OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

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OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:14 am

Hi everybody,
keeping in the spirit of most of the last weeks posts, I would like to show you a picture of my non traditional Shohin composition that I presented at the 1999 E.B.A convention in Standford-upon-Avon.
It was such a great adventure for me to drive all the way to the birthplace of Shakespeare! I was invited to do a two day demonstration on a large Chamaecyparis and to show 3 shohin displays in to the main exhibition.
But I had to overcome a large problem to make my main composition work! I had a Pinus Thunbergii corticosa and a yamadori Thyme that I wanted to use in the main composition, but there was a real problem! They were both growing to the right side, in the same direction! So they would allmost be imposible to show in a traditional way, on tables and maybe with a accent plant or scroll. Holding both trees up on eye level, I played around with different positions that might work. But what ever I came up with, it just looked wrong. So I had to become inventive! Both trees looked like they could live on a rocky coast side, bettered by the prevailing sea winds. So we know that the trees next to each other on one line, didn't work. So to divide the two from that one eye line, I had to creat a hight difference between the two! And what would be better to use as a stand to creat hight difference? Precisely, a rock like cliff! I did not wanted to show these fragile small trees on a enormous rock or some thing like that! So I started to think about alternatives things that I could use to symbolise that sea cliff side! So I sawed a very old square beam in to two different lengths. Placed them upright, the shortest one on the left and the other one just behind the first one. but more to the right. Than I placed the two trees on them to see if it would work? And it did! Half way up the front of the cliff lived a Thyme and on the top of that high cliff over looking the sea, lived a old Pine. This was believable, but there was still the problem of the two trees pointing the same way and that the line of the eye movement following those two trees upwards to the top, would lead the eyes right out off the picture! So the eye movement had to be drawn down again when it had reached the top were that pine grows!
Well I am trying to, be it in abstract way, to give my free interpretation of a rocky cliff side, so what better way to pull the eye back down from the top, than to creat the image of the sea under need it. So I cut a plate of wood in the size that would fit the hight of the composition. And than painted it in a dark brow color. When it was dry, I started moving the two wooden rocks around for a wile, until I found just the wright place for them. To creat the feeling of a cliffy seashore I started to place very fine sand around the base of the wooden rocks, like little hidden sandy beaches, with a wavy texture. This did not only created a sense off movement of sand and water against rock, it also lifted the two wooden rocks free of that dark surface of that plate of wood!
Now I needed to find some thing to fit under need that line that falls down along the right side foliage of the Pine, to creat a triangle shape for the eyes! So I placed, on purpose, a not so spectacular grey stone on a slightly larger and darker natural slap, to suggest the image of a small island. A island that faced the two trees, balance, problem solved! Around the shores of this imaginary island the same fine sand was used. Making it look as if it was just sticking out of the ocean and small waves were rolling on to the shore. From there the eye is drawn back again to the left were the wooden rocks start the triangle movement upwards again! The problem of the two trees that could not be mixed, had created a new idea of showing Shohin in a composition other than was and still is mostly don.
So yes, even way back in 1999 dedicated Bonsai artists like my self were trying to innovate Bonsai and the presentation of Bonsai as a Art. And I as a super dedicated Bonsai artist still do! Be it less load and on a much smaller scale than some other artists do. But I am not doing it to provoke! Or because I have a constant urge to change things! Or to prove how good I am! Nob, just to try to creat something of beauty or interest in the only way I know how, by creating Bonsai! And than if posible to share that joy of the beauty of creating with the rest of the world. I might lack in most things that now a days all off a certain have seam to be become importand to be a credible Bonsai artist? That's just fine, but dont call me just a craftsman! I think I deserve better that that! At least I take the time to try to explain why I do the things that I do as a Bonsai artist. And after that it is up to the viewer if my idea is successful or not!
Believe me dear Bonsai friends nothing is new under the Sun and not is all as it seams! Just all keep on doing what in your heart feels right, be it traditional or free style, than there will be no end to what Bonsai can become in the future!



Above: IBC 1999

I hope you enjoyed this flash back in Bonsai history?
Cheers,
Hans van meer.


Last edited by Hans van Meer. on Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:37 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Todd Ellis on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:34 am

Very nice display, Hans. Very pleasing to the senses. Where are the gulls? Smile

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:35 am

Hans,

naturally beautiful.is it your work Hans? just kidding.
Smile Smile
its very different from your traditional creations but lovely as it is. the pillars look so natural yet modern.
i guess beauty, peace and harmony comes in many form, its in the way the subject is presented, traditional, modern and even out of this world style, if its done right then it will look alright.

regards,
jun

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:44 am

jun wrote:Hans,

naturally beautiful.is it your work Hans? just kidding.
Smile Smile
its very different from your traditional creations but lovely as it is. the pillars look so natural yet modern.
i guess beauty, peace and harmony comes in many form, its in the way the subject is presented, traditional, modern and even out of this world style, if its done right then it will look alright.

regards,
jun

Thanks for those words Jun, this is precisely what I was trying to say in a other on going post!
You just cant do things with out thinking, Bonsai is way to complex and difficult for that.
But Bonsai is also the art of make believe, so if the story is portrayed right, you can use almost everything to paint your vision with. As long as it is don right then it will look alright. And pretty unique as well!
Cheers,
Hans van meer.

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:04 am

You are welcome Hans.

...and may I add, Even if you are the god of bonsai or the number one master of bonsai, if you do it wrong it will always be wrong no matter how you presents your work. just my thought on it.

regards,
jun

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:33 am

I really like this Hans and as usual you back it up with an explanation of the problems and solutions.You are a great teacher and asset to the forum. Very Happy

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:13 am

will baddeley wrote:I really like this Hans and as usual you back it up with an explanation of the problems and solutions.You are a great teacher and asset to the forum. Very Happy

I truly support WB´s words.

I like this "modern shohin display" if I need to put a label on it Very Happy . And I appreciate much the history in it. Not just what you told us, but because it is visible in your display. That's whats most important to me. Expressing a mood and feeling of a scene, and the seasonal approach.
Only minor correction I would like to add is replacing the very white gravel with some less white sand. Minor detail, probably most about taste.


Regards
Morten

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  newzealandteatree on Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:15 am

Hans, good on you. Most dedicated art people including bonsaist innovate in one way or another. Most do it naturally and for the joy of it. That is the way it should be. There is no need to run down others or bang one's chest for doing something which many others have been doing quietly. In one of Morten's video Kimura was translated to have said that if your bonsai is good, the viewers will know.

CJ

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  my nellie on Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:21 am

Hans van Meer. wrote: ... ... ...At least I take the time to try to explain why I do the things that I do as a Bonsai artist. And after that it is up to the viewer if my idea is successful or not!
Believe me dear Bonsai friends nothing is new under the Sun and not is all as it seams! Just all keep on doing what in your heart feels right, be it traditional or free style, than there will be no end to what Bonsai can become in the future!

I hope you enjoyed this flash back in Bonsai history?
Cheers,
Hans van meer.
Yes, Indeed!
I have fully enjoyed reading the history of this "modern" display.
And I feel much obliged for your time to explain the whole project, the way you had been thinking about the solutions of the problems you had been facing and all the rest. So Thank You Very Much!

We should also thank you for responding to each one of the members posting their quotations and for not being "selective" replying sparingly and only to those that seem to be of the same spirit (...if you know what I mean)

So, thank you dear Hans! sunny

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  rolandp on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:54 pm

I really like the way you gave this two shohins a great story. In my eyes this is what it’s all about in the bonsai world. To make a tree look great, to show its best potential and via this communicate a story. Sounds very simple and yet so hard to achieve.

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:57 pm

Morten Albek wrote:
will baddeley wrote:I really like this Hans and as usual you back it up with an explanation of the problems and solutions.You are a great teacher and asset to the forum. Very Happy

I truly support WB´s words.

I like this "modern shohin display" if I need to put a label on it Very Happy . And I appreciate much the history in it. Not just what you told us, but because it is visible in your display. That's whats most important to me. Expressing a mood and feeling of a scene, and the seasonal approach.
Only minor correction I would like to add is replacing the very white gravel with some less white sand. Minor detail, probably most about taste.


Regards
Morten

Thanks Morton,
I am glad you appreciate the way I tried to tell my story in this display! It was such fun to see and hear all the reactions during the show. Paul Goff made a video of the whole event and filmed all the trees in show separately, so I had to rebuild the whole thing in front of his camera. I was not there when he filmed it all, because I was demonstrating in a other section of the building. So I was pleasantly surprised, when months later I saw this video for the first time at home! He first shot the whole scene, than a close up of all the elements in it, than he zoomed out again and than some how, with the help of some yellow, orange and red back lights, he managed to let the Sun go down right behind my coastal scene, leaving only a silhouette of it all! This all was accompanied with some moody Japanese music. This made the whole image look so magical, like you were right there looking at it from some lonely beach! My display must have inspired Paul, because he really outdone himself in this short scene!
It might not show in this not to good picture, but the top tree almost stood at eye level, so the people that the stood in front of the display realy had to look up and down to get the whole picture. Just like you would have to do if you would look at a scenery like this in real live. It gave the viewer that familiar sense of hight and distance that is stored away in all of use, so they recognized and accept the image and there for did not mind that rocks were made out of wood! Bonsai is all about the wright dimensions, no matter what you use to display them!
I see your point about the color of the sand in this picture, it looks to brightly white. But that is because of a cheap camera and its flash light! Smile The sand I used was a mixture of fine Akadama (light brown), Kiryu (yellowish) and two types of fine aquarium sand for the different white and grey tones. It looked pretty much like most beach sand would do. I should have told that in my first post, but it was very late and I forgot! Very Happy
Thanks for you comments my friend!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Ian Young on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:58 pm

Hi Hans,

Brings back memories of Stratford '99, one of the few shows I have managed to make it too over the years. I remember this display and liked it very much, still do 11 years later. The display tells a story. Was it Stratford where one of the rooms being used for display was really dark? Nearly needed a torch to see the trees!! Might have been somewhere else. If memory serves me right you were also one of the demonstrators Smile

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:39 pm

Todd Ellis wrote:Very nice display, Hans. Very pleasing to the senses. Where are the gulls? Smile

Hi Todd,
you are looking for gulls, that is a good sign for me! Smile
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:44 pm

Ian Young wrote:Hi Hans,

Brings back memories of Stratford '99, one of the few shows I have managed to make it too over the years. I remember this display and liked it very much, still do 11 years later. The display tells a story. Was it Stratford where one of the rooms being used for display was really dark? Nearly needed a torch to see the trees!! Might have been somewhere else. If memory serves me right you were also one of the demonstrators Smile

Hi Ian,
yes it was a great event, but the chosen location was the wurst possible! And beside it being the hottest weather in history, out side and inside, the exhibition space was almost like a darkroom. You had to feel your way around to see the trees! Smile
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  mariowabisabi on Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:25 am

hi , very nice unusual display, good job !

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:09 pm

mariowabisabi wrote:hi , very nice unusual display, good job !

Thanks Mario!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: OUT OF THE BOX COMPOSITION FROM EBA CONVENTION 1999.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:37 pm

will baddeley wrote:I really like this Hans and as usual you back it up with an explanation of the problems and solutions.You are a great teacher and asset to the forum. Very Happy

I am glad you like it, and thanks for your kind words!
It might not always be properly explained or even correct, but this is how I analyze in words my own way of thinking while I am styling. This is not always easy to do! Because most of the time I am not thinking at all! So this means that afterwards, in most cases, I have to examine my own work, to reconstruct what I have just don for the most part instinctively, so I can try to explain the reasoning and feeling behind what I did to you all! And the difficulty of having to do it in English is not making it any easier eather! Smile So I am glad that most of what I try to say reaches you at least a bit understandable! Smile
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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