Thoughts on Penjing

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Thoughts on Penjing

Post  peter krebs on Mon May 25, 2009 11:48 am

Hello Bonsai lovers,

here are some thoughts on "PENJING"

http://www.bonsaipots.net/index.php?page=penjing

I wish you a lot of fun to read and view the images. Laughing

Best regards
Peter

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  NeilD3 on Mon May 25, 2009 1:22 pm

Thank you for another great article Peter. Is it possible to see any close ups of the pots?

Also, the pictorials / articles "Spectrum of the Sky" 1&2 were very nice. The ume are great.

Neil

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perfection?

Post  austinheitzman on Mon May 25, 2009 2:49 pm

tThe article states, "what comes after perfection?" I believe perfection is rarely attained, but the article is right in suggesting that bonsai outside of China and Japan have come into their own, and then what now. I believe innovation is to follow, in the same way that Kimura utilized deadwood to emphasize movement and Walter Pall's Naturalistic style. I believe that bonsai artists around the world will start to draw from their surroundings (many already have) and use native trees and native styles to beautiful effect. Here in America I have been looking at trees in the Hudson River School paintings for bonsai inspiration- their tortured sparseness is akin to literati, but in a different way- just thoughts- thoughts?

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  NeilD3 on Mon May 25, 2009 3:48 pm

I would like to know what others thoughts are regarding American Bonsai relative to above comments and the article submitted by Peter.

I also find inspiration in looking to American landscapes and the works of artists such as Albert Bierstadt and others. Those can be excellent sources of study material when looking at "how trees grow" I have also enjoyed & found some inspiration in the N.C. Arboretum's gallery of trees, particularly landscape plantings.

Thanks for the thought provoking material.
Neil

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  peter krebs on Tue May 26, 2009 5:19 pm

Hello Austin,
Hi Neil

I am very pleased with your answers.
I am not a bonsai- or pottery teachers, as are all my articles for discussion.
I do not want to teach, and not say what is right or wrong.
I want to stimulate debate, so that everyone can find their own way.
Bonsai friends and potter must work together, no one can walk the path alone.
All need to discuss together, all together we will find a way of our lives in this hard time a little easier.

"YES WE CAN" Laughing Laughing Laughing

Best regards
Peter

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little trees (in a tray).

Post  austinheitzman on Tue May 26, 2009 10:24 pm

Happy to be appreciated. Always interested in bonsai exploration. The Japanese cannon is perfectly acceptable, but not everyone wants the idealized Japanese tree. The word tree conjures up many different images for people and bonsai, to me, is about making trees. Not trees Japanese masters (or German, American, ect. ect.) find appropriate within the rules of bonsai but trees you find compelling within your definition of tree.

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  peter krebs on Wed May 27, 2009 6:58 am

Hello Austin,

We go the same way. Laughing

Best regards
Peter

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Justin Hervey on Wed May 27, 2009 8:35 am

Beautifully presented web site Peter... in your words,"Shibusa".

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Vance Wood on Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:05 pm

NeilD3 wrote:I would like to know what others thoughts are regarding American Bonsai relative to above comments and the article submitted by Peter.

I also find inspiration in looking to American landscapes and the works of artists such as Albert Bierstadt and others. Those can be excellent sources of study material when looking at "how trees grow" I have also enjoyed & found some inspiration in the N.C. Arboretum's gallery of trees, particularly landscape plantings.

Thanks for the thought provoking material.
Neil

This issue has kind of been a burr under my saddle for years. Fifteen or twenty years ago when this argument about "American Bonsai" first surfaced I looked upon it as a quasi-official way of making excuses for really bad bonsai. It is not enough to bend or break all of the assumed guideline/rules concern the artistic treatment of plant material used to create the image of bonsai. In my opinion this departure form traditional branch placement and all of the other stuff generally agreed necessary for a good bonsai design must not break the one transcendent and immutable rule in bonsai: The tree must be beautiful, even if that beauty is manifested in something one might consider ugly if found in a landscape setting.

In the early years of this debate many really ugly, grotesque, out of balance and uninteresting trees were passed off as being "American Bonsai", and as such the artist(?) expected universal acceptance of their work on that basis. It was so bad at one point it could be said that "American Bonsai" was a synonym for an ugly bonsai. It is also my opinion that a really good bonsai regardless of whether it is Penjin, Japanese, Naturalistic, or something else, if it is beautiful it does not matter. The truth being that the effectiveness and beauty of the tree does not in itself invite the kind of scrutiny this thread implies; it is simply accepted as a truly good bonsai. The analysis coming later for academic reasons and not because of artistic failures.

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tradition

Post  austinheitzman on Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:39 am

I am a newbie to bonsai, so I would imagine that any response of mine must be taken with that grain of salt. That said, do you group other developments in bonsai into this same burr? Do you consider Walter Pall's ideas of "naturalistic" bonsai to be justifying sub par material? The bonsai traditions that have been passed down today had to evolve from something and were not always the norm, is it then possible that they might continue to evolve as each bonsai generation defines for itself what that word "beauty" means. If we are to view bonsai as an art form does it posses the same expressive freedoms that modern art possesses? I think this might be like talking religion, everyone has there camp, I don't mean to anger anyone with these comments- I'm just interested in the debate. Thanks.

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Vance Wood on Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:22 pm

austinheitzman wrote:I am a newbie to bonsai, so I would imagine that any response of mine must be taken with that grain of salt. That said, do you group other developments in bonsai into this same burr? Do you consider Walter Pall's ideas of "naturalistic" bonsai to be justifying sub par material? The bonsai traditions that have been passed down today had to evolve from something and were not always the norm, is it then possible that they might continue to evolve as each bonsai generation defines for itself what that word "beauty" means. If we are to view bonsai as an art form does it posses the same expressive freedoms that modern art possesses? I think this might be like talking religion, everyone has there camp, I don't mean to anger anyone with these comments- I'm just interested in the debate. Thanks.

If you examine any of Walter's works you cannot possibly say they are sub par by any stretch. In fact you have to carefully examine them to see that in fact they may or may not follow the traditional pattern for branch placement or as is often referred to: The Rules. My point is this: If the tree is beautiful people will not notice that they do not follow "The Rules", the rules become irrelevant.

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american beauty

Post  austinheitzman on Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:26 pm

I was not trying to imply that Walter Pall's trees were sub par. I guess what I was most referring to when I mentioned “American Bonsai” was Bonsai that express a beauty with roots in American conceptions of beauty. The “rules” being a Japanese conception of beauty. All bonsai seem to be idealized trees (nature) and the beauty and art is in evoking new images of idealized nature- I believe that culture helps to shape ideas of nature, hence American Bonsai. I am sorry if this is incoherent babble. Thanks for responding.

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Vance Wood on Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:05 pm

austinheitzman wrote:I was not trying to imply that Walter Pall's trees were sub par. I guess what I was most referring to when I mentioned “American Bonsai” was Bonsai that express a beauty with roots in American conceptions of beauty. The “rules” being a Japanese conception of beauty. All bonsai seem to be idealized trees (nature) and the beauty and art is in evoking new images of idealized nature- I believe that culture helps to shape ideas of nature, hence American Bonsai. I am sorry if this is incoherent babble. Thanks for responding.

It is not incoherent babble, it just demonstrates the conundrums the art finds itself embroiled in.

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Reiner Goebel on Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:50 am

Vance, I am with you. At least I think I am. It's easy to get lost in all this.

Let's not stop at American bonsai. Let's further define our view by going for New York bonsai, nay Bronx bonsai. Fifth Avenue bonsai, anyone? And does American bonsai stop in Detroit, only to be reinvented as 'Canadian' bonsai a few hundred meters across the river in Windsor?

Ridiculous!

To me bonsai is bonsai. Other than to give benevolent justification for incompetence, there is no room for regional subdivisions.

Nor is there room for 'naturalistic' bonsai. The very practice of bonsai is not natural. As soon as you lay scissor to twig nature has come to an end. A claim to be creating naturalistic bonsai is nothing but a sales gimmick, as has been publicly acknowledged by its chief proponent.

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Vance Wood on Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:37 pm

Reiner Goebel wrote:Vance, I am with you. At least I think I am. It's easy to get lost in all this.

Let's not stop at American bonsai. Let's further define our view by going for New York bonsai, nay Bronx bonsai. Fifth Avenue bonsai, anyone? And does American bonsai stop in Detroit, only to be reinvented as 'Canadian' bonsai a few hundred meters across the river in Windsor?

Ridiculous!

To me bonsai is bonsai. Other than to give benevolent justification for incompetence, there is no room for regional subdivisions.

Nor is there room for 'naturalistic' bonsai. The very practice of bonsai is not natural. As soon as you lay scissor to twig nature has come to an end. A claim to be creating naturalistic bonsai is nothing but a sales gimmick, as has been publicly acknowledged by its chief proponent.

I agree with most of what you are saying. In short, as I have said many times before, a good bonsai is a good bonsai regardless of whether it follows the traditional Japanese rules of design or not. I also wholeheartedly agree that much which is foisted on the bonsai community as a new type of design is, as you have put it; benevolent justification for incompetence.

I think we in America have allowed ourselves to be convinced that there should be a uniquely identifiable American Style Bonsai. In our quest to find such a thing we have either come up with the hideous or nothing at all. Perhaps we search for something that cannot exist and still be a bonsai. Not meaning to be critical of Walter Palls work, or to demean it in any way, it also falls into my definition of a good bonsai. It is only when one looks deeply into the details with an analytical eye that one may discover that his trees do not always follow the traditional concepts. But; in the end they are recognizable as bonsai worthy of emulation. In this is the key: worthy of emulation. It is when some one's work encourages duplication that the departure from the current standards creates new standards to be followed. This will not happen within the confines of the benevolent justification of incompetence.

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  m.t.pott on Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:57 am

THERE IS SO MUCH TRUTH being laid down in this thread that I need a front end loader just to shovel it all in my head. I have devoured each McNugget of wisdom, digested it and then stuck my finger down my throat to bring it all back up just so I could devour it all over again!!! clown Lets break it down-
This issue has kind of been a burr under my saddle for years.
Shocked Ouch! That must have really hurt your horse!
In the early years of this debate many really ugly, grotesque, out of balance and uninteresting trees were passed off as being "American Bonsai"
Sleep Actually, I think that was a joke made up by Japanese teachers who visited the U.S. to headline conventions.
The truth being that the effectiveness and beauty of the tree does not in itself invite the kind of scrutiny this thread implies; it is simply accepted as a truly good bonsai. The analysis coming later for academic reasons and not because of artistic failures.

drunken I'm not really sure what this means, but it sounds so heartfelt that I'm inclined to agree.
Let's not stop at American bonsai. Let's further define our view by going for New York bonsai, nay Bronx bonsai. Fifth Avenue bonsai, anyone?

alien Well if you don't mind, make mine Bleeker Street! But really, it's nonsense isn't it? American Bonsai... the thought of it makes me laugh. lol! Right, like there's Japanese Bonsai, or Chinese Bonsai, or Taiwanese Bonsai, or European Bonsai. What a joke! IT'S ALL THE SAME. It's like food- you don't have French food or Mexican food or German food. IT'S ALL THE SAME. It's just food. Why should it be different from one place to the next?
And does American bonsai stop in Detroit, only to be reinvented as 'Canadian' bonsai a few hundred meters across the river in Windsor? Ridiculous!

cheers It sure is! There is no Canadian style anything. Except bacon. I've seen it in the supermarket.
To me bonsai is bonsai. Other than to give benevolent justification for incompetence, there is no room for regional subdivisions.

farao That's right. Again, use the example of food. The English eat as well as anyone.
Nor is there room for 'naturalistic' bonsai. The very practice of bonsai is not natural. As soon as you lay scissor to twig nature has come to an end. A claim to be creating naturalistic bonsai is nothing but a sales gimmick, as has been publicly acknowledged by its chief proponent.

affraid OH, SNAP!!! Somebody just got sent to Bonsai School! affraid Paging Mr. Pall... Paging Mr. Pall. Remember the lengthy thesis you wrote defining the "Naturalistic" style? Well it's just been reduced to a mere smear of rectal sputtering!!! Makes it kind of obvious when you don't even show your grinning face around here to defend yourself. No, you'd rather be over at the "Yellow Pot" thread picking on some poor guy's photo quality. Now you'll probably spend the rest of your life hiding away in some God forsaken backwater, like Austria. Nice knowin' ya pal.
In short, as I have said many times before, a good bonsai is a good bonsai regardless of whether it follows the traditional Japanese rules of design or not.

Sad This sounds like heresy, but go ahead...
I also wholeheartedly agree that much which is foisted on the bonsai community as a new type of design is, as you have put it; benevolent justification for incompetence.

thumbs up Oh, OK. As long as you're not in favor of anything new.
I think we in America have allowed ourselves to be convinced that there should be a uniquely identifiable American Style Bonsai. In our quest to find such a thing we have either come up with the hideous or nothing at all. Perhaps we search for something that cannot exist and still be a bonsai.

pig Now you're hitting the nail on the head! We in America are failures. Our bonsai stink. That is, the bonsai where we try to find something original, creative and expressive of our culture stink. We need to stick to the good old "made in Japan" blueprint, and quit trying to do something that can't be done. Sheesh. WHEN WILL WE LEARN!?!?
in the end they are recognizable as bonsai worthy of emulation. In this is the key: worthy of emulation. It is when some one's work encourages duplication that the departure from the current standards creates new standards to be followed.
cyclops This is so, so true. The other day I saw a KISS tribute band, and I thought "Yeah, KISS. Now, those guys were artists."

Oh, and by the way, here's a little message to austinheitzman-
I guess what I was most referring to when I mentioned “American Bonsai” was Bonsai that express a beauty with roots in American conceptions of beauty. The “rules” being a Japanese conception of beauty. All bonsai seem to be idealized trees (nature) and the beauty and art is in evoking new images of idealized nature- I believe that culture helps to shape ideas of nature, hence American Bonsai. I am sorry if this is incoherent babble.
Evil or Very Mad It's worse than incoherent babble!!! It's, it's... Babbling incoherently! You obviously don't have a clue, so why don't you just take a seat and let the people who know what they are talking about hold the stage. "Culture helps to shape ideas of nature..." HAH! Yeah, like that means something.
Know your place, NEWBIE!!! Twisted Evil

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  peter krebs on Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:08 am

Hello Bonsai lovers,

thank you for the intensive discussion.
Bonsai is the world's family a small family, but there are many opinions, and they are the vitality of the Forum Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
Best regards
Peter

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Walter Pall on Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:54 am

m.t.pott wrote:
alien Well if you don't mind, make mine Bleeker Street! But really, it's nonsense isn't it? American Bonsai... the thought of it makes me laugh. lol! Right, like there's Japanese Bonsai, or Chinese Bonsai, or Taiwanese Bonsai, or European Bonsai. What a joke! IT'S ALL THE SAME. It's like food- you don't have French food or Mexican food or German food. IT'S ALL THE SAME. It's just food. Why should it be different from one place to the next?

Good analogy!


Nor is there room for 'naturalistic' bonsai. The very practice of bonsai is not natural. As soon as you lay scissor to twig nature has come to an end. A claim to be creating naturalistic bonsai is nothing but a sales gimmick, as has been publicly acknowledged by its chief proponent.

affraid OH, SNAP!!! Somebody just got sent to Bonsai School! affraid Paging Mr. Pall... Paging Mr. Pall. Remember the lengthy thesis you wrote defining the "Naturalistic" style? Well it's just been reduced to a mere smear of rectal sputtering!!! Makes it kind of obvious when you don't even show your grinning face around here to defend yourself. No, you'd rather be over at the "Yellow Pot" thread picking on some poor guy's photo quality. Now you'll probably spend the rest of your life hiding away in some God forsaken backwater, like Austria. Nice knowin' ya pal.

Well, I was here, but then I was so ashamed. I am now sitting in the moist corner of my greenhose and licking my wounds. Artists are very sensitive folks, quite touchy. Be careful with them. I am smashed. Sitting here, deeply hurt, I vowed to never make an effort to explain all this style and so again. Pearls thrown at sows; or something like this. I go back to Bonsainut to their 'General Discussion' and look at the poll about the greatest artists again to regain my self-esteem. Where is Reiner on that list?

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Mark on Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:36 am

Well... I would not let that cheesy poll go to your head. Those voters are the same people that gather for the longest lines at the carnival, greasy bits and the bearded lady.

Mark

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Walter Pall on Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:51 am

Mark,

don't make the mistake to mention this poll too much, or folks will want to take a look. It's embarrassing enough already. I take it you did not vote for me?

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Vance Wood on Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:22 pm

Dear Mr./Mrs./MSS m.t.pot

After re-reading your tirade/rant a couple of times I am not sure which side of the debate you come down on, or whether you really know yourself. That's fine, at the least ignorance is a starting point where one can acquire wisdom and learning. You tend to put words into people's mouths, or in this case thoughts into their heads when you should be thinking about filling your own. You choose to use the screen name m.t.Pot, which is quite clever, you might want to think about filling that pot with something worthy of consideration rather than sewerage disposal. It seems that you had something negative to say about every person and every point discussed in this thread but offered little constructive in return. Then you finish with: It's worse than incoherent babble!!! It's, it's... Babbling incoherently! You obviously don't have a clue, so why don't you just take a seat and let the people who know what they are talking about hold the stage. "Culture helps to shape ideas of nature..." HAH! Yeah, like that means something.
Know your place, NEWBIE!!!

What do you call what you just executed if it is not babbling? Who is the ubiquitous "YOU" you refer to that does not have a clue, and who are you to suggest that someone should know their place?. Are you someone that the bonsai community should be mindful of? If so come out from behind your pseudonym and identify yourself, or are you one of these forum trolls that know just enough to stir the pot,---in this case an m.t.pot?

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  landerloos on Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:37 pm

Should we not discus penjing here Rolling Eyes

Peter

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  peter krebs on Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:46 pm

Hello Bonsai lovers,
I am very frightened, where the discussion is now, that I would not have believed possible.

Google gave me the last things do not translate correctly, and I thought everything is going well.
To discuss this issue and things are absolutely esthetic and cultivated.

I am hurt when I now see that Walter Pall one of my best friends, so below is drawn.

I would ask is about the philosophical point of view article once through.

Bonsai is but one of the nicest things in the world!

Best regards

Peter

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Vance Wood on Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:11 pm

landerloos wrote:Should we not discus penjing here Rolling Eyes

Peter

Yes, but as is the case with Penjing few are able to define what Penjing is and how it differs from Bonsai (Japanese).

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Re: Thoughts on Penjing

Post  Vance Wood on Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:15 pm

peter krebs wrote:Hello Bonsai lovers,
I am very frightened, where the discussion is now, that I would not have believed possible.

Google gave me the last things do not translate correctly, and I thought everything is going well.
To discuss this issue and things are absolutely esthetic and cultivated.

I am hurt when I now see that Walter Pall one of my best friends, so below is drawn.

I would ask is about the philosophical point of view article once through.

Bonsai is but one of the nicest things in the world!

Best regards

Peter

I agree with you Peter, but if you look back Mr/Mrs/Mss m.t.Pot basically assaulted verbally anyone and everyone who has previously posted on this thread--even Walter Pall. It seems in Pot's view of things no one has a clue as to what bonsai is about except him/her/something-other-than, and has so far failed to follow up and show all of us how we have been, are now, and will continue to be, in the future,--- wrong.

Vance Wood
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