Critique: The Dancing Crane
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Author:  Attila Soos [ Sat Apr 30, 2005 4:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Critique: The Dancing Crane

This thread is for discussion of Attila Soos' critique of "The Dancing Crane."

Author:  Charles Bevan [ Sat Apr 30, 2005 6:26 pm ]
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Excellent critique Attila. I enjoy the overall look of this tree, but I believe that the visual flow is interrupted by the down-hanging foliage. The artist's proposed planting angle and branch placement solves this problem.

Author:  Richard W. Crabtree III [ Sun May 01, 2005 12:09 pm ]
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I agree with the above, also with the artists sketch. In a bonsai sense of trees, I have no right to negatively critique someones tree, but in an artistic sense of seeing lines and such, that foliage inhibits the graceful line, I see a more horizontal, maybe flatter group of foliage.

Does anyone else find the pot disrupting as well? I'll have to study the photo more to discern why I don't like it so much.

Author:  Charles Bevan [ Sun May 01, 2005 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re:

Richard W. Crabtree III wrote:
Does anyone else find the pot disrupting as well? I'll have to study the photo more to discern why I don't like it so much.

In my opinion, the pot is too small to visually support the wieght of the tree. This may be why you are finding it disrupting.

Author:  Attila Soos [ Sun May 01, 2005 7:57 pm ]
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Charles may be right about a slightly larger pot.
Being a literati bonsai, a small round drum pot is pretty much the standard with this style.

This tree however has a thicker trunk than most of the trees in this style, thus a larger pot would probably be of benefit.

Other than the size, I think it's a perfect pot for the tree. The fact that it's a formal pot, it goes very well with the elegant trunk line. The rustic-type round pots would go better with the rugged, weather beaten pine literati trees.

Author:  Mark Arpag [ Sun May 01, 2005 10:34 pm ]
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The visual weight of the apex hanging from the the thin branch is as disturbing to my eye as the angle of the foliage. The trunk is very interesting, I can see no reason to display this tree with an over grown and unrefined apex.
Mark Arpag

Author:  William N. Valavanis [ Sun May 01, 2005 11:00 pm ]
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This is an interesting bonsai. I think the foliage mass is much too heavy for my taste. However the foliage in the anticipated drawing is much better. The trunk line is very elegant and pleasing.

The major aspect of this bonsai which bothers me is the container. I feel it is much too heavy for the elegant feeling the bonsai presents.

The round shape is fine and very suitable for this bonsai, but the sides present a heavy formal feeling. And, the nailhead round designs on the container are distracting. Generally small, equal sided containers are selected to emphasize the height and trunk of a bonsai.

I do not agree that because drum pots are the "normal" for literati style bonsai it is at all suitable. It does not make sense to me to plant a bonsai in a container just because it has been done in the past. The individual beauty of each bonsai must be carefully considered.

I would suggest a medium-depth round container with slanted sides and fancy feet for this bonsai.

It has an interesting future and one which I would like to watch.

Author:  Attila Soos [ Mon May 02, 2005 11:08 am ]
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If I had to name one benefit of virtual bonsai, that would be the illustration of different pot choices.

I think Mike Hagedorn mentioned in his journal from Japan one instance when the master Yasuo Mitsuya and his apprentices went through a great deal of trouble repotting a large tree into a new pot just to realize after many hours of labor that the pot choice did not work.

With large trees like this one, finding the perfect fit is not an easy task.
It is interesting to hear all the often diverging opinions about this tree and the choice of pot. Usually I trust my original feeling about a tree and pot choice. And it's hard to change that first impression.

But in this case, as I read through the conflicting recommendations, I am realizing that my opinion has changed (learning?). I like William's idea of a simple round pot with slanting sides.

Author:  Andrew Loosli [ Tue May 03, 2005 7:56 am ]
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The tree itself is wonderful. It shows that 'struggle with nature' can lead to elegance instead of a war-veteran-like appearance. Size and angle of the foliage have been mentioned. Turning the triangle clockwise to the left would probably give more balance, turning it counterclockwise (a little bit only) to the right could also help (parallell trunk lines). Now it is in an 'uncertain inbetween'.

My first impression of the pot was, that it is extremely 'manmade'. The geometric pattern does not help in any way. I fancy something simple, a base with almost no expression of it's own. Too, the colour here seems 'to new'. It does correspond with parts of the tree, but now a colour is being underlined that is just an aspect of the tree's appearance. As if you would frame Monet's poppyfield with bright red this pot wants to help but distracts instead.

(This all may sound very negative. Writing down the positive aspects, I would overload?)

Author:  William N. Valavanis [ Tue May 03, 2005 8:44 am ]
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I found a few moments to make a virtual of how a bonsai like this juniper could be artistically improved.

Note the change in trunk angle and the new container. I also refined the folige a bit too.


Author:  Attila Soos [ Tue May 03, 2005 12:46 pm ]
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A very elegant pot for a tree with similar character.
Thank you Bill for the picture. I definitely think that it improved the original look a great deal.

Author:  Chris Johnston [ Tue May 03, 2005 7:27 pm ]
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I find both pots just a little too much. While the tree is graceful and the shari delicately refined, would an elegan nanban pot be inappropriate here? With the new planting angle and properly arranged foliage, I would like to see one aspect of this tree that is not "perfect."

Author:  Mark Arpag [ Wed May 04, 2005 6:58 am ]
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Vast improvement. The tree has better flow and over all looks more comfortable. I would make two more changes. The color of the pot is too red for this tree. The pot is very nice, but would not draw as much attention if it were dark brown. The low jin almost completes a triangle with the foliage. If it were shortened it would be more of a hint than the full picture and leave more room for the eye to wander and discover. It is amazing what careful fine tuning will do for a tree.
Mark Arpag

Author:  Attila Soos [ Wed May 04, 2005 11:30 am ]
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Just for comparison purposes, here is the tree as collected material five years ago.
As you can see, bringing the foliage to the delicate and refined shape needed to complement the elegant trunk is no small task. The starting point was very sparse, almost non-existent. But under "domesticated" conditions and a good feeding regime, the California juniper becomes a strong and prolific grower.

Author:  Michael Persiano [ Fri Nov 04, 2005 11:15 am ]
Post subject:  Dancing Crane

Nature's handwork has clearly carved the "crane" into the composition. If the artist created this sculpture, please forgive this assumption on my part.
The canopy, in my opinion, requires definition. The creation of shelves, to differentiate one branch from another. Once the energy is manipulated to balance the growth, it will truly be a unique tree.
This URL leads to a Shimpaku that I styled. It illustrates what can be done with canopy development.

Good luck with the work ahead.
Michael Persiano[/img]

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