The discussion on this years contest has amazed me.
First we heard some comments on the fact that three different judges, from three different countries and cultures gave sometimes widely differing scores on the same entries. This amazed me because I personally would have been more concerned if the scores did not differ.
Just as you and I would judge a tree differently, based on our own mindsets, experience, and expectations, our judges based did the same. To expect artists with the great experience our judges have to see each entry the same, is expecting too much. The only instance where this would happen would be on bonsai so great that they have a universal appeal and these trees usually win the awards.
Most readers would agree with these selections, although in some cases, such as the recent national Exhibit, it seems the judges are the only ones in agreement. Never-the-less, it was their responsibility to make such decisions and we must live with them.
As to your comment here, you certainly must realize that not everyone will like your bonsai, be they inexperienced or world-class masters such as Marco. He graciously agreed to lend his vast experience to AoB and judge over 200 entries in the Awards, in exchange, we accept his decisions regardless as to if we agree or not.
We use only the most experienced and respected artists in the world to judge our contest here at AoB, we do not have popular voting, and our contests are blind. All to prevent bias and other unethical practices common in some other on-line contests. There is no doubt that AoB (and KoB) has created and presented the best on-line bonsai contests on the web.
So you had a judge tell you your entry was not a bonsai, so what?
Is he right? In his professional opinion, he is, and we must thank him for giving his opinion, regardless of if we agree or not, after all, we asked him to do so. We all knew the judges before we entered and we all knew our entries would be commented on.
Just to let you know, Marco also said two of my companion planting entries were not Kusamono. I could argue the fact, I could say that he is right and it is a good thing that they were in a companion planting category instead of a Kusamono category, but what would the point be? Would it change his mind? Would it change my scores? Would complaining accomplish anything?
No. Instead, I'd like to thank Marco for his opinion and for taking the time to jusdge this contest, your effort is appreciated.
I'll be back next year, maybe with the same companion plantings, maybe not, but I'll be back. If I quite every time someone had something negative to say, I'd had quit thousands of times. Imagine if Mike Page quit in the past when his efforts were often criticized, he never would have won an award at the First National Exhibit and turned the bonsai community upside down by doing so. ;)