Because of my lower back troubles, the wiring of this tree was stretched out over much of last week. I had to do most of the work sitting down, simply because I can’t stand upright for very long at one time and I just hate to work like that, it is so clumsy! But yesterday I finally could start repositioning the branches and it took me 4 hours to do. I had to rethink the way I styled the tree in the first place all those years ago, not so much the feel or image of the tree, but the way the small branches had to be placed. Japanese With Pines hardly bud back on old wood in my climate and so most of the smaller branches had grown out a bit too long to style the tree as compact as I prefer to do in my styling. I could have made the image of the foliage pads more dense, bud that would have meant that I have to curl and twirl the branches to bring them closer in, and that is something I will always try to avoid in my designs. I planted this (then 5 trunks) Pine on this piece of petrified wood to create a coastal rock image, somewhat in the middle of a more classical Japanese style and the once I used to see and play on as a child on the French Riviera during our vacation there. The outcome of that demonstration, back then, was pretty compact because the foliage pads could be build up in the traditional way, making the tree look full, in the more traditional way. But now, with the usable foliage growing much further away from the main branches, I had to rethink my design and try to get a more or less same feeling, but build in a different way. This time around the tree would look much more open, more like the battered Pines that I have seen growing along the coasts and the beaches in southern Europe, showing more open space between the small branches that now play an intricate part of the design, instead of covering them up with dense foliage layers. This way of placing the thin long branches reminds me of some of the techniques that the Japanese artists use to style literati Japanese White and especially Red Pines, were the open light branch structure becomes the main focal point of the image of the tree.
Below: Front before styling.
Below: Left side before styling.
Below: Detail of the backside before styling. You can see the mesh that holds all the ground into place because all the Kato (river muck) has fallen off from this side, this Kato will be replaced later and will then be covered with moss.
Below: Backside before styling.
Below: Wiring, sitting down like this, takes forever.
Below: The cascading front branch wired.
Below: Too long branches were removed as well.
Below: Useless long branches with hardly any foliage on them were removed.
Below: Here the basic shape is brought in to that same centre front cascading branch.
Below: And some more shape.
Below: And the other branches are being slowly brought into their desired position.
Below: Close up of the two branches that rest on the ground, like the one I remember did, on those coastal Pines from my childhood. A piece of wood is just to raise the one in the back to create depth.
Below: Left side after styling. And the same goes for this view of the tree.
Below: Right side after styling. In this view of the tree, you can appreciate the dept/distance between the front branch and the back branch.
The picture above: So this is how the tree looks after this long restyling. But sadly, because of the poor lighting conditions when this picture was made, it appears to have not much depth to it from this front side! It looks Rather flat and without much separation between the different layers of foliage. As soon as the rest of the work is don and the lightning is better, I will make some new once to show the end result a bit better! Now the (bottom) sides, were the ground has fallen off, needs to be re-plastered with fresh Cato (Japanese clay) and powdered Akadama mixed in water. After this messy job is don, It will be covered, like the rest of the ground surface, with all kinds of mosses. But that is a nice job for later this winter! first, as long as the weather permits it to work outside for a long period of time, I will wire another tree that needs to be restyled.
Hope you like it so far?
Hans van Meer.