My Maples in Montreal

MACH5

Masterpiece
Messages
4,230
Likes
14,113
Location
Northern New Jersey
the low branches on trees are often seen as 'feature' branches, they often set the tone for the entire image.
on one of the mirai streams Ryan talks about how he usually sets that branch first then everything else falls into place, i only began taking this more seriously after watching that stream, although he speaks about this technique to styling in a LOT of his streams.
I would agree with this completely. Almost always for me I have to figure out my key branch which I then use as my compass for the rest of the tree. For me there are two key components that frame and define your design: Your main branch and the apex.
 

MACH5

Masterpiece
Messages
4,230
Likes
14,113
Location
Northern New Jersey
Thanks so much @Wilson !

Those photos are great! I definitely have more to learn from you - i'm not drawing enough inspiration from the infinite sources of ideas right outside my door. I mean, i look at trees differently now as I walk through the streets, but I don't stop to think about it enough!

Thank you sir!

Derek, I think it's important to study great bonsai. But I think is just as important to study trees in nature. You will be amazed at what they tell you!
 
Messages
1,471
Likes
5,077
Location
London, England
I'm not very familiar yet with styling as I would like to be, but in short this is what I got from my teacher.
-> Downward branches make the tree look older, upward make it younger
-> usually with a thinner trunk the branches should be more upright (as the thinner trunk already hints at the younger age)
-> even tho the first side branches may be horizontal or downward, the other branches can be going upward. The closer to the apex, the more upward they go.

Also Danny refers to his styling more like Walter Pall does. A natural style.
Of course being the bonsai masters that they are, they can also style a tree in the japanese or pine style. They just prefer not to I think.
As Danny puts it; the Japanese have their way of styling trees, we don't have to try and copy that style because they will never be as good anyway.
Thats one of those that you have to play around and just see what works, because if you have spindly downward branches on a fat trunk, its not going to make it look older. its not as simple as that.
there are many factors that contribute to a tree looking older. a fat trunk, with aged bark, great taper, with very thick upward branches with lots of changes of direction and tapering branches, will look ancient. if you have the primaries going up and the secondaries going down,it will look old. just directing everything downwards doesnt cut it on most occasions imo. a lot more to it
 
Messages
699
Likes
864
Location
Montreal
@BobbyLane Thank you for sharing your process, for the pics, the video! I'm going to take a careful watch tonight :) I took a quick look - that's a very interesting tree to me

@LanceMac10 Thank you for the links! it looks like there's a lot of interesting reading to do. I am not a member on IBC, but i will consider it thank you!

@baron thank you! very nice ideas to consider! I think that downward branches (even if i wanted to, and at this point i don't know) would be harder to achieve and make look good with this cultivar. this cultivar will also show age relatively sooner than other maples because of its bark, so there's a lot to consider.

@MACH5 I am lucky to have to bonsai friends in Montreal who are very in touch with the trees out there in nature @Cosmos @Wilson They have both been pulling me in that direction, and I can see the benefits already :)

@BobbyLane @MACH5 I had not thought about focusing on a key branch, thank you! In almost all of my drawings (they now cover my dining room table...) I drew a very quick two bottom branches left and right, and then spent more time on the middle branches (focusing on whether they should be horizontal, upward, or downward). I need to go back and think about a key branch!

Lots to consider thank you all!
 
Messages
167
Likes
378
Location
Antwerp, Belgium
USDA Zone
8
Ofc @BobbyLane, you are 100% right! It is about the whole picture.
I was merely stating the branch position and direction can have a huge impact in that way.
As adait would say: it depends.

They may this may be a bad comparisment and both are in development, but the first tree definitely looks like an older tree to me.

a.JPG b.JPG

edit:

@derek7745 As it happens Danny brought in two new arakawa's for sale a few weeks ago. One has already gone, but still one left.

arakawa.JPG
 
Messages
1,471
Likes
5,077
Location
London, England
Ofc @BobbyLane, you are 100% right! It is about the whole picture.
I was merely stating the branch position and direction can have a huge impact in that way.
As adait would say: it depends.

They may this may be a bad comparisment and both are in development, but the first tree definitely looks like an older tree to me.

View attachment 235272 View attachment 235273

edit:

@derek7745 As it happens Danny brought in two new arakawa's for sale a few weeks ago. One has already gone, but still one left.

View attachment 235274
sure, as i said above, strategy has to adapt to material youre working on.

i have trees with low branches going up then down or horizontal. this isnt because i wanted the tree to look old, some of the trees looked old already. it was because i felt it was better for the design
IMG_7701
by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
IMG_7761
by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

this Ume looks old, although the main structure is rising
 

Attachments

Messages
1,471
Likes
5,077
Location
London, England
Take a look at the attached photo. To me, that lowest left branch on this tree has an impact on the entire image or mood of the tree (picture taken from here: http://bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Wiring.htm)

Both of these are options offered by the tree, and one is not 'better' than the other. This artist chose to wire it horizontally. It could have been wired with a downward, and maybe upward tendency too!

The choice is 'subjective', the options are not - the options are 'out there' for the taking. Understanding that those and other options exist at all requires category distinctions and a familiarity with styling considerations that I have not yet developed. In other words, there are options that reveal themselves to certain individuals that may not reveal themselves to others. As somebody with a background in phenomenology, that thought process is very interesting to me.

I can appreciate that this matters more to some, and less to others, which is partly why I chose to invite people to share and discuss here on my 'blog', as opposed to starting a new thread about "styling deciduous tree" or something like that.

one of the reasons why most Walter Pall trees look like Walter Pall trees is because when he looks at any tree, the tree calls for certain actions and interventions. People discuss working their trees 'in the style of Walter Pall', which is recognizing patterns in his branch placement in various contexts and scenarios, and applying those patterns as best one can in one's own contexts and scenarios. Similarly, we can talk about paintings that are 'in the style of van gogh', or sculpture being 'in the style of gian lorenzo bernini'.

but developing one's own 'patterns' --to give birth to a entire genre, so to speak, as i think Walter Pall has done-- is to operate at a whole other level, and I think that would have a very organic development. I'm simply interested in the kinds of things that people take into consideration when making styling decisions.
so in final image the artist Harry harrington, decides to reduce one of the subtrunks and lowers the bottom branches, cuts back to take them off horizontal
now the tree begins to take shape and the dynamic has changed once again with these little tweaks
 

Attachments

Messages
147
Likes
165
Location
Katy, TX
USDA Zone
9A
Personally I think it is a hard subject talk about when the art is does not stop evolving. The design piece is only good for a moment in time. That is something one have to experience and learnt by him/herself. Again, if you know the guidelines or rules then that should help with design.
 
Messages
699
Likes
864
Location
Montreal
Personally I think it is a hard subject talk about when the art is does not stop evolving. The design piece is only good for a moment in time. That is something one have to experience and learnt by him/herself. Again, if you know the guidelines or rules then that should help with design.
Again, I think we completely disagree. The amount of time that each of us has to dedicate to bonsai differs considerably, and the aspirations we have could not be more different. Our approaches to learning are also different. Again, this is perfectly fine of course :)

I'm making a distinction between design-methodology and product, and (at the moment) I am only inquiring about methodology. I have received an overwhelming amount of help and advice, for which I am very grateful.

I can appreciate your perspective, and fully understand it. Good luck on your bonsai journey :)
 
Messages
1,471
Likes
5,077
Location
London, England
Messages
699
Likes
864
Location
Montreal
@BobbyLane much appreciated! Lots of reading to do this weekend :)

I also renewed my subscription to mirai after your reminder - re-watching their videos again after learning quite a bit in the past year will make them seem like brand new videos i'm sure!
 
Messages
699
Likes
864
Location
Montreal
solid reading @BobbyLane and @LanceMac10 thank you again! This interesting link came up too while reading:

http://walterpallbonsaiarticles.blogspot.com/2009/10/styles-and-forms.html

So much discussion about naming of styles that i wasn't aware of!

There was also a lot of focus on past vs future styles, but what never came up is how long it actually takes to develop a deciduous tree. example: are the 180 year old maples on display now representative of 'current' style, or a preservation of a style from 100, or even 50 years ago?

Having read all of this discussion that your links lead me to (and more), I think i much prefer discussion about 'mood' and 'feeling' of any tree, rather than 'style' or 'form'. The former makes bonsai design and perception much more personal (and in that sense timeless and universal). But i can appreciate that 'objective' concepts are what allow us to asses the quality of a tree, for example at an exhibition (e.g. what makes a good birch, isn't what makes a broom zelkova, and neither are what makes a good multi-trunk maple).

After reading all of this yesterday evening, i went through my 'inspiration' folder and quickly picked out a bunch of pictures of trees with a lean in them that at first glance (without giving it a second thought) struck me as trees that i liked. I'm going to spend some time looking at each one individually, and in comparison.

here's 1/2

edit: @Adair M @Smoke i just too a second look at the 5th and 6th photos! Kobayashi's beni chidori has a remarkable lean forward that is imperceptible from the front-view. I don't want to re-open that debate, but I thought of both of you when i just realized it was the same tree!
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Messages
699
Likes
864
Location
Montreal
here's 2/2

apologies that at this point i don't know where a lot of these photos came from. i've been collecting for 5 years or so... and have only committed to bonsai more recently and wasn't so methodical about documentation before then
 

Attachments

Messages
1,919
Likes
3,230
Location
Eastern townships, Quebec
USDA Zone
4
Derek I was at a demo by David Easterbrook last night in Drummondville, all about refining deciduous material. He is a super cool guy to chat with, and very welcoming. He repeated to all in attendance that he is happy to receive visitors. We should organize a visit to his garden this summer, I am almost certain you will leave with a tree.
 
Messages
699
Likes
864
Location
Montreal
Derek I was at a demo by David Easterbrook last night in Drummondville, all about refining deciduous material. He is a super cool guy to chat with, and very welcoming. He repeated to all in attendance that he is happy to receive visitors. We should organize a visit to his garden this summer, I am almost certain you will leave with a tree.
:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:

I can't believe i missed that!! Where was it posted? It never came up on the SPBM website :(

How was it? Any pictures of what he worked on?

Did he offer any way of getting in touch with him?

I have been dying to visit him! The Montreal association refused to put me in direct contact with him (they told me to sign up for their lessons/workshops to meet him... i'm really starting to dislike the Montreal club. All I asked was for them to forward my email to him, and let him decide if he wanted to get in touch with me), and Yves only has Dave's cellphone number, which I did not ask for because I wouldn't want to overstep any bounds or put Yves in the position to refuse. It's not my place to ask for a master's cell number

edit: I would love to schedule a visit ASAP before his maples leaf out!
 
Messages
1,919
Likes
3,230
Location
Eastern townships, Quebec
USDA Zone
4
:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:

I can't believe i missed that!! Where was it posted? It never came up on the SPBM website :(

How was it? Any pictures of what he worked on?

Did he offer any way of getting in touch with him?

I have been dying to visit him! The Montreal association refused to put me in direct contact with him (they told me to sign up for their lessons/workshops to meet him... i'm really starting to dislike the Montreal club. All I asked was for them to forward my email to him, and let him decide if he wanted to get in touch with me), and Yves only has Dave's cellphone number, which I did not ask for because I wouldn't want to overstep any bounds or put Yves in the position to refuse. It's not my place to ask for a master's cell number

edit: I would love to schedule a visit ASAP before his maples leaf out!
I will be in touch with the secretary of my club for the contact info. He is doing a workshop with them today, so I should be able to hear from them soon enough.
 
Messages
699
Likes
864
Location
Montreal
I will be in touch with the secretary of my club for the contact info. He is doing a workshop with them today, so I should be able to hear from them soon enough.
Thanks Wilson for reaching out to them!

I should be at that workshop too :( Can i ask what club hosted yesterday, and which club is hosting today? I need to become members of both! The SPBM should be supporting the events being hosted by these smaller(?) clubs around Quebec! It sucks that they didn't advertise! I weekly comb through their website meticulously!
 
Messages
1,919
Likes
3,230
Location
Eastern townships, Quebec
USDA Zone
4
Thanks Wilson for reaching out to them!

I should be at that workshop too :( Can i ask what club hosted yesterday, and which club is hosting today? I need to become members of both! The SPBM should be supporting the events being hosted by these smaller(?) clubs around Quebec! It sucks that they didn't advertise! I weekly comb through their website meticulously!
I gave up on the Montréal club, and joined Les Bois Francs, from Drummondville. It is more a group of good dudes enjoying working trees, hell first workshop I went to everyone brought beer! Last night was great, guys brought wine/beer, very casual maybe 10 of us and David.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom