I'm working to wire the pads on this tree now and it looks like these branches need to come down a bit. Should these branches be wired such that they mostly follow the downward angle of these green lines?
somegeek, the overall structure of the tree is what really dictates where a branch should go...hard to tell without seeing the whole tree.
In general...most bonsai techniques replicate some natural event that impact a tree's shape. Old branches (lower branches are usually older) are pulled down by gravity, snow, age. Usually, the lower the branch, the more it assumes a downward angle, so avoid parallel lines like the green lines shown.
When you wire, put movement in the branch so that it isn't straight from any one view. You can also (carefully) wire it and twist the branch 180 degrees so it's upside down to get movement. You have to wire it a little loosely, and twist it in the same direction you wired it. Kathy Shaner likes the technique because it "sets" the branch well and provides you with some interesting wood if you decide to carve it later.
Hello somegeek... I think this tree has excellent potential. It seems to have nice movement and good branch placement already. It is tough to make a full assessment without seeing the trunk and above area.. You may want to shorten the tree.. Cut a top portion off near a smaller branch and wire up a new a new apex...Also, the side branches seem to be coming from outside curves.. So you rside branch placement is relatively straight forward. Also, even branches that will not make up the silhouette can be kept, you can make jins, possible pads that may fill in some spaces in the front if needed, and also back branching. Also, the lower on the tree the branches are, the more down slope they would have, also the more curvy the trunk is the more curves that the branches would have.