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Shohin Experiment 2: Home
http://www.artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=132
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Author:  Richard Fish [ Wed May 04, 2005 3:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Shohin Experiment 2: Home

This one is a bit more traditional in design, but personal in meaning.
~Let me explain it.
Where I live, on the south coast of England, there is a large chalk deposit called the "South Downs". Nothing much likes growing on the chalk except heathland and grasses - about the only trees that seem to enjoy the chalk are old literati pines. Large outcrops of white chalk protrude above the sea and dotted along the coastline are tall thin pines beneath speeding clouds.

The pine reaches out from the Downs. Above, a seagull flies on the wind. Beneath, the chalk and sea.
Ideas & thoughts appreciated as usual.
Regards,
Richard.
Image

Author:  Carl Bergstrom [ Tue May 10, 2005 1:36 am ]
Post subject: 

Richard,
Beautiful composition, beautiful presentation.
This one really works for me. If I was just looking at the tree I might comment on how I'd like to see more detail work there - but when I saw your image, I actually didn't notice that at all. I drank in the scene with an open mind, and only much later, as I sat down to write a reply, did I get around to trying to overanalyze the tree itself. I think means that you succeeded. It's beautiful.
The only part of the scene that I might want to change is the set of chalk fragments. These did trouble me upon a first viewing. I'd rather see one piece or a large number; a small number of similarly-sized fragments strikes me as a collection of pebbles rather than as evocative of a natural scene.
With my best wishes,
Carl

Author:  Cody Oliver [ Tue May 10, 2005 2:01 am ]
Post subject: 

Richard,
This is a quite lovely scene indeed. I agree with Carl?s accolades entirely.
I would like to know if the accent stones, being slightly wedge shaped, were pointed out of frame on purpose? They look to represent a rugged coastline that, for me, ties the scene together wonderfully. I'm curious as to what kind of process went into the final arrangement.

Regards,
Cody

Author:  Richard Fish [ Tue May 10, 2005 5:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re:

Carl Bergstrom wrote:
Richard,
Beautiful composition, beautiful presentation.
This one really works for me. If I was just looking at the tree I might comment on how I'd like to see more detail work there - but when I saw your image, I actually didn't notice that at all. I drank in the scene with an open mind, and only much later, as I sat down to write a reply, did I get around to trying to overanalyze the tree itself. I think means that you succeeded. It's beautiful.
The only part of the scene that I might want to change is the set of chalk fragments. These did trouble me upon a first viewing. I'd rather see one piece or a large number; a small number of similarly-sized fragments strikes me as a collection of pebbles rather than as evocative of a natural scene.
With my best wishes,
Carl

Carl,
Thanks for your kind and useful comments. The more I experiment with these displays, the harder placement and position seems to become!
You are right about the tree of course - it needs more work. Being away from home for most of last June and July, it was watered too much and needs tightening up this year. Luckily, in shohin trees, we have more room to be interpretive, but I believe that this also places more work upon the viewer also.
You hit the nail on the head with your point about the chalk. I searched for a single piece that was evocative of the chalk cliffs around me, but no luck yet. I was forced to improvise. It makes sense to me, as I am seeing what I want to, to a certain extent. Thanks for the feedback, it all helps for the next time.
Regards,
Richard.

Author:  Richard Fish [ Tue May 10, 2005 5:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re:

Cody Oliver wrote:
Richard,
I would like to know if the accent stones, being slightly wedge shaped, were pointed out of frame on purpose? They look to represent a rugged coastline that, for me, ties the scene together wonderfully. I'm curious as to what kind of process went into the final arrangement.

Regards,
Cody

Cody,
Thanks also.
The two things that I wanted to get right with the chalk pieces, was firstly that it looked something like a chalk cliff and secondly that the "cliff" should talk to the rest of the composition. I wanted all the pieces in the display to allow the eye to flow around from one to the next, hence the lean. I am happy with my efforts if I have achieved that much at least.
The process was rather trial and error to be frank. Whilst I painted the seagull specifically for this, at first I believed that the chalk, being a sort of distant view, should go towards the back. This did not work though. If it was a single, larger piece, I think that placing it at the back might be necessary to give the tree enough visual weight.
Regards,
Richard.

Author:  Carl Bergstrom [ Tue May 10, 2005 4:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

After enjoying another long look at this, I wanted to mention that for me the success of this composition comes largely from the superb relation between seagull and tree. They communicate, and at the same time I can see the seagull soaring on ocean winds over the sparsely-treed coast cliffs.
Best regards,
Carl

Author:  Michelle Gray [ Mon May 23, 2005 1:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

Richard;
Very nice arrangement indeed. I enjoyed your other experiment and the discussion it provoked as well. I find I like the immediacy of the tree as it is. I suppose it could be more refined, but the spontanaity of it is part of its appeal for me.
The scroll is a fresh approach, as it suggests a very different environment than is usually evoked in scrolls.
I'm not at all put off by the arrangement of the chalk bits; they could be larger or more refined or not.
Albeit a minor thing, the wood grain on the table surface was distracting to me. Which has brought a question to my unschooled mind; when arranging a display, how much should the table or stand surface be considered a factor?
Also, in my incessant curiosity, I wonder how the whole display would be affected if the background were a slate gray, like a foggy day at sea?
Well, there are my musings, for what they're worth...
Again, very nice.

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