Charles Bevan wrote:
Although the idea of instant bonsai for contests may be a dangerous concept for beginners, it can be a valuable learning tool for those with more experience. The art of instant bonsai requires a fair understanding of the art of bonsai. Many times when styling "instant bonsai" for contests, the contestant must make decisions that deliberately break the rules of bonsai. However to pull it off succesfully, they must understand the rules that are broken and how they are broken. If you take a look at my second place tree, it shows many examples of this:
So, as can be seen, instant bonsai requires innovative thinking, knowledge of the rules, and understanding of when and how to break them. Therefore, I do believe that instant bonsai is a valuable resource for more experienced bonsaiists.
Are you saying it's important to know what DOESN'T work to excel at anything? If so, I concur.
But, " instant bonsai is a valuable resource for more experienced bonsaiists?"
How so? What attribute you just mentioned is solely learned by making instant bonsai? Seems to me they are all integral with any serious effort made with bonsai material, be it new, old, established, or growing stock.
While I do see how some may learn a viable technique or skill, like a certain branch can't be bent that way or it will eventually die, how many times must one learn that lesson? If it takes TIME and several positionings before it is in the optimum placement, how can we "learn" form doing it all at once, repeatedly at that? Maybe the silhouette of an instant bonsai is very pleasing at first, but if half the branches die in six months, I fail to see a useful technique that was learned there, beginner or expert. Yes, I would see that it could conclusively prove a person has an artistic "eye" for what a piece of material can hold, but here I akin instant bonsai to ice sculpting in the Mojave desert. You may make a great piece, but it will be gone very soon.
Ironically, my part of this article is a great way to explain my mindset about these types of subjects. When I first provided a draft of this article, I noticed several mistakes (spelling and grammatical) and several unintentional exclusions. I changed those, and made it an article I was satisifed told my side of the debate in MY style of writing. Since then, it has been edited and several changes are different, more acceptable, words and phrases that say the same thing. At the same time, more spelling errors are now present that I did not make.
My point is, we rarely accept a first draft of anything. We (almost always)can find ways to improve upon it. Sometimes, our best intentions actually take away from the value rather than add to it. It's a matter of tweaking. Finding something just a little more than we originally saw when we first started. Sometimes we fail, other times we succeed. But only rarely do we create perfection in the first attempt.
In conclusion, I feel we must always use techniques with our bonsai that we will be glad we made MANY YEARS from the time we do them. They add to the bonsai's future, not just the present. Then, and only then, are we really paying homage to those who first started this art. I feel very strongly about that. I still believe that instant bonsai has nothing in common with that pursuit.