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 Post subject: Artistic Composition & Asymmetrical Nebari
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:51 pm 
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This thread is for discussing the article by Carl Bergstrom: Artistic Composition and the Position of an Asymmetrical Nebari
http://www.artofbonsai.org/feature_articles/asymmetricalnebari.php


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:52 pm 
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But of course the roots of any real tree act in both capacities. On the side away from the lean, they grip the soil and provide stability through tension; below the lean, the roots serve as a rigid base to support the trunk and canopy. Which, then, should the artist choose?


Interesting article Carl and I agree with the above statement. However, bonsai being a visual art, the overall effect and visual flow of the tree must be taken into consideration when deciding such matters.

Let's take a cascade for example, of course there are roots around all sides of the trunk, but due to the extreme tilt of the tree only the roots on the opposite side of the lean can be seen grasping desperately at the ground. The roots on a cascade tell part of the story, without them the tree would indeed appear off balance.

At what point between the cascade and the slanting style is it okay for the roots to flip back around to the lean side. At what point would it be visually acceptable?

The tree above bothers my eyes as they traverse down the trunk and then abruptly change direction and to my eyes, an unnatural one. The roots on the opposite of the lean seem to be missing; there is emptiness, a void, a space that cries to be filled there. Although I think a strategically placed rock on that side would solve the problem, roots would solve it better.
Some may argue that you must work with what the material offers and I agree to a point, however, we also must correct what faults that we can. Most root faults can be corrected with time and should be instead of defending them.

Will Heath


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 12:25 pm 
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Will Heath wrote:
Most root faults can be corrected with time and should be instead of defending them.


I agree with the above advice. If you feel like you have to defend it, that's already a red flag telling us that something is not right.

Not much to argue with Carl's take on this topic. As to the bonsai featured in the article, I am not too thrilled about it's roots. I don't have a problem with the long roots on the leaning side, but I feel that the complete lack of roots on the opposite side is a serious defficiency.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 12:23 am 
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I would just as soon have no visible root in this case. I am sure the tree could do without it or them. Definitely the looping root coming off the trunk at some height above the soil level should be removed.

And while the following diverges from the subject:
The centre of the tree should either be planted above the space in the bottom of the pot, or the pot should be rotated sufficiently to the left for the centre of the tree to be planted in the centre between two spaces.

And the thickness of the wooden slab and the height of the pot are too similar. Ideally, the slab would be only about a third the thickness it is.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:53 am 
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Reiner Goebel wrote:
I would just as soon have no visible root in this case. I am sure the tree could do without it or them. Definitely the looping root coming off the trunk at some height above the soil level should be removed.

Yes - in this particular case, I don't see how the root does much to help the composition. And once those high roots are removed, the tree could be potted at a more reasonable height. It's potted too high at present.
Quote:
The centre of the tree should either be planted above the space in the bottom of the pot, or the pot should be rotated sufficiently to the left for the centre of the tree to be planted in the centre between two spaces.
And the thickness of the wooden slab and the height of the pot are too similar. Ideally, the slab would be only about a third the thickness it is.

Two good points. I didn't pick up on either of these - thanks for mentioning both.
Best regards,
Carl


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:11 am 
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For me a bonsai does not just resemble a tree in nature (hear, hear!!), it is intuitively seen by the human viewer as a sculpture with human bodylanguage.

The roots are the feet. A slanting tree stands on the feet and the feet will always have to point in the direction of the slant. Since a cascading tree is just an exeggeration of a slanting tree the same applies here.

For me the roots on salnting forms are ALWAYS onesided and mainly on the direction of the slant or cascade. I see material that does not allow me this as inferior for my own use.

I did this intuitively for 15 years and only then discovered that there is the exact opposite notion in the Englisch speaking literature. I read about this often and see trees according to this but I am not at all convinced. I will continue to practice and teach that the roots, if possible should optically support the tree as the feet support a leaning person to avoid falling over.
Walter


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 7:44 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 10:49 am 
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In response to Walter Pall's comments, I generally agree.

However, many cascading trees that I have observed in nature have roots that are most prominent on the side leaning away from the slant. These roots are prominently seen because they grip the side of a cliff and have been exposed by erosion or because they seem to have been pulled out of the soil as the tree cascades under the weight of snow, for example.

Such an arrangement of roots can tell a story that is not inconsistent with the direction of the slant of the tree. Therefore, I think that the root arrangement Walter describes is generally preferable but not exclusively so.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:14 am 
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After having reread my post I have to slightly change it:

For me every one-sided tree should have one-sided roots. This means ideally roots all around but clearly longer and stronger roots to one side.

The side for the longer roots should be the direction of the slant in slanting trees and most half cascades and cascades. Half cascades and especially cascades can also have the stronger roots opposite to the direction of the cascade. This would then dramatize the tree and probabyl would mean to have a rather dramatic crown design.

For all those who don't know me so well: whatever I say, the opposite is often also true. Smiley!!
Walter


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 9:08 pm 
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In the case of the tree in question, I would like to see roots on both sides of the tree and radiating back also but as we all know every plant that is transformed into a bonsai has it's own constraints.

I think that trees such as this one where the tachiagari, or lower part of the trunk, is straight as it rises from the ground and then makes an abrupt curve to one side look better with a radiating nebari. I'd even go as far as to say the tree in question isn't a true slanting style but a hybrid style, a cross between an informal upright and a slanting style.
It's very common.

In a slanting style tree where the trunk comes out of the ground at a slant, I find that the most pleasing nebari is one that has heavier roots on the side of the slant but still has visible nebari on the other sides of the trunk. That's my 2?.

As Walter said, the opposite may be true also. <grin>
I had to at least get a post in on this forum. Being a man of few words, that isn't easy. <wink>


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:36 am 
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It's an interesting debate between physical and visual balance!
Physically, the roots must be at the other side of the slant or cascade, to literally prevent the tree from falling down, but visually one can say that we've got a turning wheel than, with the turning axis somewhere around the middle of the whole tree. In that case, Walters 'feet' prefent it from turning around (and falling down).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:32 am 
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Perhaps some exposure of roots to the left (short side) of this tree would assist the composition. I've long understood the roots on a slanting or cascade tree should bunch up, as "knees", on the long side of the tree (direction of lean) as though they are under compression. As Walter Pall suggests, they should appear to be holding the tree against gravity.

Roots on the other side should be stretched taut, like cables restraining the tree from falling, if they are visible at all. Any visible roots should be short, straight and angled downwards into the soil, on that side.

The tree appears to be quite small. It occurs to me that it also may be the material is still in training and has been dressed to show a little too early in its development. There's not much information to be had from the photo shown. Discussion without enough information often leads to conjecture and supposition.


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