  bonsaistud on Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:04 pm

G'day Fiona...and all...

This is a super discussion, which I know Fiona appreciates...

Now, IMHO, being of the "tree tells a story" persuasion, I think we have missed a point.
This tree tells me of it's struggle for survival...fighting for it's very life. Me thiks that a tree that has been through this strugle, has every right to have imbalance as part of it's character. We can observe this every time we go out to a rocky sea shore, or into the mountains...

Remember...IMHO...

Very nice tree Fiona...

Pat

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  Marlon Machado on Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:42 pm

by bonsaistud on Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:04 pm
G'day Fiona...and all...

This is a super discussion, which I know Fiona appreciates...

Now, IMHO, being of the "tree tells a story" persuasion, I think we have missed a point.
This tree tells me of it's struggle for survival...fighting for it's very life. Me thiks that a tree that has been through this strugle, has every right to have imbalance as part of it's character. We can observe this every time we go out to a rocky sea shore, or into the mountains...

Remember...IMHO...

Very nice tree Fiona...

Pat

This is precisely the problem, there is an incongruence between the shape of the canopy and the planting position in the rock. The planting position as it is now does tell a history of struggle for survival, however the full, balanced canopy tells a different story, one of peace and restfulness. This incongruous messages being given imparts on the appreciation of the tree, I look at it and see the imbalance, instead of either admiring a serene tree that grew on top of the rock, or a struggling survivor tree that grew on top of a rock. All other people who made suggestions on how to improve the tree were also consciously or unconsciously struck by the imbalance and their suggestions were made towards trying to fix it.

My suggestion of tilting the rock does favour the image of a serene, balanced tree, but it is just one of the possible solutions. If you wish you can leave the rock as it is and alter the tree significantly in order to suggest the image of a tree growing on a rock and struggling for survival, as for example the virtual below shows:



The before and after images:



You could also even modify the image of the balanced tree in order to suggest a tree struggling for survival:



The before and after images:



It all boils down really to what message you as the artist want to pass on to the viewers, and adjust the composition accordingly.

All the best,

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:54 pm

LIKE it!

A lot of modern Japanese bonsai have all that twisty, snarly deadwood, that simply cries out how hard its life has been. But then you see the top and a haute couture hairdo that has never grown a needle that has seen a breeze, let alone the gales that formed the trunk.

Fiona . . . your tree isn't like those -- which I simply do NOT like -- but it does offer quite a contrast between the clinging-to-a-rugged-rock image and a peaceful, sleepy and contented top.

All that said, if you get discouraged by people working over your tree, you can wrap it well and send it over here. I have nothing to equal it.

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Re: Yet another darn juniper!

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