Monday, February 26, 2007

the really big hornbeam saga, part 9

Now we are playing a bit with the deadwood. What used to be good is not good enough anymore. The deadwood must not show the hand of man. It must look like nature did it all. So there is still some work to do right now. It is not good enough to do nothing and just wait for ten years. While it wold look betterin ten years while doing nothing now it will look MUCH better in ten years if we still continue to work. And it will look better throughout all these ten years.
At my age it does not help me much to know that time will heal the faults. It has to be in MY life time!

David carving some holes.

the really big hornbeam saga, part 8

The new pots are virtuals, of course. I would never repot a tree in February in our area. Around the middle of April is the right time for hornbeams. And then one should not really repot a recently stlyed tree anyway. At least this is what I would strongly suggest to the regular bosnai hobbyist while I might dare it myself.

These are my two preferrred fronts.

In all innocence I have posted this story on the German forum. I fall into the same trap every time. I work on a tree and in the end I feel it is good or even very good. Then I make pictures. I do notice that the pictures don't do justice to the tree, but I post them regardless. A naturalsitic bonsai is a three dimensional sculptre. It is extremely hard to make the quality visible on a two dimensional photograph. It is much easier to do so on a tree that is designed two dimensionally, like the majority of traditionally styled bonsai. So a picture of a naturalistic tree will always not do justice to the real image, more so than most traditional creations.

Well, regardlwess I thouhgt that peopel will see what I mean here.
And then the whole old discussion started all over again. Radical views everyhwere. Many just love it some just hate it, a few hate me pesonally outright. In all naivity I thought that it is not possible to hate it. Well it is very possible, I can tell you. And they did not hesitate to insult me again and again. Just like good old Reiner.

There is something like a 'celebrity status' for me on the net. On the German forum certainly. It means this: everybody can insult me, but I have to be proper and behaving because I am a celbrity. I can say that Angela Merkel, our Prime Minister is an unable slob in public, but Angela Merkel could never say so about me. Great to have a celbrity status.

One thing about blogs is that you don't hear what they say and you don't miss it anyway.

The same thing happened four years ago when I posted my naturalistic Scots pine on the IBC gallery. They tore me and the tree to pieces. Well, In summer of 2006 the very same tree was on the title page of Bonsai Today. And not a single one of those who had insulted me came back to apologize or to say at lest that he had not had the vision. It is my aim to bring this hornbeam to a state where it can be exhibited in the grand European shows. And who knows, it may make it to title page of some bonsai magazine.

the really big hornbeam saga, part 7

OK, the crown is done. As one can see I tried to make it look credible from all sides. There will be better and worse sides. Every viewer will find his favorite. It is not the task of the designer to offer one and only one front. It is the task to offer choices and it is the viewer's task to find his best choice. The artist whill have a preferred front, but this is not so important. I even think it would be OK to hide it and let the viewer guess.

the really big hornbeam saga, part 6

But while this lookes surprisingly finished it is not good enough, of course. The whole tree has to be wired again. Every single branch and twig.

the really big hornbeam saga, part 5

OK, so the decsion was made to get rid of the upper part and hollow out the stump. But will this ever look alright? Look and see.

In the end the stump looks surprisingly 'finished' already. Much smaller technically, but it appears mcuh bigger. One great advantge is that I can now carry the whole tree alone if I try really hard. The wood of such decdiduos trees is very dense and consequently very heavy. The trunk has lost about 70 % of it's volume.

the really big hornbeam saga, part 4

Only one year lter in February 2007 there is reason for hope again. But unfortunatley only superficially. The fungis was here again. Most of the dead parts had these typical bright red spots. So again I had to make a decsion. All the deadwood had to go and the tree had to be hollowed out. And then there is this long straigt upper part of the trunk without taper, withoud movement, not sexy at all.

the really big hornbeam saga, part 3

In spring of 2006, two years later this looks a lot better. Now one can see why I cut back so much in 2004. Unfortunately at this point in time I had to make a crucial decision. A lethal fungus had popped up at the dead parts of the tree and also on the bordering live parts. Many people are paranoid about fungi in and on trees. The truth is that EVERY tree has fungi and 99.99% of them are harmless or even beneficial. Most fungi live in the dead parts of a tree. While it is true that they will ruin the deadwood, they normally don't do harm to the live parts. This fungus unfortunately was of the kind that lives in deadwood and then goes into the bordering live parts. Normally one has to burn the whole tree right away. Well, I had sprayed and painted all sorts of fungicides onto the surface. But the fungus came back every time. So I decided to carve out the parts which were infected. This meant to destroy the planned image of the bonsai. As one can see on the last picture it looks much worse thatn before again, really hopeless. Well, the experienced bosnaiist knows that this will become much better again rather soon.

the really big hornbeam saga, part 2

Here you can see how big this tree really is. When showing the preparation of such raw material the inexperienced bonsaiist is often shocked. It is the norm that the tree looks worse right after cutting back. Only the eperienced can have the vision to see what will happen and why this slaughering was necessary.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

the really big hornbeam saga, part 1

This is a European hornbeam, Carpinus betulus. It is about 50 yers old and was collected in Germany around 1996. I acquired it and planted it into my growing field. In the beginning it was jsut a promising stump. That means it had no branches. I cut it back about three times every year and it got much better over the years.

Here is the tree right after harvest in spring of 2004. This looks quite promising. But the tree is VERY big, 95 cm high, diameter of trunk at the base around 30 cm.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cornelian cherry #3, part 4

Then comes the wiring and styling. First all the thicker branches are wired and put into position to have a first sketch. Then all branches, also the very small ones are wired. The crown is far to small for this huge trunk at this moment. The ramification will become much better, of course. Eventually this will be a big flowering tree. I look forward to that day. In the last picture I have virtually given it a new pot to see how it would look. Progress will be reported.