Thursday, May 3, 2007

Black pine styling, KoB contest - part 2

phase 2

In general we are taught to first analyze a tree, find the general form and find the best front. And only then you can start working towards that form and front. Anything else is very much against the general advice. Well, it is clear to probably everyone that the general form of this tree will not be changed much. It can be tilted slightly to the right and be more of a slanting form. Or it can be tilted slightly to the left and be more of an upright tree. One can always tilt, but too often one cannot place the tree in a good pot afterwards. This is because the roots will only allow a certain degree of tilting. The roots need to be worked on anyway. I speak of surface roots here which is called nebari often. So I start to work around the nebari first, before I have decided about the general front. Around 1 to 2 cm of soil was removed around the major roots, moss was scraped off and all very small roots were removed. Care was taken to not hurt the rugged bark. My secrete liquid that removes algae and moss from delicate bark and deadwood was painted all over the roots and trunk.

Only then I started to come back to the front issue. I do not believe that one absolutely has to decide about the front in the beginning. I believe that one has to have some clue from which side the tree will look good in the end. But one absolutely does not have to take the decision too early. If the tree ends up offering several good fronts finally that's good news. Often one can plant it into a round pot and let the audience decide which front they like best. Anyway, whatever the front will be, one thing was for sure to me: the lowest branch has to be brought down considerably. Way out of the old-fashioned horizontal position. Strong wire was attached around the roots and the branch and the wire was twisted. It was not difficult at all. One has to be aware that a branch could possibly break while doing this. But the branch was quite cooperative and I wondered why nobody else has 'dared' to do this before.

Now is the time to look at fronts again. There are still several options here and I decided to work towards ALL of them. The trick is to work round and around the tree, not caring what exactly will be the final front. Make sure the tree looks credible from all sides. And in the end one can (but does not have to) decide about the best one for you. Of course, it was clear that the final front would be in a certain sector. Also the limited number of pictures allowed for this contest means that I cannot show all sides. I will eventually post all pictures on my blog.

Now also is the time to look at the existing deadwood. I found that it was quite a while ago that it was worked on. But one could still see the marks of man, witch is not good. And then I had the feeling that it cold have been designed better a long time ago and I could do this now. So I connected some shari and I extended some shari lines. I made sure that this was done in a rather subtle way for two reasons: First the health of the tree is most important. One has to understand the functions of sap flow very well to make a decision to take off live bark. And then for artistic reasons we do not want overkill here. While the tree will be a modern bonsai in the end (mind you, NOT a naturalistic one) and modern bonsai is a lot about deadwood it would be unwise to overdo this here.