The whole thing looks artificial, man has intervened with this tree.
Let's start with the dead wood or are they dead birds. I'm not too fussy with the beaks I find them extremely distracting, there is no flow and they appear man made vice a product of nature. The bottom one which wraps around the front, and viewd from the rear doesn't add to the tree.
IMO if something does not add to the overall composition or illusion one is trying to create, then it doesn't belong.
Veining of the jin and sharis would definitely improve the deadwood. As far as restyliing the tree, I need to see it in person. Whilst we complain that far too many deciduous and tropicals look like conifers, here's a conifer that looks like a deciduous tree. This one Ruth would call topiary.
If the owner was trying to create art. then he succeeded with his dead bird creation from the front view, but failed miserably with what remains.
Funny, the first 3 seconds of viewing this tree went: Go Ducks!, you better wear safety glasses while inspecting this tree, and that somebody needed to go Cheng Cheng-Kung on this tree to add realism to the dead wood...
Like Rick, I think I would need to spend a little time looking at the tree from different planes, as I think a change in orientation will help eliminate the beak aspect, and could improve upon the compactness of the tree.
I don’t get the sense that the wood and the foliage are parts of the same tree. I like the 3rd picture as the front. I also feel that the tree would do better a little shorter and with a lot less green. Have the weight of the heavy wood on the lower left and the foliage concentrated into the upper right as a counter balance. This way the foliage might look more like the natural extension of the trunk, because as it is, that big green canopy could not have grown in the same natural environment as that trunk. And natural is what we are looking for, no?
When first viewed I struggled with the image rationalizing that the owner wanted to make a contemporary image. That rationalization soon faded to black. I settled for he was scared to death on a chisel, dremel, or any other wood cutting implement.
What Hans has shown in my opinion is the best route...It falls back on the basics to minimize, keep it compact, and give the tree natural character.
Here is a other one I made. This one makes more use of the empty space on the left side, creating some more point of interest to that side and enhancing the movement of the trunk at the same time.
I am a sucker for those hanging branches on Junipers!
When I first saw the picture I liked the tree... not for what it was but what it could be. If one was to get rid of the "beaks", refine the shari on the trunk and PLEASE do something about the white wood it could be a much better and improved tree. Add to that, compacting the foliage and giving it a semi restyle it could be great. Better stock than most people in America could dream of having...