The rest of the story:

Behr

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As most members here are aware I created this 'phoenix graft' as a contest entry for a BonsaiTalk styling contest in November 2004...Photo #01 is of the tree as entered in the contest...Following the contest the deadwood was altered by removing a portion of the 'stag horn antler' looking top portion, due in part as a result of comments from the voting membership, and Mr. Walter Pall the contest judge...I also lost the most forward large branch on the left of the tree, I believe due to excessive bending, resulting in breaking too much cambium...This however, I now consider to have been a beneficial loss, as another of Mr. Walter's comments referred to the almost 'square like' appearance of the canopy silhouette, and this branch was a major contributor to that...

These changes are apparent in photo #02 which was taken in December with the tree decorated for our club's annual tree decorating contest...The tree was shown again in February of 2005 at the 'Asian Festival' in San Antonio as part of the club display...I do not have a photo from this show currently available...During the show I was requested to display the tree at the 'McNay Art Museum' Asian display in May, along with other trees from our club...Photo #03 was taken at this display, and one can notice I have further edited the deadwood of the large 'left front' branch, but most of the bark below this branch was still alive...The tree had lost several of the 'canopy branches' but the canopy outline had been decided by this time...

I was again ask to display the tree in October of 2005 for a 'benefit gathering' for the San Antonio Orchestra...Photo #04 was taken at that time, and one can see the bark below the large dead branch had now also died, but a very nice well defined 'live vein' had developed along the separation of live and dead wood...These were the only photos I made of this tree until I did some major work on it this year...Photo #05 was taken in November, 2007...

Regards
Behr

:) :) :)
 

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Behr

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And now the rest of the story...

When I posted this latest photo at BonsaiTalk, Ms. Victrina Ensor did in fact notice that the tree now has some deadwood which did not exist before, and I am sharing this in answer to her questioning about this...I also realize there may be others interested in the process and methods I used here...

Several mistakes were made in the process of attaching the deadwood [phoenix graft] to the 'live' tree...The most important mistake was in the removal of the bark and cambium from the live tree...Because of the 'limited time' due to the contest deadline, I did not have time to allow the 'green' wood beneath the removed portion to sufficiently 'cure and dry' before the attachment of the deadwood...As a result of not having all the cambium removed it continued to grow, and a separation of the live and dead wood occurred, which I was not aware of for more than a year...This resulted in moisture being able to penetrate the 'union', and allowed the deadwood to rot from the inside...There only remained two spots about the size of an American dime which were covered with epoxy which did not succumb to the attack of the rot...The process of separation also resulted in the breakage and loss of some parts of the deadwood...

My first thoughts were to carve a 'new' piece of deadwood to attach to the tree, but in starting to do this I soon discovered that to find a piece of wood with similar 'grain' configuration would be next to impossible...I certainly desired to maintain at least a 'reasonable' match to what I had originally achieved because of the 'personal' history I had with the tree....I made the decision to attempt to 'reconstruct' the tree from what I could 'salvage' of the original wood...I removed as much of the damaged wood as possible and treated the remainder throughly with “Minwax Wood Hardener”...I then used a 'modeling' epoxy called 'RayCrete' to reconstruct the damaged areas...I had to rebuild the area where the attachment was made to conform to the live tree, and most of the surface roots were gone so I recreated these with the epoxy...Fortunately, by this time there was a good 'lifeline' of callous which had formed along the deadwood area of the live tree, and I was able to make good use of this in allowing the 'epoxy joint' to be located only on deadwood making it virtually invisible...I then proceeded to eliminate a few of the 'faults' in the tree, which had occurred due to loss of branches and rotting away of wood...

In the attached photo [#06] I have attempted to 'shade' the areas which are either totally epoxy, or covered with epoxy in red, and the yellow indicates where the actual joint occurs from the front view, inside the hollow trunk...

Following the reconstruction of the deadwood, 'colorization' was the next issue...I treated the actual wood areas with lime sulfur then used 'acrylic paint' to blend and match the color of the epoxy with the treated wood...I used more black in the mixture as I proceeded lower on the trunk trying to replicate the tendency of 'wetter' wood to be darker as it ages...I tend to prefer the 'artist colors' in the acrylic paint such as umber, sienna, payne's gray, light gray, ocher, ivory, and black...

I am fully aware many will view this process as 'distasteful' or even consider it as 'cheating', however I am sharing this process for those which may desire to 'learn' alternate methods and techniques not often discussed...Throughout the history of bonsai it has been occasionally important to 'preserve' a 'historical' aspect of a specimen tree...I have read of a few different methods used by the Japanese and others to do this, including the use of concrete, plastic, wood prosthesis, and other means...I regret I did not take a series of progression photos during the reconstruction, but perhaps this will not be the only time I use these processes...

Other than family members, Mr. Andy Graham, [of this and several other internet forums] was the only bonsai artist which saw the tree during the 're-make' process, when he visited my garden...The result is a tree which I certainly would not be ashamed to display in most any show, and I would have no hesitation in sharing the “rest of the story” with anyone interested in learning how this tree came into existence...I do plan at this time to present the tree for consideration, to be shown in the display at the ABS Seminar to be held in San Antonio in June of 2008...

Regards
Behr

:) :) :)
 

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irene_b

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I would love to see it in the ABS show.
Your creative vision is awesome to see and all your trees reflect it!
And yes please tell The Rest of the Story.
Irene
 
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Behr....

That is just marvelous!!! I thought my eyes were playing tricks with me... :D But I kept flipping through all the different photos I have of this tree and was certain you had augmented the deadwood. Beautiful work my friend!!!


Your friend as ever,

Victrinia
 

Ang3lfir3

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Behr... Love it... absolutely love it.... wonderful work and totally believable... I always enjoy this tree and you have truly made some wonderful and exciting changes...
 

Graydon

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Although it's not the type tree or style that floats my boat I must say it's nice piece of work Behr. I can only think about the efforts taken. Thanks for sharing.
 
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'Behr,' 'your' 'scupting' 'ability' is 'second' only to your 'need' of 'these' marks!

Fantastic work, Mr. Grampz. I never cease to be amazed at what you accomplish.
 

Dale Cochoy

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The last shot of the tree looks nice Behr.
You probably have read some of my posts on coloring carved wood with acrylic paints and mixing to match where I didn't want to show the carved area in contrast to trunk but instead wanted to camo those spots.With a dozen or so colors you can usually dial it in pretty close.
I have found, and you might want to try this if you haven't, that adding a tiny bit of lime sulfur solution to my mixed color and mixing it in before painting seems to take the shine off the acrylics pretty nice and sort of "fog" the colors a bit. It has worked well for me when using acrylics.
Dale
 

Behr

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Ms. Irene, we shall see on the ABS exhibit...I have a few trees which I plan to submit...I do hope some of them are accepted...

Ms. Vic, as I have stated before you do have a good 'eye', and I trust this explanation has satisfied your questions on the tree...Thank you for the vote of approval...

Mr. Ang3lfir3, I do appreciate your comment concerning 'believability' on this tree...This is one of the most important things we should strive to achieve...

Mr. Graydon, I realize this is probably not 'your cup o tea', but I also appreciate your comments, and that you recognize the effort...Yes, it did require a bit of time to accomplish, but to me it was worthwhile...Having resided in the Southern United States, I assume you also recognize the 'style' or 'form' as I prefer to call it, being quite natural for our part of the world...

Mr. Chris, now that was some serious funny...As one 'ages', one 'seems' to 'develop' a 'distinguishable writing style', which 'usually' is 'identifiable' when the 'reader' learns those 'characteristics' of the 'author'...Thank you so much for your comments...Accomplishments are easier when one is slower, and anyone who knows me well, can verify I am slow...

Mr. Dale, your approval means much to me...Yes, I believe I have read very carefully all of the several posts you have made about using acrylics to 'camouflage' carving...It seems we have both been doing this for quite some time...You and I are the only ones I am aware of, which have discussed this technique 'openly' on the internet forums...Hopefully others also use this tool...It is amazing what can be accomplished toward 'disguising' wounds, carving, pruning scars, and occasionally even minor faults, of our trees in preparation for display, or just to look better in our gardens...I have also found it useful in preserving deadwood on trees which are prone to 'rot' easily...I always used only water to thin the acrylic paint applying it in several thin coats beginning with darker colors and continuing with lighter tones, before I read of your technique of adding a bit of lime sulfur to the paint...However after learning of this from you, I have since started using it on my 'initial color layer', and also adding a bit on the final one or two layers...I certainly appreciate that bit of knowledge you shared on the subject, and I like your description of “sort of "fog" the colors a bit”, because that is indeed what it does...

For those interested in other views I am including the following photos...I still have a bit of detail work I wish to do, but would be most happy to try to answer any questions...

right front, right end, back, left end, and left front, in that order...

Regards
Behr

:) :) :)
 

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irene_b

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Thank You for posting these Behr!
Your detail work is Fantastic as usual!
Irene
 
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