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 Post subject: Gallery: Walter Pall
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 4:21 am 
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This thread is for discussion of the Walter Pall gallery: http://www.artofbonsai.org/galleries/pall.php


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 11:48 am 
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Since these pictures were on ,i frequently visited the gallery. Like me more than 225 visitors watched the topic for over 30 days - and still no comments what so ever. The other trees received many comments on the same or next day, why so unusual silence on this gallery now! These widely acclaimed trees deserve some response atleast. The trees are amazing so is the lack of response ...


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 Post subject: Walter Pall gallery
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:22 pm 
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Let see if this starts something..
Okay - It's very easy to compliment the great trees here - several were at Gingko and are just that much more impressive in person.

I'll go out on a limb and start something off in a vein that doesn't happen too often out here. I'll point out my least favourite of these trees, with a couple reasons why. Sure, someone will tell me "I'd like to see you do better" - but that doesn't have a place here ? it's not the point. Walter doesn't need to defend his works. Wonderful images Walter.

Least Favorites:
Image 4 - Hibiscus - I don't know if hibiscus is hard to grow as bonsai - if so then maybe there is a reason for it's inclusion, but it doesn't seem to convey to me anything that bonsai usually does - sure the flowers are lovely, but they would be so on a houseplant.

Image 5 - Carpinus - I think I would quite like this tree except that many of the branches are too thick for too much of their length - it unbalances the tree in a way that I am having difficulty describing - it is an imbalance in the sense of scale being conveyed. The form and arrangement is great - it's just this one characteristic which distracts me.

Image 22 - Larix - this image isn't complete - either there's too much or too little; I'll need to play with the image to decide this for myself. Photographs of larch also suffer from the effects of timing - the point at which a great photo of larch can be taken (in my opinion) is when the brushes are just about a week past opening - this one is just a little past it's best show. The rugged bark texture over the complete tree is great. The branch placement seems just a little too balanced for both a bunjin and a Walter Pall tree. The image would also be more harmonious if the tree were planted more to the left of the pot, and I'm sure in Walter's pot warehouse there is something which would better suit this tree.

So go ahead beat up my critiques. They're worth the price you paid for 'em.
mikemc


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 3:36 am 
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mike mccallion wrote:
Image 22 - Larix - this image isn't complete - either there's too much or too little; I'll need to play with the image to decide this for myself. Photographs of larch also suffer from the effects of timing - the point at which a great photo of larch can be taken (in my opinion) is when the brushes are just about a week past opening - this one is just a little past it's best show. The rugged bark texture over the complete tree is great. The branch placement seems just a little too balanced for both a bunjin and a Walter Pall tree. The image would also be more harmonious if the tree were planted more to the left of the pot, and I'm sure in Walter's pot warehouse there is something which would better suit this tree.


Despite of the 2e branch which is positioned somewhere between right and behind the trunk, and the 3e front branch the most important thing I miss here is depth. The image looks flat. But this may be just an optical illusion due to the photograph. I agree that the style is somewhere between a dynamic literati and something else, so it is a 'make up your mind' tree. The trunk movement is not very impressive like good literati's normally are. The branch position is traditional according to the book (1-2-3 principal) and the all horizontal branches make the tree looks stable. The question is whether stability the good character we are looking for in this tree.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 4:57 am 
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Location: Basel, Switzerland
Soumya
Sure I have seen Walters gallery. I knew most of these trees in reality, have seen them in early spring and in late summer as well. I know Walter and I have heard many clear statements he made as well as fine remarks.
I know Bavaria where Walter lives, the low lands as well as the alps. I live in a very similar landscape.

Now you say there are no comments. Well, it is really difficult to write down the emotions I have, when I see a concentrate of all the impressions from real trees that surround me since I was a child. Why should I then count branches and compare this or that detail to theoretical excerpts from literature?

One says, he does not like the flowers on the hibiscus. Please have a look at them again, but in a context with all trees. Don't you see then this same warm feeling for sudden beauty these flowers have in common with the appletree? That is the kind, friendly side of Walter's naturalism (it would ? if at all ? be mainly that word we could or should discuss, not single branches, I think).

There is the rough side, too: Rainer the bear or this hungry larch, Ron dislikes. I know both sides as true and always present in our landscape here. We have splendid blossom and heavy rain, fine green and scattered dead wood. Not in literature, in reality. Therefore I do like the gallery. I do like it so much even that I don't want to discuss it piece for piece.

I think, Walter did (and does) the very best, one can do: Instead of copying guidelines, he went right back to the very roots of the idea of bonsai and now works out this very idea in relation to the world he lives in. He does not make trees that look like bonsai, but bonsai that look like trees, as Naka once suggested. You see, Ron, sure these trees do not speak Japanese. But believe me, no tree in Bavaria does.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 1:31 pm 
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Hi Guys,
I've attempted to write down some of my thoughts about Walter's gallery several times, but as soon as I finished the first few sentences, I changed my mind and backed off. Somehow I've felt that the words sounded too hollow, when trying to deconstruct these trees.

It's nothing wrong with a silent gallery. People walk around, contemplate about what they see, and then leave. I don't really feel the need to hear someone's comments in the background.

That doesn't mean that we should not raise questions and make comments here, but I can take it or leave it. As I said, I've tried to do it, but then felt more appropriate to remain silent.

Here is my interpretation of the hibiscus:
The hibiscus wasn't meant to be seen as a "bonsai". It is a hibiscus that doesn't "care" how a bonsai looks like. Just enjoy what you see.

I agree that the hornbeam doesnt' have very well tapered branches, but it's not a disctracting feature for me. I do think, however, that I would rebuild some of them from half way.

As for the larch, I disagree that is too balanced. I suppose Mike was referring to "static balance", meaning that it is too static. And he would have liked to see a more dynamic tree.

- Just for the record, there is no such thing as "too balanced" tree, or too balanced anything. Something is either balanced or not balanced. However, the balance can be too kind: static or dynamic. So, when someone says that someting is too balanced, hopefully it's meant to say "too static". -

So, back to the larch, I don't think that it can be pointed out as a fault when the artist wants to create static balance. If that's what Walter meant to create, so be it. Whether or not I prefer a more dynamic tree, is a different matter, but that's like saying that I want a different tree alltogether. When I am critiqueing a tree, I can't say that I would like to see another tree.

And I would have planted the tree slightly to the left, but not exactly on the center either. But that also depends on the root structure, one never knows how a yamadori looks like below the soil.

Good points, nevertheless Mike, keep them coming.

What about you, Soumya. It's always a pleasure to hear your impressions on bonsai. Hope to hear from you soon,
Best regards,
Attila


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:47 pm 
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You're right - balance isn't the right word and may have been too imprecise a description in this context. I wasn't actually thinking about static or dynamic - what I perceive here is that the branches are too evenly spaced for my expectation of a bunjin, even more for my expectation of a W.Pall tree. The same is also true for the weight of the foliar pads - the increase in pad weight from bottom to top seems too textbook.


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 Post subject: Walters gallery
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:15 am 
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I have seen many of Walter's fine bonsai at the Internet Bonsai Club galleries, where Walter very often posts and at Walters own website.
Among Walter's trees there are many I like very much, and some that don't fit to my taste. This might have to do with the fact that we have different influences from nature surrounding us, and a just different taste in bonsai images.
Walter never sits between two chairs and misses a full expression that makes the bonsai look dull. That's a great advantage that sometimes also leads to less good bonsai ' but Walter dares and that's good, and he knows when it goes wrong. Sometimes it's overdone for my taste (regarding my personal flavour for bonsai), and the so-called naturalistic style gets more artificial than natural in my opinion. Well, that's my personal taste, and its far better to have these experimenting and personal bonsai styles than equality and boring mainstream bonsai all over. It is almost impossible to judge the quality of artistry because it is so committed to the personal expression, and hasn't much to do with techniques.
When it comes to techniques it is another case. So here goes my personal taste, and not much about the technical matters.

Let's go to comments at the gallery
My top three favourites.

Image
Number one: Juniperus sabina, Sabina juniper, 75 cm high.
A fantastic and elegant bonsai. Very feminine. The overall harmony is so elegant and light. I get a feeling of a very quiet place on a low hillside, with the cold air from the mountains that gently sweeps down the valley. I would love to sit underneath and counting sheep's, or having a beer.

Image
Favourite number two: Acer palmatum, Japanese maple, 85 cm high.This tree is very typical as a solitaire around here in Denmark. The colours of the leaves and the pot blend very well. A steady tree as I remember from my childhood. That's why I like it and then some.

Image
The third favourite: Pinus mugo, Pine, 50 cm high. Trees like this are to be seen in Norway and at the west coast of Denmark too occasionally. A dramatic and yet calm tree, haunted by winds and snow. It tells a clear history of its life, and I like that in bonsai. Good companionship with the pot, and it dares to challenge the ballance.

Dislikes comes here:
Image
The Hibiscus rosa sinensis, Hibiscus, 40 cm high. The proportions gone mad here (sorry) and I can't find the tree. The flowers are too big, and the trunk looks poor to me. No appeal here.

Image
Fagus sylvatica, European beech, 50 cm high. I find the trunk and nebari giving an unnatural appearance, regarding as image of a tree. It just doesn't work for me, and the pot is a little too heavy and big. It might work when the leaves are on.

Personal taste
In general I like Walters's trees very much, and who am I judging his trees' I haven't done bonsai far as long time as Walter, but I do have my flavour and favourites of styles, as well as I have the deepest respect for the design and skills performed by Walter.

I sad in a hut two years ago with good friends on a Yamadori hunting, and in the afternoon we had some wine and looked in bonsai magazines before we tipped and felt a sleep exhausted by the tours in the mountains (not the wine -:)
A typical reaction on the photos in the books was that one jumped in the seat and shouted 'look at this masterpiece', whilst another one leaned back and said 'what' That piece of crap''

This just to underline the big differences in taste regarding bonsai, and how much is related to the person that watches the bonsai.
Kind regards to Walter for showing these fine bonsai.
Regards
Morten Albek


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:28 pm 
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Actually what I would like to see is Walter's analysis of his own trees and his way of thinking as he designs these master pieces. I have read in some sources where he says he does not follow the so called Japanese Model, but there are two things I do notice about his work. I believe they could hold up at any of the major Japanese shows.
There are some features found in the Japanese model present in his work as well. I am very curious as to how Walter organizes his thoughts on a piece. I hope this does not sound like a challenge, to Walter's vision, believe me it is not, I would like to be able to understand from his point of view how and why he does the things he does.
In short I don't want to critique his work I want to duplicate it. In order to do that I believe one must have some sort of understanding of how tree A became tree B and what happened in between. He has mentioned a tree touching his spirit. His trees touch mine, I wish mine did.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:34 pm 
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Vance,
This is a very good idea, worthy of discussion. If Walter has the time, a piece describing and chronicling the artistic process of creation of one or more of his trees would make an excellent educational article for the forum.
On a side note, it is very nice seeing you here Vance.

Will


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:51 pm 
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I'm glad to be here, I got tired of watching paint dry and bread mold, the task of the day at another place.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:04 am 
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
Quote:
I'm glad to be here, I got tired of watching... bread mold

Will is the amateur mycologist. On that subject, I notice that very few trees I see in galleries have any lichen on them. I find this unusual, as it is often left on trees here in Australia, even in shows, as removing it usually damages the bark to which it adheres.
Perhaps we suffer higher levels of humidity than other areas, but I can't imagine our humidity levels are any higher than those in Florida.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 11:56 am 
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' If Walter has the time, a piece describing and chronicling the artistic process of creation of one or more of his trees would make an excellent educational article for the forum.'

Vance and Will,
what you are asking for is what I do in many of my articles, showing the development from raw material to finished bonsai and describing my thought process at every point. But this here is a gallery. It is about showing what is or is close to the desired end result.

I think this has to stand on it's own now. My desire was to make these trees speak - speak for themselves. It is up to the viewer to listen; listen to the trees and not too me. A tree that really needs my explanations now has failed. Now is the time of the viewer and the critics. I have to shut up at this moment. And I will.
Walter


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 2:05 am 
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"But this here is a gallery. It is about showing what is or is close to the desired end result."
Walter,
You are indeed correct, this is not the place for discussing styling choices, but instead to critique or comment on the view presented.

Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:58 am 
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The literati-style Sabina Juniper, with the bowed head, is a truly beautiful tree. It takes an inventive mind to leave the extensive jins on the tree, while it's being styled. That Walter has done so, and is in a position to show it to the rest of the world, is to the benefit of us all.


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