Bonsai Critique Showcase

Listed in alphabetical order by title.

The Dancing Crane

By Attila Soos, USA

The Dancing Crane
I saw this tree at a recent exhibit. There were many great trees in that show, but the tree that struck me the most was this one. It was tall, possibly over four feet, and it made me come back to it over and over again. Some of the other trees had more impressive trunks, better foliage, amazing deadwood, but this one had something that none of the others possessed.Read More >>
The Innovative Saikei
In the world's endeavors to represent vast scenes on a miniature, three-dimensional, living scale (Saikei), stones are often used to symbolize mountains, small plants are regularly manipulated to signify immense trees, sand is generally utilized to suggest sand, and water is repeatedly intended to mimic water. Examples diverging from this practice are considered a rarity, and many times criticized by traditionalists. Artistically, however, it is not necessary to use a miniature version of a depicted scene for the media of a saikei. In fact, doing so could be regarded as ignorance of the potential media that could possibly be utilized in this art form.Read More >>
The Maleficent Tree
For people everywhere, images of trees are laden with rich symbolic meaning. Trees offer many diverse archetypes: the tree as generous provider, the tree as stoic survivor, the tree as towering immortal. Bonsai artists make abundant use of these archetypes in their own compositions, to convey tranquility or resilience or immensity or humility. Many of the special techniques in bonsai artistry that we study careful and use commonly are adapted to these precisely archetypes. We twist branches and we carve jin and shari to express the story of survival against the elements; we play with tricks of perspective and balance to make a thirty-inch tree appear to tower over pot and viewer alike.Read More >>
Nick Lenz's Root-Over-Rock Apple
The base of the trunk rests atop a large roughly triangular shaped rock. The rock covers 2/3 of the pot surface and has many light earth toned colors. As the trunk descends the rock, it slowly divides and transforms into large rope-like roots that straddle the rock and hug its crevices. Green and grey mosses and lichens track the roots as they descend and merge into the grey-green topsoil. The tree is contained in a ceramic pot of light earth-toned colors. The rectangular ceramic pot edges and corners are softened by rounding of the hard angles.Read More >>

Walter Pall's Japanese Maple

By Vance Wood, USA

Critique: Walter Pall's Japanese Maple
On March 15 of this year Walter Pall posted a picture of his now world famous Japanese Maple. Not apologizing for my ignorance for not seeing this tree before; this was my first time. Needless to say I was awe struck. I have seen some really nice and, yes, spectacular Japanese Maples before but this one has done something in my mind that none previous have ever come close to.Read More >>

Walter Pall's Norway Spruce

By Will Heath, USA

The Maleficent Tree
My personal taste in bonsai leans toward what I observe in nature. I tend to be moved more by those bonsai that give the illusion of a tree in its natural environment... those that appear untouched by human hands, than I do a tree that is so obviously a bonsai, groomed to a fault with the shears of tradition and styled with all of the "correct" cues and attributes.Read More >>