This is not strictly bonsai, but it might help some who aspires to express nature in bonsai. Rodin was a great admirer of nature, and he strongly believed that an artist cannot improve nature, but see and discover the essence of nature. The following are quotes from him on how an artist should wiew nature.
"In fact, in art, only that which has character is beautiful. Character is the esssential truth of any natural object, whether ugly or beautiful; it is even what one might call a double truth, for it is the inner truth translated by the outer truth; it is the soul, the feelings, the ideas, expressed by the features of a face, by the gestures and actions of a human being.."
"Now, to the great artist, everything in nature has character; for the unswerving directness of his observation searches out the hidden meaning of all things. And that which is considered ugly in nature often presents more character than that which is termed beautiful, because ... in all deformity, in all decay, the inner truth shines forth more clearly than in features that are regular and healthy."
"And as it is solely the power of character which makes for beauty in art, it often happens that the uglier a being in nature, the more beautiful it becomes in art."
"There is nothing ugly in art, except that which is without character, that is to say, that which offers no outer or inner truth."
"Whatever is false, whatever is artificial, whatever seeks to be pretty rather than expressive, whatever is capricious and affected, whatever smiles without motive, bends or struts without cause, is mannered without reason; all that is without soul and without truth; all that is only a parade of beauty and grace; all in short that lies, is ugliness in art."
"When an artist, intending to improve upon nature, adds green to the springtime, rose to the sunrise, carmine to young lips, he creates ugliness because he lies."
"When he softens the grimace of a pain, the shapelessness of age, the hideousness of perversion, when he arranges nature - veiling, disguising, tempering it to please the ignorant public - then he is creating ugliness because he fears the truth."
"He is even confidant of nature. The trees, the plants talk to him like friends. The old gnarled oaks speak to him of their kindliness for the human race whom they protect beneath their sheltering branches. The flowers commune with him by the gracious swaying of their stalks, by the singing tones of their petals - each blossom amidst the grass is a friendly word addressed to him by nature. "
"For him, life is an endless joy, a perpetual delight, a mad intoxication. Not that all seems good to him, for suffering, which must often come to those he loves and to himself, cruelly contradicts his optimism. But all is beautiful to him because he walks forever in the light of spiritual truth."
"Yes, the great artist, and by this I mean the poet as well as the painter and the sculptor, finds even in suffering, in the death of loved ones, in the treachery of friends, something which fills him with a voluptuous though tragic admiration."
"His extasy is terrifying at times, but it is still happiness, because it is the continual adoration of truth."
These are the words of the great Rodin, as described in the book "Rodin on art" by Paul Gsell.
I hope you find these words inspiring.
Last edited by Attila Soos on Sat Mar 04, 2006 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.