Windswept Yew

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Andrew Legg on Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:25 am

Vance Wood wrote:I know you had a veritable vegetable market thrown at this tree but that being said I assume the tree pleases you and that is how it should be. Perhaps you have yet to acquire the vision to see what you can imagine or, like a lot of use, you listened to a lot of advise and choose what you thought was best. That doesn't matter much either. So-----now what do you do? Not that it matters any more than the rest of it; you fulfill the vision you have for the tree, post the results proudly and make fools of the rest of us. Nothing shuts up a nye sayer better than results.

I'm starting to feel like I need to explain my way of thinking a little more. It's really simple, so it will not take long. I am a HUGE believer in bonsai people doing what makes themselves happy as in most cases (with the possible exception of commercial nurseries) we create trees for us, and not for others. Lee came out of the blocks seeing this tree as a windswept and representative of a Welsh mountainside tree. That's now gone because for better or worse (and I guess we'll never know) as a result of someone else's pretty strongly worded opinion. What nature had created and what Lee had seen in the tree are now essentially lost. To me, that's a pity.

All that said, I do sincerely hope that you still enjoy this tree Lee, and that you make the most of it now with the new design. I think we are too quick to turn everything into informal uprights because somehow its easier that way. This results in heaps of informal uprights out there and not a heck of a lot of alternatively designed/styled trees. Making the tree stand out in this massive pool is going to be difficult, but at the end of the day, it does not really matter as it only needs to be special to you. So good luck with the tree Lee, and please accept this and my previous post as using this tree's transformation as an example of a concept that irks me, but not as specific criticism of the tree.

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:12 am

Thank you everybody for the replies - I appreciate them all whether positive or otherwise. As a relative newbie in bonsai I wanted to allow somebody more skilled than myself to have a large influence in the initial styling. When Tony pointed out that Yews do not make great windswept bonsai, I think I understand as I have never seen a Taxus that appears as if the wind is rushing through its leaves (Mambo, I would love to see yours). What is possible with Yew is to create the image of a weather-beaten tree that exhibits jin and shari from past winds and storms - a 'wind influenced' tree as I believe Tony called it.

Despite his remarks earlier in this thread, Tony was not involved in the actual styling of the tree at Burrs, and it was Enrico Savini who placed the branches and also chalked out the shari for me to cut. I was very grateful for Enrico's help as I would have lacked the confidence to create this work alone. I feel that the current design evolkes the feeling of a wind beaten tree, and is actually very close to the original design that I had in mind ever since collecting the material. I am very happy with the direction that the tree has taken and I must say that it looks much better in the flesh. Very Happy

We must of course remember that this is only the first stying and I am open to ideas as to how the tree could further develope in the future.

Thanks, Lee.

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Andrew Legg on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:29 am

Lee Brindley wrote:Thank you everybody for the replies - I appreciate them all whether positive or otherwise. As a relative newbie in bonsai I wanted to allow somebody more skilled than myself to have a large influence in the initial styling. When Tony pointed out that Yews do not make great windswept bonsai, I think I understand as I have never seen a Taxus that appears as if the wind is rushing through its leaves (Mambo, I would love to see yours). What is possible with Yew is to create the image of a weather-beaten tree that exhibits jin and shari from past winds and storms - a 'wind influenced' tree as I believe Tony called it.

Despite his remarks earlier in this thread, Tony was not involved in the actual styling of the tree at Burrs, and it was Enrico Savini who placed the branches and also chalked out the shari for me to cut. I was very grateful for Enrico's help as I would have lacked the confidence to create this work alone. I feel that the current design evolkes the feeling of a wind beaten tree, and is actually very close to the original design that I had in mind ever since collecting the material. I am very happy with the direction that the tree has taken and I must say that it looks much better in the flesh. Very Happy

We must of course remember that this is only the first stying and I am open to ideas as to how the tree could further develope in the future.

Thanks, Lee.

What a great post! Fantastic to hear that you like where the tree is headed and remain open to other inputs. Great attitude Lee, and I look forward to following you and your trees progress in future!

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Tony on Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:19 pm

It’s impossible to form an opinion about the future of raw material from a photo, for those new to bonsai it is difficult enough deciding what to keep and what to remove when presented with the raw material for real!

My views on Windswept Yews is covered in depth earlier in the post and I reaffirm I have yet to see a convincing windswept Yew bonsai, maintaining that windswept is probably the most difficult style to get right.

Lee trusted two of Europe’s best bonsai artists to give him direction with the raw material; they both came to the same conclusion. What Enrico has done with the tree is give it the correct start on its way to being a great bonsai…. Ofer explains it well in this video:



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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  dorothy7774 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:06 pm

I like Ofer's video! Thanks for posting, Tony. In case of the yew, windswept is just a style or form one is training a tree into. The same general principles apply in windswept bonsai like in most other styles: Tapered trunk, tapered branches, proportion etc.. A windswept is a regular formal/ informal upright or slanted tree (choose any of the five basic styles really), that just happens to be swept by the wind (right now or as a long term result).
Now, the matter gets kind of grey when we talk about Yamadori. Yamadori did not grow into a specific style, naturally not. There are hybrid styles, and you either manage to successfully capture a reminiscence of a style or you don't. If you do not cling to a certain form, that the tree has to be so powerful on it's own that the proportions alone carry it as a believable bonsai master piece. Kinda how I see it.

-Dorothy

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Tony on Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:52 am

Dorothy, you nailed it girl ThumbsUp

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‎"Study me as much as you like, you will never know me, for I differ a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes, and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see." — Rumi

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:09 pm

Thanks Tony & Dorothy for the replies. BTW, I don't know whats happened to the photo on the last page thats suddenly been blown out of proportion Shocked . I don't seem to have the option of editing it. Confused

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  fiona on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:09 pm

Sorted now.

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Sun May 12, 2013 6:10 pm

Hi folks. The Yew is currently healthy and pushing new growth which I will allow to grow unchecked this year. I have given everybody's comments a lot of thought and feel that some of the replies suggesting that I have ruined the tree were perhaps a bit OTT as a more windswept style is still not impossible. I wondered if people's views were based largely on my proposed virtual which shows an upright design. I feel that with the help of Enrico Savini and others who offered help and advice on the first styling, the bare bones have been set for a sound structure - whatever 'style' I choose to follow.

Despite Tony's original posts about windswept yews I have given a lot of thought about still styling the tree as a Fukinagashi - especially after seeing Mambo's fine example. I have created another virtual (heavilly influenced by Mambo's tree) which would still be very much a possiblity, as the work so far done has not killed the possibility of this material still becomming a windswept bonsai

Any thoughts most welcomed.

Lee.



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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  JohnOstranica on Mon May 20, 2013 8:45 pm

If you go with the windswept design Lee It might go well in something like this Pot I am working on at the moment ...John



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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Tue May 21, 2013 3:01 pm

JohnOstranica wrote:If you go with the windswept design Lee It might go well in something like this Pot I am working on at the moment ...John



Perfect!!! Very Happy I love you cheers

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  JohnOstranica on Tue May 21, 2013 6:22 pm

Lee I have lost your No can you ring me ? Please ...John

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Robert J Penney on Thu May 23, 2013 9:36 pm

Lee Brindley wrote:Hi folks. The Yew is currently healthy and pushing new growth which I will allow to grow unchecked this year. I have given everybody's comments a lot of thought and feel that some of the replies suggesting that I have ruined the tree were perhaps a bit OTT as a more windswept style is still not impossible. I wondered if people's views were based largely on my proposed virtual which shows an upright design. I feel that with the help of Enrico Savini and others who offered help and advice on the first styling, the bare bones have been set for a sound structure - whatever 'style' I choose to follow.

Despite Tony's original posts about windswept yews I have given a lot of thought about still styling the tree as a Fukinagashi - especially after seeing Mambo's fine example. I have created another virtual (heavilly influenced by Mambo's tree) which would still be very much a possiblity, as the work so far done has not killed the possibility of this material still becomming a windswept bonsai

Any thoughts most welcomed.

Lee.



Hi Lee, i love the virtual .
Definitely think its the right way for the tree. But what do i know lol ??
I can also say first hand that Lee really has looked at every option on this Taxus and with my albeit little knowledge and experience has/is going down the right route....

Also Loving the pot Osky!!

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:50 pm

The tree has bounced back well since re-potting and has recently been rewired and the deadwood refined. See more on my blog. http://yamadoriartuk.blogspot.co.uk/
Lee



Last edited by Lee Brindley on Sat May 17, 2014 7:42 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : image size)

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Vance Wood on Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:06 pm

I like where this tree is going.  I think from my point of view as always that if the tree were mine I would be considering reducing the trunk mass by carving out some of the Shari.  I would also consider a reduction of the large branch on the right.  I am in no way saying that this would improve your tree, I just meant to add what I would be thinking if the tree were mine.

Regardless the tree has come a long way and you are doing well by it.

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:13 am

Vance Wood wrote:I like where this tree is going.  I think from my point of view as always that if the tree were mine I would be considering reducing the trunk mass by carving out some of the Shari.  I would also consider a reduction of the large branch on the right.  I am in no way saying that this would improve your tree, I just meant to add what I would be thinking if the tree were mine.

Regardless the tree has come a long way and you are doing well by it.

Hi Vance. Thank you for the reply. The large branch has already been reduced some, and I like the idea of carving out some of the shari. I should be in receipt of a new pot soon too, so I will post some new photos shortly.

Lee.

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Reality versus Art

Post  MKBonsai on Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:36 am

Dear Lee

I have found the debate about the windswept yew quite interesting and quite amusing in some respects, although I don’t envy you for having to deal with all the opinions raised. Having said that it all helps the thought and decision making process I guess!

I think one thing that people may ponder:

What nature gave you was actually a totally authentic windswept yew tree. However, I think when people looked at the collected tree they may well have fallen into the trap of trying to fit it into the traditional view of what a windswept tree looks like – which is not actually necessarily very accurate, in most cases being an idealised artists impression of what a windswept tree actually looks like in the wild. This is where reality meets art and opinions can diverge.

So this is where the art of bonsai has an issue: the issue being (it seems) that if a tree doesn’t fit in to a specific pre-defined style image it is probably never going to be great. As a result there were some not-too complimentary comments about your tree – which is a far more authentic windswept tree than you will see in most of the bonsai world (as it is of course 100% authentic). This is unfortunate, and this is where the pressure builds when developing a wild tree for use in bonsai – should it be tidied up so that it retains as much of the original shape and character as possible whilst trying to make it look bigger, older and more stately than it was when it was collected – or should it be more modified to fit it into a certain style category (of which there are a limited number) with the risk that the very features that attracted you to it in the first place are changed or lost beyond all recognition? A difficult conundrum.

I think you have probably gone down the second route here – which isn’t bad or wrong, it’s just a different route of at least two that were possible. The tree has much potential so it will be very interesting to see how it develops – and what it looks like when your boy is our age – hopefully awesome. Good luck with it and keep us all posted on its progress.


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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:56 pm

Thank you for your reply MKBonsai. I will of course keep you updated.  Very Happy 

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:04 am

Thought I'd post a quick update on this tree. I hadn't planned to re-pot it this year, but the other day I had a bit of an emergency where the grow box collapsed on one of my other Yews. I ended up doing a switch and putting this tree into my new John Pitt pot which I had planned for another tree. Its still not right for the tree though (too big) so will have to be re-potted again, but hopefully I can leave it in this one now for a couple of seasons. I have adjusted the planting angle too. Since last posting I have taken Vance's advice and reduced the first branch as well as improving the deadwood in the shari, and I think its looking much better now. My plan for this year is just to let the tree grow again (lots of feed).


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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  elkski on Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:20 am

Hi, Randy from Sandy, Utah. My first post here. Found this site last night. I love plants. I think it's sad the natural long windswept look was suggested to be cut off. I know about nothing in bonsai terms. But unless theye is some biological compellingly good reason why those windswept limbs couldn't have stayed its a shame.

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:38 am

elkski wrote:Hi, Randy from Sandy, Utah.   My first post here.  Found this site last night.   I love plants.  I think it's sad the natural long windswept look  was suggested to be cut off.   I know about nothing in bonsai terms.  But unless theye is some biological compellingly good reason why those windswept limbs couldn't have stayed its a shame.  

Hi Randy. The long branch was straight, boring, and lacking in taper. I planned to cut it back but in the end, the decision was not mine to make as it died back naturally to the length that it is now.

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Vance Wood on Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:48 pm

elkski wrote:Hi, Randy from Sandy, Utah.   My first post here.  Found this site last night.   I love plants.  I think it's sad the natural long windswept look  was suggested to be cut off.   I know about nothing in bonsai terms.  But unless theye is some biological compellingly good reason why those windswept limbs couldn't have stayed its a shame.  

Hi Randy from Sandy: If the subject was dendrology and Tree biology you would be absolutely correct. However: We are talking about Bonsai which is after all both a science and an art but mostly art; in the end as the focus of the endeavor. If the biology does not function the art perishes with it but the art is the prime focus.

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Andrew Legg on Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:35 pm

Thought I'd have a sniff around IBC after being away for a few years, and look which thread is at the top,of the pile! Lol. Hey Lee, hope the tree is growing well mate. You have aged exceptionally well from drinking Superthrive, or is that's your kid? Shocked

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Lee Brindley on Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:36 pm

Andrew Legg wrote:Thought I'd have a sniff around IBC after being away for a few years, and look which thread is at the top,of the pile! Lol. Hey Lee, hope the tree is growing well mate. You have aged exceptionally well from drinking Superthrive, or is that's your kid? Shocked

Hi Andrew. The tree is well and just waking up for Spring. I will take some new photos soon. My boys both love the trees and will photobomb whenever they get the chance! Laughing

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Re: Windswept Yew

Post  Andrew Legg on Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:12 am

LOL - My kids like to mix-bomb. Whenever I'm putting together a batch of soil mix, it is like moths to a light!

Good to hear all is well.

Andrew

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Re: Windswept Yew

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