Movement in trees.

Smoke

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This tree from another thread was discussed briefly. Here is the tree in a much closer shot from the recent exhibit in Nov. at GSBF.

I had said that Ms. Shaner thought the tree may look better with the tree exhibited showing the movement to the right.

Yenling said;
Sorry Al, I'm curious: I think the movement is def to the left on the Black Pine. What do you think & Why? Thank you for all the information you are sharing in this thread.
Yenling has said the movement is def. to the left. Before I elaborate it may be usefull to wonder why you feel strongly about the movement being to the left.
 

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jk_lewis

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Of course it is to the left. The apex of the tree merely offers balance (counterweight) to the massive, left-leaning trunk. It does not move the tree to the right.
 

greerhw

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Left, nothing in California leans to the right.

keep it green,
Harry
 

yenling83

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Left, nothing in California leans to the right.

keep it green,
Harry
ha ha! that was good.


The links below are from Bonsai Tonight about this exact subject and tree. The pictures are even closer up to the tree. All the reasons I think the tree points to the left are listen in the comments section of blog.


http://bonsaitonight.com/2010/04/23/case-study-balance/#comments

http://bonsaitonight.com/2010/04/27/case-study-balance-follow-up/



Wait a sec Al, we might be talking about two different subjects. In the other thread you said, "Ms. Shaner also thought the movement of the tree was to the right and not to the left. After a long battle with Jim Gremel about this...errr another time, another thread." and in this thread you said, " Ms. Shaner thought the tree may look better with the tree exhibited showing the movement to the right."

Two different things. I'm just saying I think the trees movement is to the left. That's all i'm saying.
 
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Smoke

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ha ha! that was good.


The links below are from Bonsai Tonight about this exact subject and tree. The pictures are even closer up to the tree. All the reasons I think the tree points to the left are listen in the comments section of blog.


http://bonsaitonight.com/2010/04/23/case-study-balance/#comments

http://bonsaitonight.com/2010/04/27/case-study-balance-follow-up/



Wait a sec Al, we might be talking about two different subjects. In the other thread you said, "Ms. Shaner also thought the movement of the tree was to the right and not to the left. After a long battle with Jim Gremel about this...errr another time, another thread." and in this thread you said, " Ms. Shaner thought the tree may look better with the tree exhibited showing the movement to the right."

Two different things. I'm just saying I think the trees movement is to the left. That's all i'm saying.
Let us take the whole quote and not just part of it;

The critique on this display was that the display was overly redundent. It had two trees on the tatami while showing a tree line in the scroll. The red maple while dark and red in spring was not vibrant enough for a spring mood and darkened the display too much making it seem fallish. The accent plant had far too many flowers on it for spring.

Ms. Shaner also thought the movement of the tree was to the right and not to the left. After a long battle with Jim Gremel about this...errr another time, another thread.
I think that both quotes say the same thing. I added the part about Kathy at the end thinking it may be better to just let that go, but since we are into it lets go with it.

Keep in mind I am just a messenger here. But can play devils advocate to stimulate conversation which will become more apparent as I show additional pictures which will peak allot of curiosity, I know it did for me.


Lets start with why I found the comments between Jim and Kathy engaging. First I feel the same as everyone else. Looking at the tree the flow seems a no brainer. The heavy trunk thrusting at the steep angle to the left make the movement unmistakable.....or does it. It was not untill Kathy brought up the fact that many a master in Japan grapple with this sort of thing all the time. (we will understand more when more pictures are seen). For instance Jim commented, like Morten at bonsaitonight, what if a couple minature lumberjacks came in and sawed the tree down, which way would they run to not get hit by the tree? Of course the would run to the right as the tree would fall to the left based on the angle and heft of that trunk.

But what about the proportions of the tree. If the lumberjack moved only 1/3 the way up the trunk and started to saw which way would they run? Well they would have to run to the left. On this tree we have the major proportion of foliage on the upper two thirds of the trunk with a massive directional change to the right. Eventhough there may be a small directional change at the apex it is not apparent in the photo I took at kazari.

I found a closer shot here. I think in the context of a critique of a major exhibition of bonsai it may be a good thing to contemplate stepping out of the box and experimenting with dynamic changes that could improve the looks of an exhibit.

Kathy may have had a valid point based on a hell of a lot more experience in Japan than most of us will ever have. It has gotten me to rethink the way I look at trees. Let us move on.
 

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Smoke

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What follows are more questions that I may never have the answer to. I have looked at some and gathered that sometimes the first branch is an indicator of direction while the next photo is the opposite. What about semi circle trees? How does the line of movement work in a semi circle.

when I see trees such as these I wonder how the direction was chosen. If we choose the angle of the Tachiagari (first third of the trunk) and that alone it seems confusing for me because my eye follows that arc right up and out of the picture. It seems that maybe that apex should look into the scene.

I have no clue...what say you?
 

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Smoke

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Here we have some trees that make abrupt directional changes within the trunk line, not unlike the pine that started this thread. It is plain to see that the movement was chosen based on the direction of the trunk as it emerges from the soil.
 

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Smoke

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Uh oh....just when I thought I had this thing figured out, someone throws a monkey wrench in the works and displays a tree just the opposite of contemporary thinking.
 

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Smoke

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Sometimes the first branch lends so much visual weight it is used as an indicator. This white pine seems Ok though even if the trunk seems to emerge to the left.
 

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Smoke

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Uh oh....another monkey wrench.This tree has a trunk that emerges to the left and has a nice fat first branch on the left and an apex that moves to the left. Hmmm.....exhibited with movement to the right.
 

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Smoke

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This juniper trunk moves to the left. There is no mistake about that. This tree was placed with a right handed movement....based on what? Direction of the flow of upper branches? Based on the huge mass of foliage off to the right?

Can we conclude that sometimes visual mass of foliage may change a direction of a tree even though it has a marked emergence of direction of the trunk?

Can we conclude that sometimes it is necessary to exhibit a tree with the wrong direction to make it work within the confines of a club exhibit?



On a third look after I posted...I am not so sure about the direction of the maple on the stone? Does the back branch have enough visual strength and mass to move this tree to the left.? I sense a pair of trees opposing each other like magnets.
 

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Brian Underwood

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With the "half-circle" trees, I always feel when they are displayed as in the pictures they are "turning their backs" to the accent. It just feels somewhat wrong this way. If the direction was switched, it would feel more like the tree is inviting the accent in. Should the negative space be in the center, or on the periphery?
 

bretts

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Thanks for the great posts Smoke. When I saw your name and movement I new I was in for a treat.
Yet I think you may be taking the piss here a little. I am sure you know the answer to this.
You have given some great examples to express what you mean but surely you know the answer.

The entire trunk is taken into consideration of the equation when working out the direction of the tree. Some times it is pretty even.
The bottom base holds more weight but when you do the sums but the whole tree is taken into account. The slightest movement of centere makes all the difference.
There is one tree you show that does not show this and it is taken from an unflattering Angel as a accompaniment tree.

You can do numerous calculations in your head to get it right but some one with half an eye can see instantly whether your sums add up. :p

I can spend ages getting some thing square as a metal fabricator but it takes an instant to see when it is slightly out.
 

Bill S

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Not much time to elaborate right now Al, but sometimes if I am having a tough time deciding, I look to the foliage to see which way the wind is blowing it, it does different things to each side of the tree.
 

yenling83

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Good Read Al! However, I still think in the particular case it's to the left, sounds like you might as well but i'm not sure. Anyways, I am still just a beginner and who am I to disagree with Ms. Shaner, maybe my opinion may change in time. Thanks for answering my question.
 
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When looking at the overall design/movement of a tree, the directional branch or, sashieda, may be different than the ichinoeda, or first branch. Oftentimes it is the same thing but not always. The first major branch may or may not dictate the direction of a tree. The directional branch (sashieda) may be higher up the tree and define the trees movement. Sashieda is the 'show branch' or focal point in the movement of a tree. In this case (when it is higher), the first branch then becomes the balancing branch on the opposite side of the sashieda. This can be a very subtle thing which Al is showing with many good examples. When designing a tree, the sashieda is chosen first (which may be the first branch but not always). Then the counterbalancing branch is next defined and, finally, the apex point. These are all interrelated with the height, tachiagari (lower trunk), nebari, etc. of the overall tree.
Not always easy to discern and I often didn't when discussing this with artists in Japan, but it makes for great discussion and design possibilities.
Personally, when looking at the first tree, I also see the obvious movement to the left. I also agree with Boon that the top left could be made stronger/fuller to accentuate that movement. But, if the left first branch were shortened a bit and the right branch could become the sashieda making the movement more directed towards the right. I don't think this is the way to go but you can see how this can be the case for many trees.
John
 

cascade

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Al, if one has to force a story ( or a certain movement) into a tree, it might be just poor design rather than some mysterious mumble jamble. Let's create a new term, mamble jamble design: The Western version of Ying and Yang, so to speak. The effortless chaos, the inflating design. Inflation, huh, I like that..:D

-dorothy
 

Smoke

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Al, if one has to force a story ( or a certain movement) into a tree, it might be just poor design rather than some mysterious mumble jamble. Let's create a new term, mamble jamble design: The Western version of Ying and Yang, so to speak. The effortless chaos, the inflating design. Inflation, huh, I like that..:D

-dorothy
So would this be poorly designed or poorly displayed?
 

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