Author Topic: Appreciating bonsai  (Read 2973 times)

bwaynef

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Appreciating bonsai
« on: October 07, 2010, 02:21 PM »
That was a generic enough subject, huh?

This weekend holds the largest bonsai show in the SE US.  Since I found out about the Carolina Bonsai Expo, I've made it a priority to visit, and in years past, my study group has participated.  I'm excited about this weekend's show, but I've realized that I often have a hard time really appreciating the trees for what they are.  I find myself critiquing the trees and making mental notes of the things I would change.  That outlook is probably derived from having to be critical of my own trees in hopes of making them better, ....but that's not a good excuse.

My question for you guys: How do you really appreciate (fresh/new bonsai) w/o being initially critical of them.  What have you found to be helpful? 
 

Walter_Pall

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2010, 04:31 PM »
 

bwaynef

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2010, 04:36 PM »
Thanks for your input Walter.  Care to summarize for us?
 

John Kirby

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2010, 04:47 PM »
Wayne,
Perhaps the difficult thing to do is to just appreciate the trees as they are. Then, if you have interest comeback and look at trees like Walter's piece suggests. I have read this on Walter's blog before, well thought out.

John
 

Mike Pollock

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2010, 05:58 PM »
As part of a program I do for clubs on getting the most from a bonsai convention (congress in Europe), I have a section on viewing an exhibit. I recommend looking at the trees first by oneself when it's not crowded. Try to look at the trees with what in budhism is called a "beginner's mind"; pay attention to how they make you feel.  Later in the weekend you can go back and look at technique; how the bonsaist achieved the characteristics that made you feel a certain way.  This order is important. Once you've looked "behind the scenes," at the technique, it is MUCH harder to just feel the tree.
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2010, 06:28 PM »
I used to think (jokingly) that Boon ruined me from appreciating trees.  I now know that he helped open my eyes to good trees, great trees, and appreciation of the skill and mastery it takes to create such trees.  I think it's natural to see a tree and how we might try to improve it.  I try not to get too worked up over it, but instead be sure to take enough time to appreciate what's in front of me.
 

Jerry Norbury

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2010, 06:37 PM »
Mike - I agree very much with this approach.  We spend so much time learning and perfecting the techniques that sometimes it's hard to see the wood for the trees as it were. I spend a lot of time searching for material - usually through imported chinese bonsai stock and it's important not to get hung up on flaws.

As an aside I play music in a band but I try to appreciate the overall feel (vibe?) or joy I get from other performers without letting their technique "get in the way"... The better ones actually get away with stuff which is largely irrelevant when you see the whole picture.
 

Walter_Pall

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2010, 03:41 AM »
Thanks for your input Walter.  Care to summarize for us?

Let the tree speak to your heart and soul first. Do not start to analyze right away with your brain. Art cannot be appreciated with the left side of the brain. It can only be explained. The explanation too often does not follow what you feel but what you have learned to be 'right'. If you don't understand the language of the tree it may be your fault and not the tree's. Be open for ways of styling that you have never heard of. Some trees follow all the rules, but speak very little. Some seem to follow no rules, at least the ones that you have learned, but speak a lot. Only if you listen.
Bonsai lyrics.
 

Zach Smith

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2010, 09:05 AM »
Thanks for your input Walter.  Care to summarize for us?

Let the tree speak to your heart and soul first. Do not start to analyze right away with your brain. Art cannot be appreciated with the left side of the brain. It can only be explained. The explanation too often does not follow what you feel but what you have learned to be 'right'. If you don't understand the language of the tree it may be your fault and not the tree's. Be open for ways of styling that you have never heard of. Some trees follow all the rules, but speak very little. Some seem to follow no rules, at least the ones that you have learned, but speak a lot. Only if you listen.
Bonsai lyrics.
Amen, Walter.  We've all seen so many trees that are "perfect" according to the "rules" of bonsai, yet something seems amiss and it's hard to put your finger on it.  Then there are others that strike a chord deep within you, and you can't explain why because the left brain keeps looking for the "spiral staircase" of branches that isn't there.

Zach
 

John Kirby

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2010, 06:48 PM »
OK, please post a picture of a "perfect tree" according to the rules. Ibet you can't find one.
 

Don Blackmond

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2010, 08:38 PM »
OK, please post a picture of a "perfect tree" according to the rules. Ibet you can't find one.

whose rules?
 

John Kirby

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Re: Appreciating bonsai
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2010, 08:46 AM »
My point exactly Don.