2017 May Artistic Styling

A large group of members met at the Kew East Hall to hear Joe talk about Artistic Styling in bonsai.  Techniques and horticultural issues were not considered in this presentation.  A selection of comments by Joe are listed below.

  • If what we do is art, then bonsai is a medium, not a thing.
  • Bonsai are scaled down versions of real life, or stylised versions or abstract.  Lots of variations are possible depending on your point of view or objective.
  • Everyone sees the world through different eyes.
  • Actively develop your eye and become aware of how we interpret the world.
  • It can help to break the larger world down to understandable pieces.  Roots.  Trunk.  Branches.  Foliage.  Features.
  • Looking vs Seeing.
  • Create mindfully and actively challenge.
  • “Fastest way to change a tree – put it in a different pot.”  Quote from a Japanese bonsai artist.

Many thanks to Joe for an interesting presentation and tree review.

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President Victor thanking Joe for his great presentation.

 

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Joe also offered artistic comments on the trees on display by members and some of these are included below.

English Elm
English Elm

This tree has amazing branches and fine ramification.  It matches a field tree well.  There is a well rounded head and it encourages visualisation of what may be around the tree.  The bright colour of the pot helps the presentation but would a narrower and smaller pot enhance the display.

Melaleuca ericifolia
Melaleuca ericifolia

The composition of this tree encourages a focus on the foliage.  It has distinct pads on upward branches.  This native variety is an evergreen but styling wise, it is very similar to deciduous trees.  The pot has a strong visual impact but is it too much?  Would a rectangular pot be preferable?  Is the soil colour too distracting?

Trident Maple Group
Trident Maple Group

The little glade in this group enhances the view.  With tridents, need to ensure only two branches at junctions.

Mugo Pine
Mugo Pine

This tree is very much in the representational style and is very similar to trees in the field.  The apex is full which can be hard to achieve.  Very fine bark enhances this tree.

Black Pine
Black Pine

This is a tree with many interesting features; some of which are not visible with the current front.  The compact foliage of this tree really helps the eye focus on the interesting features which have been developed over many years.  May be a smaller round or oval pot would add value to this tree.  This tree is a good example of what can be achieved by constantly critically assessing your tree.

Japanese maple
Japanese maple

This is an amazing tree that demands attention.  In this phase, it is all about the foliage and that provides a high impact image.  When the leaves drop and the tree structure is revealed, a very different tree will emerge.  You can choose whether you prefer the white or black background.

Japanese Maple
Japanese Maple
English Elm
English Elm

This unusual tree with a wild composition has great ramification.  You will find the eye wanting to investigate the many aspects of this tree.