Author Topic: judging bonsai for bwaynef  (Read 14550 times)

Walter_Pall

  • Legit New User
  • *
  • Posts: 47
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2009, 09:48 AM »
Harry, all three juges, including Kunio Kobajashi picked an ombu, I think is the name.
 

John Kirby

  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2216
  • Thanked: 16 times
  • I really need an opposable thumb...
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #46 on: October 20, 2009, 09:58 AM »
Harry,
A few years ago in Texas (Fort Worth LSBF?) Walter judged the show. There were some tremendous trees there, Collected Junipers and a number of imports and nursery trees. The tree that Walter picked as best in show was a Japanese Black Pine, the tree I wanted to win was a collected Juniper (I had a vested interest it was a friend's tree), which Walter placed second or third. The JBP, which after going back and critically assessing it was the best tree that day, was a very nice old nursery import, very well presented and very "Japanese" in styling approach.

If you look at Walter's big Rocky Mountain Juniper that he has won about every award in Europe with, in the photo progressions of this tree, I see it looking more and more like a traditional Japanese styled tree as the ramification continues to mature and the foliage becomes denser and more mature. Could be just an optical illusion, but like most of the good European and North American Bonsai, it would be nice to see them in 25-30 years when their small branches and foliage have matured to match their trunks and main branches.


Just some thoughts,
John  
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 10:00 AM by John Kirby »
 

greerhw

  • Jr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #47 on: October 20, 2009, 10:02 AM »
I guess it's a tropical and since I don't care for Tropicals, it wouldn't be fair of me to make a comment. Thanks for being a good sport.

keep it green,
Harry
 

greerhw

  • Jr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #48 on: October 20, 2009, 11:11 AM »
Harry,
A few years ago in Texas (Fort Worth LSBF?) Walter judged the show. There were some tremendous trees there, Collected Junipers and a number of imports and nursery trees. The tree that Walter picked as best in show was a Japanese Black Pine, the tree I wanted to win was a collected Juniper (I had a vested interest it was a friend's tree), which Walter placed second or third. The JBP, which after going back and critically assessing it was the best tree that day, was a very nice old nursery import, very well presented and very "Japanese" in styling approach.

If you look at Walter's big Rocky Mountain Juniper that he has won about every award in Europe with, in the photo progressions of this tree, I see it looking more and more like a traditional Japanese styled tree as the ramification continues to mature and the foliage becomes denser and more mature. Could be just an optical illusion, but like most of the good European and North American Bonsai, it would be nice to see them in 25-30 years when their small branches and foliage have matured to match their trunks and main branches.


Just some thoughts,
John  

These pictures don't do the tree justice. At one time it was maintained by Shawn Cary. The handsone gentleman in the picture, is none other than Frank Kroeker former owner of the  Sonlight nursury. There was no doubt in my mind, Walter picked the right tree that day !

keep it green,
Harry
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 11:15 AM by greerhw »
 

mcpesq817

  • Sr. Forum Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 250
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #49 on: October 20, 2009, 11:17 AM »
Wow, that's a fantastic JBP!
 

greerhw

  • Jr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #50 on: October 20, 2009, 12:16 PM »
Here's a few more trees from that show, they may include John's friend's juniper. 

keep it green,
Harry
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 12:19 PM by greerhw »
 

Attila Soos

  • Legit New User
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2009, 01:18 PM »
Very enjoyable discussion, this is a rare thread that I haven't seen for a long time on forums.
 

Attila Soos

  • Legit New User
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2009, 02:02 PM »
I agree with Walter that judging is entirely subjective, and this is how it should be. That's because bonsai itself can be looked at in different ways, and neither way is right or wrong. One can look at bonsai as a traditional craft, and judge it according to the guidelines developed by many generations of bonsai growers. One can also look at bonsai as visual art form, and as such, reward those trees that show the most originality and creativity. Then again, there are many who are inspired by the natural world, and want their bonsai to be the expression of naturalness. For them, a pine should look like a pine, and a maple should express characteristics displayed by the maples in nature. And there are those who look at bonsai as an entirely abstract expression of tree form, an embodyment of a certain ideal in their mind. These people value the simplicity of pure geometric forms, and their bonsai reflect that, through neat triangles, perfect domes, rhytmic horizontal pads, etc.
The above mentioned views often have contradicting components, and it would be impossible to select a set of specific criteria that can be applied to all views. This is why judging is entirely subjective.

Each of these different views look for different criteria, when it comes to judging. Which one is the correct view? There is no right or wrong answer. But a good judge will be consistent in applying his own criteria. So, know your judges, before you appoint them for your exhibit.  You can select judges with similar views, or you can select judges with different tastes, for the sake of variety.

This is why I have to reject the idea that a well executed azalea in the traditional style is inferior to a well executed prunus  that was designed in naturalness in mind. Or the notion that a black pine is inferior just because it lacks originality. It all depends on our preferences, likes and dislikes. I may have my own personal taste, but I can't expect everybody to have the same. That would be the same as saying that "my religion is better than your religion".
« Last Edit: October 21, 2009, 02:05 PM by Attila Soos »
 

greerhw

  • Jr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2009, 02:50 PM »
Attila, you can always spot a judge, they have one big eye in the middle of their forehead......... ;D

keep it green,
Harry
 

Michael T

  • Legit New User
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #54 on: October 22, 2009, 07:25 AM »
Walter,

I tend to believe that your view is  a bit too extreme.  Evaluating bonsai is not purely a subjective inquiry.  Most art no matter what genre it is does depend on certain accepted conventions.  It is only how those conventions are stylistically expressed that varies subjectively.

As to bonsai, it's fair to say that the following almost always apply: that nebari should be evenly distributed, that trunks should taper, that branching should show good ramification, that a tree should have good symetry, that the pot shouldn't overpower the tree.

And there are other conventions that generally apply: that bar branches usually don't work; that crossing branches usually don't work, that evergreens usually don't look good in glazed pots.

It is only how these conventions are expressed stylistically where true subjectivity begins.   Formulaic japanese styles versus what you've termed naturalistic.  

Neither extreme expressed so far is correct.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 07:27 AM by Michael T »
 

bwaynef

  • Administrator
  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1785
  • Thanked: 33 times
  • USDA Zone: 8a
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #55 on: October 22, 2009, 09:55 AM »
I wonder how often I have to repeat this.

criteria: it must look like it was all done by nature, it must not look like a bonsai at all but like a tree. And then it must impress you. It can impress you by it's beauty, by it's ugliness, by It's unusualness or by all of that. The more it impresses yo the more art it is for you. This means it must have soul, the more the better

That's it, that's all. Where is the problem?
You seem to have answered a question I did not ask.  You lament the fact that trees score poorly under traditional judging so I ask for specific things to look for when judging a tree styled naturalistically.  Your answer was that judging naturalistic bonsai is done "by feel".  I'll infer then that identifying rubrics by which Naturalistically-styled trees can be judged is more than a little difficult, if not impossible.

As I was quoted as saying, the main contention I've seen to Naturalistic bonsai is not in their acceptance as art but the need for some to classify them at all.  The paradox comes when one of its biggest proponents is either unwilling or unable to classify specifically what makes them good beyond an impression or a hunch.

I certainly appreciate your bringing this discussion here as I've surmised you're leery of broaching this topic.  I also enjoy the trees you classify as naturalistic.  My question that started this was done in an attempt to improve our ability to judge Naturalistic bonsai.  How do you foresee the situation being corrected?
 

bonsaikc

  • Member
  • Sr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 330
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #56 on: October 22, 2009, 10:22 AM »
I  have to say that this thread has been more illuminating and uplifting than most I've read on the topic. I am predisposed toward the objective, which may put blinders on me from time to time. So the discussion of the feel of a tree, etc., is very good for me to read. I do agree that neither extreme may be the most beneficial position to the practice of the art. However, it's proponents of ideas outside the norm that move that norm and expand one's horizons.

Walter, I love many of your trees, although neither of the trees posted in your thread are your best work, IMO. Some of your best trees look completely natural in the smallest detail, and certainly do not betray the artist's hand. The cherry in this thread (to me) looks a bit untrained, which is a different feel altogether. "De gustibus non est disputandem" or something like that.

Thanks for this thread and I certainly hope we can continue these kind of discussions while staying solidly in the realm of civility and concern for each other. Oh, and with a little less silliness. You know who you are.  :D

Chris

 

greerhw

  • Jr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #57 on: October 22, 2009, 12:29 PM »
You're more than welcome to ban me if my attempt a humor offends you. Censorship offends me, if I'm obeying the rules. Unless humor is against the rules.

keep it green,
Harry
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 01:03 PM by greerhw »
 

Walter_Pall

  • Legit New User
  • *
  • Posts: 47
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #58 on: October 22, 2009, 12:43 PM »
Harry,

I may be missing something here? Why this message? You have offended nobody. In this tread at least  ;D
 

greerhw

  • Jr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: judging bonsai for bwaynef
« Reply #59 on: October 22, 2009, 12:53 PM »
See Chris's post above mine telling me, he didn't like my picture of a judge. It was his subtle way of telling me to knock it off.

keep it green,
Harry