Masterpiece Bonsai Discussion

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Shohin
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I am starting this thread to allow the discussion for the Masterpiece Bonsai thread started by Al. I originally skipped over his wishes to keep comments out of that thread, but have now gone back and deleted my comments and will place them below. Al is correct, the thread will be much nicer without comments, and I do apologise.

Thank you for this thread Al. I wish I could contribute, but...

Maybe exposure to trees of this caliber give someone a personality that does not come across well on the internet.
I think this will be the biggest hurdle to overcome with the premise of your thread - being able to truly identify a masterpiece in 2D and 450 x 300...

No photo's of future bonsai please!
Bummer, as I am exposed to the best future bonsai in the states, maybe the planet. They are just too young in their development phase...

...or maybe you are not sure what a masterpiece tree looks like.
No, I think this is the biggest hurdle to overcome. I do not believe many that have taken up the "masterpiece" argument have ever seen one in person, let alone have the skills to identify one. I will admit I have seen very, very few worthy of that title in person...
 

Rick Moquin

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It's not hard for me, I have seen some nice bonsai, but I have never been exposed to masterpieces. This tree:

Rafted Casuarina equisetifolia H 65cm by Robert Steven, moves me.
 

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I think this will be the biggest hurdle to overcome with the premise of your thread - being able to truly identify a masterpiece in 2D and 450 x 300...

Bummer, as I am exposed to the best future bonsai in the states, maybe the planet. They are just too young in their development phase...

No, I think this is the biggest hurdle to overcome. I do not believe many that have taken up the "masterpiece" argument have ever seen one in person, let alone have the skills to identify one. I will admit I have seen very, very few worthy of that title in person...
With all due respect, Rich, the question was not to identify what you consider a masterpiece through a small photo, but to see if folks would offer photos of trees they considered masterpieces. My exposure to great trees has been somewhat limited, being on the prairie and all, but I have seen a lot of good and great trees, and just posted the three among them all that I would consider masterpieces. It's not a word to bandy about lightly.
 

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With all due respect, Rich, the question was not to identify what you consider a masterpiece through a small photo, but to see if folks would offer photos of trees they considered masterpieces.
I agree - but no doubt conversations regarding if a tree is worthy of being designated a "masterpiece" would be discussed (as it has been for weeks now), and my point that I obviously did not articulate very well was that while the tree may be a "masterpiece" in person - small, 2D photos make it very difficult to convey the true quality of the tree.

I do like the premise of the thread and I am hoping to see some pictures of some "masterpieces", not simply good or great trees - which was the last point I was hoping to convey. I too have seen some great trees, and I have access to some future "masterpieces", but current ones - my exposure is very limited. I would argue that the Weyerhaeuser Exhibit - which Walter called something like the best on-going exhibit in the country - is full of great trees, but is limited to a handful of "masterpieces".

I also wonder what Walter would say if you asked him how many "masterpieces" were in his collection. While few online have seen his collection in person, and we must judge against the premise of the thread using small 2D pictures, I wonder how many most people would say he had in his collection...
 
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I also wonder what Walter would say if you asked him how many "masterpieces" were in his collection. While few online have seen his collection in person, and we must judge against the premise of the thread using small 2D pictures, I wonder how many most people would say he had in his collection...
I'd say at least one or two ;)


http://walter-pall.de
 

Graydon

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On anther thread someone posted a dictionary definition of masterpiece. I think I made a comment that the definition included the words great and good. I still stand by the comment that something great is far from something good.

Here's another thought, or more like my opinion. A masterpiece is a piece of work by a master.

I'll give you a moment to let that comment sink in. Read that sentence again.

Simple, perhaps too simple. We could identify a master and then state that all of his body of work are masterpieces. I believe we may all be able to agree on who the living masters of bonsai are now (barring the ones from foreign lands who are nameless to us uneducated Americans). We could even agree on the deceased masters. Some of their trees would be better than others no doubt but they would all be works from masters - or masterpieces.

Honesty I could care a less about calling something a masterpiece. Nor do I care to debate if we could identify one from a photo. I know what I think to be good or even great trees. The most important thing is that I enjoy them and take with me a feeling of power, beauty or grace with me when I walk away from viewing them. They move me or change my outlook. You get what the artist was trying to convey.

Capiche?
 

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Smoke

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Sorry Rich, thats the whole point of this thread. You will probably never really be able to tell if a tree is great from a photo. Your just going to have to take the word of those that have posted them. Look at the caliber of the trees in the photo's. Great trees will be about 20 percent better in person than they appear in the photo. Masterpiece trees will be nearly 50 percent better when seen in person.

All I know is that when you finish taking in the whole exhibit at Boon's and walk outside you are spent. You actually hurt when you are done. Even the not so masterpiece trees are awe inspireing due to the carefull attention to detail and the way they are displayed. Much thought and patience goes into a Boon exhibit and it shows.

I think in my lifetime there will be a grand bonsai exhibit in California of the best trees in our nation. It won't probably be a national show but it will still reflect the best of the nation. The trees I showed as my five were very recent photos taken in the last four years. I have some photo's of some trees from about 15 years ago that are very nice too. They would have to be scans though and I wasn't in the mood to do the work for the thread. When I get back from the shohin convention that I just loaded the Tokonome for, I may dig out those paper photo's and post a few here.

Cheers, Al
 

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Rich, about you question of which trees are worthy. In the group posted at BT I can tell you based on seeing these trees for almost ten years that the hemlock is probably the best tree in that thread. If I would not have gone to the hospital emergency room (I had to do a treadmill last Friday after my incident) the night before I would have seen it and could tell you if I thought it was worthy of masterpiece caliber. A couple of those shohin pines are very good too. I will be helping set the display at Shohin with most of those tomorrow.

Now since I have in my posession a very high quality disk of the entire exhibit taken by the guy who hand carried the trees in to be photographed for the book, I can tell you without hesitation that the best trees are not in that thread. What else I can tell you is that there are some trees on that disk that I have never seen before that will rival anything seen in Europe or Japan. And that is based on a photo. Just imagine how wonderful they must look in person.

Cheers, Al
 
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A couple of Inge's shohin pines are definitely at the top level of bonsai in the world. She works on them meticulously, gets great help (think Boon and Marco), and studies hard to learn to exhibit them better each year. I always look forward to seeing the caliber of trees in that show.
 

Smoke

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A couple of Inge's shohin pines are definitely at the top level of bonsai in the world. She works on them meticulously, gets great help (think Boon and Marco), and studies hard to learn to exhibit them better each year. I always look forward to seeing the caliber of trees in that show.
And Ms. Wolfe is a hoot too.
 
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