Tree bowing toward observer?

Messages
2,396
Likes
1,517
Location
Eugene, OR
USDA Zone
8
#1
Have heard this said that tree should be and agree however have one big question:confused:. Is whole or just upper trunk to bow forward? Is just apex bowing forward the standard? Is there actual written standard for this or just rule of thumb or spoken "soft" rule for thiso_O?
 
Messages
249
Likes
1,042
Location
Armadale ,Perth, Australia
#2
Have heard this said that tree should be and agree however have one big question:confused:. Is whole or just upper trunk to bow forward? Is just apex bowing forward the standard? Is there actual written standard for this or just rule of thumb or spoken "soft" rule for thiso_O?
yes usually any style except Formal upright the top apex area leans forward. This is only about 5-10 degrees.
It helps create the illusion of looking up at an Old tree.

http://andyrutledge.com/book/content/challenges.html

https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/rules.htm
 
Last edited:

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
10,066
Likes
19,627
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
#3
There are no "rules", but...

Lol!!!

The forward lean is a "fool the eye" kind of thing. It foreshortens the image. It's all about perspective.

It makes a longer trunk appear to be shorter than it actually is. Which allows there to be more branches. And gives more depth to the composition.

It also elicits an emotional in the viewer. Trees that lean forward a bit appear to be inviting the viewer to come take a closer look. Trees that lean back appear aloof, unfriendly.

How much is enough? As with all things bonsai the answer is "it depends". Rather than specify a geometrical number of degrees, I think it helps to look at how the tree is planted in its pot. Generally speaking, the trunk should be planted in the center of the pot as viewed from the side, and slightly to one side or the other when viewed from the front. The apex in most situations should, when viewed from the side appear to be over the soil in front of the trunk but not so far forward to be over the front edge of the pot. When viewed from the front, the lean foe are should be subtle, almost unnoticeable. If it looks like it's trying to reach out and grab you, it's too much!

Ok, here are some old pics of my tree to illustrate:

The front:

image.jpeg


Picture taken from the left of tree:

image.jpeg

The front is on the right. As you can see, the trunk is planted in the center of the pot, and it actually appears to move towards the back until about half way up! From there, the trunk moves forward towards the front. The apex is forward of the base of the trunk but does not lean forward beyond the front rim of the pot.

The back:

image.jpeg

From looking at this picture, it would be hard to tell if it's the back, maybe. Other than the foliage obscures the trunk. Well, the lighting is brighter on the lower foliage on the left, and the apex is darker, which does make it look like its farther away.

And finally, the other side of the tree:

image.jpeg

This image shows the major flaw with this tree: the key branch! The key branch, the lowest one on the right side, is in the back! Horrors! Lol!!!

So, about a year from now, it will time to address that. I've been working it up for the National Show, and then over the next year, it will go into the Regional shows I participate in. Then, it will be time to cut back and restyle. I plan on putting in a few grafts where it needs some branching closer in to the trunk. And somehow, figure out how to bend that key branch to come forward more.

But I think it is a good illustration of how to use the forward lean to good effect.

Note: a true formal upright should be perfectly straight up. Like a Christmas Tree.
 
Messages
12,636
Likes
13,382
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
#10
Then of course there is the dreaded pigeon breast?? I have held to the basic rule of all art; if it looks good and it works screw the rules. Beauty always paves the way to make the rules for those who lack the vision to do the same thing. In the end what you have done is establish something that others are compelled to follow and emulate.

This goes back to the days of the creation of the illusive American Bonsai. Many years ago when this was a cause-celeb in bonsai verging on the bonsai version of PC politics, where if the claim that a tree was an American style bonsai it could automatically be styled with impunity and accepted as such even if it looked like dog vomit. This practice was popular and accepted-----sort of, and criticism of any of its details and how they diverged from the standard presentation and styling was justified in much the same way as the King's new clothes, wherein it was stated only a fool and an ignoramus would see that the King is naked. Thankfully this quest for stupidity has reached its goal and the Forrest Gump principle kicks in; Stupid is what stupid does.

The truth is in the assessment of beauty beyond someone else's rules. I have a set of axioms, (rules that seem to work most of the time):

Axiom #1: The tree must be beautiful.

Axiom #2: Beauty defines and makes the rules.

Axiom #3: If the tree looks like crap, smells like crap it is probably crap.

Axiom #4 No amount of BS can turn axiom #3 into axiom #1. Axiom #1 trumps all rules from Naka to Yoshimura.

Axiom #5 If the design of a tree seems to not be working and tends to fulfill axiom #3, an evaluation of all the standard rules may be necessary to achieve axiom #1.

Axiom #6: Only a great achievement in axiom #1 can elevate an effort to axiom #2.

Axiom #7: Don't step in # 2 trying to achieve # 6.
 
Last edited:

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
10,066
Likes
19,627
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
#11
Then of course there is the dreaded pigeon breast?? I have held to the basic rule of all art; if it looks good and it works screw the rules. Beauty always paves the way to make the rules for those who lack the vision to do the same thing. In the end what you have done is establish something that others are compelled to follow and emulate.

This goes back to the days of the creation of the illusive American Bonsai. Many years ago when this was a cause-celeb in bonsai verging on the bonsai version of PC politics, where if the claim that a tree was an American style bonsai it could automatically be styled with impunity and accepted as such even if it looked like dog vomit. This practice was popular and accepted-----sort of, and criticism of any of its details and how they diverged from the standard presentation and styling was justified in much the same way as the King's new clothes, wherein it was stated only a fool and an ignoramus would see that the King is naked. Thankfully this quest for stupidity has reached its goal and the Forrest Gump principle kicks in; Stupid is what stupid does.

The truth is in the assessment of beauty beyond someone else's rules. I have a set of axioms, (rules that seem to work most of the time):

Axiom #1: The tree must be beautiful.

Axiom #2: Beauty defines and makes the rules.

Axiom #3: If the tree looks like crap, smells like crap it is probably crap.

Axiom #4 No amount of BS can turn axiom #3 into axiom #1. Axiom #1 trumps all rules from Naka to Yoshimura.

Axiom #5 If the design of a tree seems to not be working and tends to fulfill axiom #3, an evaluation of all the standard rules may be necessary to achieve axiom #1.

Axiom #6: Only a great achievement in axiom #1 can elevate an effort to axiom #2.

Axiom #7: Don't step in # 2 trying to achieve # 6.
I see you had expresso instead of coffee this morning, Vance! Lol!!!

All the "rules" are simply a guide to help the artist achieve Axium #1. Of course, any of the rules can be broken and still achieve Axium #1.

Of course, there was never a single person, or committee, who sat down and wrote a "Ten Commandments" of rules for bonsai. The "rules" have evolved over time as observations of common characteristics of beautiful bonsai.

I remember seeing a photo of a beautiful bonsai (I wish I could find the picture again!) that MUST have been grown "wrong" on purpose! It was an informal upright JBP, curvy trunk, with EVERY branch growing out from the INSIDE of the curve! Lol!!! It was exactly opposite of the "rule" to have a branch on the outside of the curve. But, it was indeed beautiful, and you didn't even notice the branch placement unless you took "a second look". And then, you'd just have to laugh! Oh, I SO wish I could find that picture!
 
Messages
12,636
Likes
13,382
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
#12
See-----That's my point. You have to look to see where the rules are broken. The tree was/is so nice the violations did not matter. Just having some fun with this and actually I'm pumped about the show.
 
Messages
2,396
Likes
1,517
Location
Eugene, OR
USDA Zone
8
#13
Then of course there is the dreaded pigeon breast?? I have held to the basic rule of all art; if it looks good and it works screw the rules. Beauty always paves the way to make the rules for those who lack the vision to do the same thing. In the end what you have done is establish something that others are compelled to follow and emulate.

This goes back to the days of the creation of the illusive American Bonsai. Many years ago when this was a cause-celeb in bonsai verging on the bonsai version of PC politics, where if the claim that a tree was an American style bonsai it could automatically be styled with impunity and accepted as such even if it looked like dog vomit. This practice was popular and accepted-----sort of, and criticism of any of its details and how they diverged from the standard presentation and styling was justified in much the same way as the King's new clothes, wherein it was stated only a fool and an ignoramus would see that the King is naked. Thankfully this quest for stupidity has reached its goal and the Forrest Gump principle kicks in; Stupid is what stupid does.

The truth is in the assessment of beauty beyond someone else's rules. I have a set of axioms, (rules that seem to work most of the time):

Axiom #1: The tree must be beautiful.

Axiom #2: Beauty defines and makes the rules.

Axiom #3: If the tree looks like crap, smells like crap it is probably crap.

Axiom #4 No amount of BS can turn axiom #3 into axiom #1. Axiom #1 trumps all rules from Naka to Yoshimura.

Axiom #5 If the design of a tree seems to not be working and tends to fulfill axiom #3, an evaluation of all the standard rules may be necessary to achieve axiom #1.

Axiom #6: Only a great achievement in axiom #1 can elevate an effort to axiom #2.

Axiom #7: Don't step in # 2 trying to achieve # 6.
:eek::D:p:rolleyes::cool:!
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom