Author Topic: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic  (Read 10983 times)

Hotaction

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Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« on: September 27, 2010, 12:58 PM »
Lots of controversy flying around the internet about this lately.  I didn't want to muddy up any other threads, so I started this one. 

For the record, I could care less about doing this whole thing the japanese way.  If I were to try painting, would it be necessary for me to recreate a Rembrandt first, in order to understand painting. Bonsai just happens to be the only word we have to describe what we do. 

So, I will no longer practice the art of bonsai, as it has no place for those who don't wish they were born in Japan.  Anyone who wishes to join my club for the raising of trees maintained in containers while being pruned to remain smaller than their natural form is welcome to do so. 

Dave
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 01:10 PM »
Thanks for invite, Dave, but I think I'll continue to practice the Japanese art of bonsai.  ;)
 

Hotaction

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 01:12 PM »
Sorry, anyone BUT John ;)
 

T-Town Bonsai

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2010, 01:27 PM »
Thanks for invite, Dave, but I think I'll continue to practice the Japanese art of bonsai.  ;)

As will I.
 

johng

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2010, 01:39 PM »
Hey Dave, 

There will probably always be room for both with me.  I do love the art as the Japanese practice it, but I also love, perhaps even more, being able to apply what I have learned to my own experience and environment.  To create miniature trees and landscapes that are inspired by my experiences is personally very rewarding and challenging.  Yet, I have, and hope to always have trees that fulfill both realms.

John 

 

John Kirby

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2010, 03:25 PM »
Dave,
This "stuff" has been kicking around for years, on the internet and before the internet. I think Boon said it best, there are really only two kinds of bonsai: good bonsai and bad bonsai. Theclassic example I love is when folks throw up pictures of Walter Pall's spectacular Rocky Mountain Juniper, and explain how it is better than Japanese trees because it is more Naturalistic. I have noticed that as the tree matures in it's bonsai life, the foliage gets denser and the sillohoutte more refined, starts looking a little Japanese. As one rather famous/infamous European BonsaiProfessional has put it, as the bonsai in the west mature they will look more andmore like the Japanese trees. We will have to see. I have been lucky to see many spectacular Bonsai in Japan andin the West (US and Europe), I think Boon has it right- theyare all just really, really, good bonsai.  John
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2010, 03:40 PM »
Dave,
This "stuff" has been kicking around for years, on the internet and before the internet. I think Boon said it best, there are really only two kinds of bonsai: good bonsai and bad bonsai. Theclassic example I love is when folks throw up pictures of Walter Pall's spectacular Rocky Mountain Juniper, and explain how it is better than Japanese trees because it is more Naturalistic. I have noticed that as the tree matures in it's bonsai life, the foliage gets denser and the sillohoutte more refined, starts looking a little Japanese. As one rather famous/infamous European BonsaiProfessional has put it, as the bonsai in the west mature they will look more andmore like the Japanese trees. We will have to see. I have been lucky to see many spectacular Bonsai in Japan andin the West (US and Europe), I think Boon has it right- theyare all just really, really, good bonsai.  John


John,

Very well said.  And, perhaps a much less controversial way to put it.  Good thoughts.
 

boon

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 03:05 AM »
This is interesting.  i am neither born in the US nor Japan.  i have studied bonsai in Japan.  My teacher taught me to study nature and bring the structure and feeling of the same specie to create your tree.  Japanese tree use nature as their basic practice.
you will be better artist if you pic and study good trees.  there are lots of bad trees in the forest.  if you pick the bad one to be your model.  can you imagine what the final product will be? 
here are the model that i pick.  i use the same principal to teach also

first pic is the pine tree in the sierra
second is the sierra juniper
third is a group of sierra juniper
 

boon

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2010, 03:07 AM »
here is the branch pattern on sierra juniper

side view
and view from under neath.
 

boon

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2010, 03:10 AM »
i hope these picture open up you eye and see the relationship between good bonsai and nature.

is your bonsai looks like the old tree in nature when you use the word 'naturalistic'?
 

Hotaction

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2010, 11:04 AM »
Boon, thanks for the great images and insights.  Also, thanks to everyone for your thoughts.  I realize I wasn't too clear in my opening statement, so let me add this.  I wasn't arguing about the trees at all, no doubt the Japanese develop some amazing ones, and achieve the results through great and consistent technique.  Great trees, are great trees and the best ones do resemble the majestic natural forms. 
 
My comments were more aimed at the "Why" of practicing bonsai.  Some feel that it must be approached from that Japanese Ideology.  I disagree, do it however you want, there is no right or wrong.  Years and Years of their culture is no doubt infused into the way they approach bonsai, that isn't to say it is the only way. 

Some people give me the impression that if you have ever littered, you don't care about nature, therefore you could never be a serious bonsaiist.  Bullocks I say.  I like the way they look, I think it is cool, that is why I grow small trees.  I have fun doing it.  I would love to go to Japan, and see the nurseries and shows, but I feel no need to duplicate the feel of that in my back yard.

Dave
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2010, 11:14 AM »
I was going to try to work up some thoughtful post, but I'm tired.  :)  I would like to reply with something like, I don't really think of it as "Japanese bonsai", much like i don't think of it as "Japanese automobile".  I think "good tree" and "good car".  It's an art the Japanese have been practicing for a long time.  Much can be learned from studying traditional bonsai.  When others surpass, I will look to learn all I can from them, too.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 11:16 AM by MatsuBonsai »
 

bwaynef

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2010, 11:17 AM »
I disagree, do it however you want, there is no right or wrong.

Not to derail the thread too much, but I take exception to this.  There may be multiple right ways (and possible ways that are "righter" than others) but there are wrong ways.
 

Hotaction

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2010, 11:22 AM »
I disagree, do it however you want, there is no right or wrong.

Not to derail the thread too much, but I take exception to this.  There may be multiple right ways (and possible ways that are "righter" than others) but there are wrong ways.

Again, I wasn't clear.  When I said right and wrong, I was refering to the reasons of why we do it.  I agree with you that the technique utilized can certainly fall short.
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Bonsai and the Japanese aesthetic
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2010, 11:23 AM »
Not to derail the thread too much, but I take exception to this.  There may be multiple right ways (and possible ways that are "righter" than others) but there are wrong ways.

And I take exception with this.  Who's to say what's right and wrong?  If your goal is to create ugly trees.... nevermind.  Carry on.  :)