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Blind In One Eye
http://www.artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=946
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Author:  John Dixon [ Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re:

Al Keppler wrote:
Quote:
This is the way it works: first you become elite in your own mind. Then you follow up with action, namely, what would the elite professional do if he was in your shoes. If you play this role long enough, people will start to perceive you as part of the elite soon enough. And this will show on the quality of your work as well. :)

Attila, I have no idea if your tongue was planted firmly in your cheek or not. From the way it starts out it almost sound like a comical parody. If that was the case then you made me laugh. If on the other hand it was not then I would disagree. Many "think" they are elite and may have thought this way for many years and still probably continue to think this way. Yet, without talent, no amount of wishfull thinking is going to produce better bonsai by simply thinking one is elite. If that was all there was to it, bonsaiTALK would be a forum of super elite's!
Best regards, Al

Al,
Good points. My take of Attila's post is that to be "elite" you first have to have confidence in yourself to attain that level. Without that, you will have difficulty. But that is entirely different than vanity through verbose braggardy. Quiet confidence is a good thing. It does the job intended without irritating others needlessly.
It's not to say that one cannot take credit for their ability, but I think we all know examples of those that DO and those that TALK.
Am I close Attila?

Author:  Al Keppler [ Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:22 pm ]
Post subject: 

John, I agree with your sentiment, but that is not what Attila said. He said:
Quote:
And this will show on the quality of your work as well. :)

As I understand him, by thinking and breathing elite, your work should improve. We all know that it doesn't happen that way. Otherwise why would we have to pay the big bucks to bring in the elite if we could all get the big bucks by thinking "elite".
I also agree with Will, there needs to be another term. I have never thought of Walter as an elitist. He has always shared of himself too much to be called that.
Cheers, Al

Author:  Will Heath [ Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

Flipping the coin, thinking you are a miserable failure at bonsai will not get you far. Which is worse, which serves the artist better?
Having a blind eye is not good, I agree with Walter on this and it can handicap an artist. Walter has given us the solution thankfully.

Will

Author:  Al Keppler [ Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:07 am ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
Flipping the coin, thinking you are a miserable failure at bonsai will not get you far. Which is worse, which serves the artist better?

Saying it like that, then with you Will I concur. This would be a perfect example of an elitist attitude. I would think that somewhere in the middle would serve most of us just fine. A little humility and a little humble once and a while. I don't think for a minute that thinking like the best is going to make a person better. I can walk around and say I am the best at something till the cows come home but its my body of work or lack of it that people will judge.
Its not how you percieve yourself, its how you are percieved by others.
Cheers, al

Author:  Attila Soos [ Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:52 pm ]
Post subject: 

Guys,
You should never take too seriously what I say. What I've said is a parody of the reality. But deep down, there is a little core of truth....
If it was so easy, the world would be a scary place.
(I just noticed, Al did say that it souns like a "comical parody" - good catch Al!)

Author:  Al Keppler [ Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:07 pm ]
Post subject: 

My bad then, I thought this was the place for serious discussion...(wink)
Al

Author:  Attila Soos [ Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re:

Al Keppler wrote:
My bad then, I thought this was the place for serious discussion...(wink)
Al

This is definitely a place for serious discussion,
but there is also room for being lighthearted.

Author:  Will Heath [ Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:23 pm ]
Post subject: 

"All forum posts should involve serious (though not necessarily humorless) and well-intentioned discussions of the artistic aspects of bonsai." - AoB policies
I have spent some time thinking about Walter's words in this article (great article Walter) and I have come to the conclusion that this ailment of being blind in one eye afflicts many bonsaists, but I think that beginners are the most effected. Certainly bonsaists of all levels can be blind in one eye, but it is the beginners who are most likely to have never seen quality bonsai live and who have only seen the single front, perfectly or imperfectly photographed two dimensional pictures of trees, and therefore have nothing substantial to judge their own work against.

Will

Author:  Al Keppler [ Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

Attila, I guess things just do not move quickly enough to help a guy out. I think John and I thought you were serious. Since I had not recieved an answer we went on as though it were...sorry.
Quote:
You should never take too seriously what I say.

At least now I know where I stand. Thanks, Al

Author:  Shaukat Islam [ Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:01 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks, Walter, for the very interesting article...........and equally interesting and enlightening views by many.
We all need to develop and 'eye' to visualize just by looking at the raw stock on what the future potentials a tree may have. With time and experience, one gets over the blind eye syndrome. With each passing day, there is so much to tend and rethink. I am considering restyling on a particular tree, and it seems how blind I had been to have overlooked this worthwhile option earlier.
It would be interesting to see the restyling on Walter's logo tree (which already is fantastic). I was trying to visualize what elements Walter would consider for the major restyling on this tree. After careful scrutiny of the tree, I made up a mental picture on what I would have done in a similar situation, and decided mentally on an option. Let's see what Walter does, and I would be eagerly awaiting to see his alterations on the restyling.
Shaukat

Author:  Vance Wood [ Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re:

Attila Soos wrote:
This is the way it works: first you become elite in your own mind. Then you follow up with action, namely, what would the elite professional do if he was in your shoes. If you play this role long enough, people will start to perceive you as part of the elite soon enough. And this will show on the quality of your work as well. :)

This is really the crux of the entire debate. First you become elite in your own mind. The Internet forums are full of these individuals. Boasting great things but unwilling (or unable) to show the walk to go with the talk, will attack any who ask for examples of their work.
This kind of "Legend in their own mind" mentality spills over into the work they do and clouds the result by short-circuiting a critical assessment of their own work. Their minds and egos tend to paint a glowing picture of less than stellar results, and if you don't agree that their work is the best you have ever seen and are instead critical in a constructive way you become an enemy. This is even true if you avoid remarking at all.
However this kind of thinking touches us all at one level or another, and to an extent that, even when we want to look at our work with a critical eye we cannot do so. This is where pictures become important. Photographs will show you the major flaws without prejudice or malice of forethought.
A good comparison to illustrate this phenomenon is the plight of the anorexic teen-age girl. For one reason or another some young women can look in the mirror and see a fat chubby girl and desire to diet. These women become obsessed with this mirror image and can, and have denied themselves food to the point of death.
The point of this is the fact that our own minds can be so wrapped up in the image we are trying to create that we are unable to see just how far from that image we really are. Our minds imagination become in some respects our enemy as it lies to us about the work we have done.

Author:  Dan Cormican [ Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

I kind of wish I had this problem. I have only been doing Bonsai for ~one and a half years, I think I suck at Bonsai, and, at the moment, at least, I am quite correct. However I have been a musician 20+ years. I recorded (not likely anything anyone here has ever heard), toured and at one point was in 2 well known bands in my regional scene. Frankly, I've listened to my own songs a total of 4-5 times over 20 years and can't stand to listen to most because I can only hear the flaws, mistakes, missing elements, etc. I have always been amazed at people who raved about my bands. For the life of me I still assume they suffer some form of brain damage. Hopefully, in Bonsai I can find a better balance of self criticism and pride in my work.
Walter, excellent article. I've always enjoyed your posts, photos of your trees, etc.

Author:  Attila Soos [ Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re:

Vance Wood wrote:
This kind of "Legend in their own mind" mentality spills over into the work they do and clouds the result by short-circuiting a critical assessment of their own work. Their minds and egos tend to paint a glowing picture of less than stellar results


Being confident and believing in yourself is an important ingredient in acquiring knowledge and becoming one of the best in your field. This belief is what fuels your quest, and gives you hope that soon enough you will have what it takes. So, let's not discount the importance of having a vision.
But obviously, it is not enough. Your confidence must be combined with a keen sense of critical assessment. One must have a sharp eye, the ability to see what makes one work great and the other worthless. In order to develop this ability, one must spend a great deal of time studying the existing masterpieces in every little detail.
Confidence without deep knowledge is dangerous, it leads to a delusional mindset, bad choices, being of of touch with reality (just take a glance toward Washington, DC and it's easy to see the result).

Author:  Shaukat Islam [ Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:26 am ]
Post subject: 

Attila, I agree with you on building 'confidence' and 'believing in oneself'.
Shaukat

Author:  John Dixon [ Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re:

Dan Cormican wrote:
I kind of wish I had this problem. I have only been doing Bonsai for ~one and a half years, I think I suck at Bonsai, and, at the moment, at least, I am quite correct. However I have been a musician 20+ years. I recorded (not likely anything anyone here has ever heard), toured and at one point was in 2 well known bands in my regional scene. Frankly, I've listened to my own songs a total of 4-5 times over 20 years and can't stand to listen to most because I can only hear the flaws, mistakes, missing elements, etc. I have always been amazed at people who raved about my bands. For the life of me I still assume they suffer some form of brain damage. Hopefully, in Bonsai I can find a better balance of self criticism and pride in my work.
Walter, excellent article. I've always enjoyed your posts, photos of your trees, etc.

Dan,
I'm sure that with a musician's talent, your bonsai skill will benefit from the lessons learned as you became a professional. I am almost exactly opposite of you. Nearing twenty years in bonsai, and only a novice who enjoys guitar. Friday I bought my eleven year old daughter a Fender dreadnought for her birthday. We "jammed" together and it was priceless. Terrible quality for a listener, but still priceless to me.
I'm not sure what instrument(s) you play, but just like learned skill in harmonics, pick depth, finger placement on frets, etc., applies to guitar, so does the mechanics of bonsai in the way of a learning curve.
You're here. That's a great start. A lot to help you on your way.
We all started by learning the basics. Here you will witness a higher level of bonsai.
Good luck with your bonsai endeavors,
John

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