Hi, everybody,

a few nights ago,  in the middle of the night, after a long study of how this old mountain Pine looks at this moment in time, I decided it was time to style the large Jin on “WOLFIE”. This small tree is already so far in its progress towards its planned design, that I can now see what to aim for when I start to work on its deadwood.  I prefer to leave important deadwood decisions alone until I know how my planed Bonsai design looks in real life, instead of as only just a picture in my mind.  This delicate work is too important for the success of this future Bonsai. So I choose only to start sculpting the deadwood, when I cant see the total, near finished,  picture of the Bonsai! And in this case, I had seen the light! 🙂 So next morning, I was waking up the neighbours with the sweet sound of my dremmel! I love the smell of warm deadwood in the morning! 🙂


“WOLFIE” just before the work on the large Jin on the left begone.

I had placed a piece of wood under the pot to tilt the tree backwards. This opened up the view inside the tree more and improved the movement a lot! From this picture, it is obvious that the Jin is too long, thick and wrongly shaped. But worst of all, it pulls the tree downwards to the left and that needs to be solved and improved! The root base is rather special, consisting of a deadwood part (left side) a Shari on the front (centre) that ends into a  root and a strong root on the right side and a stone that is peaking around the right side of the trunk. But because of all these fixed roots, there was not much room left for changing the planting angle to improve the lines of the trunk! This was always a limitation in designing this tree, but also a great challenge! Because when you successfully overcome or incorporate problems into your design, the future Bonsai will become way more interesting and even more beautiful to look at!

06-06-2009-woolfie-008-hans-van-meer1  This would be the ideal new line that separate the live and dead part of the tree. This wil bring more movement and taper in this strait section of the trunk.

Left: First, the tree is extra secured to the pot with a copper wire. To avoid any movement that might damage the roots, while working on the deadwood.

Right: This red line shows the ideal new line where the live bark will meat the deadwood in the future. This will bring more movement and taper to this straight section of the trunk.

06-06-2009-woolfie-010-hans-van-meer 06-06-2009-woolfie-016-hans-van-meer

Top: Red arrows, the bark is already removed,  this gives me a better idea of how to shape the Jin.

Bottom: I used a knob cutter to shorten the Jin. A saw or power tool could shake the tree too much in its pot! Besides that, I love to do these tasks slowly. They are over before you know it and you can only do them ones, so you better enjoy the moment! 🙂

06-06-2009-woolfie-017-hans-van-meer  06-06-2009-woolfie-023-hans-van-meer

Left: The deadwood is already reduced to the point where I can start shaping it into its new form.

Right: Red arrow shows the old direction and the White arrow shows the new direction of this Jin.

06-06-2009-woolfie-044-hans-van-meer  06-06-2009-woolfie-045-hans-van-meer

Left: Backside of the Jin.

Right: The red arrows show, that even in the creation of this Jin, I tried to create a difference in dept! Preventing this Jin to become too flat and boring.

06-06-2009-woolfie-049-hans-van-meer      06-06-2009-woolfie-056-hans-van-meer

Left: The rough version of this Jin is finished. The detail work I will do later when I am more used to the present image of the whole tree!

Right: The red arrow shows the old downward direction of this Jin. This was pooling the eyes downward, away from the tree. Making the tree unbalanced and the middle trunk section too long and straight. The white arrow shows the new upward direction, pooling the eyes back into the composition of the tree. Now the tree is more balanced and compact!


Red arrows: Pieces of wood were used to lift the old branches, with Shari, into there position.

White arrows: Some were in the history of this tree, the trunk was forced to grow to the opposite direction and years later it happened again, further up the trunk! Leaving those almost straight folding scares, that seems to be made by Mother nature with the help of a ruler. 


This close up nicely shows the movement of the lower trunk. This movement, in real life, softens the straight line of the second part of the trunk. This is hard to see in most photos taken from the front side. Check out the 2 little stones in bedded into the left side of the trunk! They must have grown into the trunk, many, many years ago. I love those details of age in my Yamadori!


Right side view of the tree. Here again, you can see the movement of the lower part of this tree. The stone between the roots has been there always and always will.


“Wolfie” before all my work started. If you like to read how he was styled over the years, just click HERE !


I am really pleased with the image that this difficult Bonsai is showing already. I love the twirling movement of the trunk and the inclination to the left side. The movement, back to the right side, that starts from the Jin, pulls the tree back into almost balanced. This can be more appreciated in the future when I repot it in a more suitable pot. I lifted the top a bit more, to make the overall picture more rounded. This softens the straight line in this bonsai even more. Now only the Jin protrudes out through the circular image of this Bonsai, creating an interesting escape or resting point for the eyes. I love the negative spaces, that play such an important part in the success of this design. This tree has almost perfect disbalance! 🙂



From “One day like this” by one of my favourite bands of this moment “ELBOW”.

I had a great day and I hope you like the progress of “WOLFIE” so far?


Hans van Meer.




  1. Hi Hans, as usual your work is truly inspirational. Just wondering if a different coloured background would assist in defining your subject tree a little better?
    Cheers Gman


  2. Hi Graham,
    I have tried that in the past, but I am fixed for pictures to one very small space in the back of my garden. Were there is only good light, some were between 3 and 5. And the other backdrops I tried showed a lot of shadow or were just plane ugly. I planed to create a better spot to photograph my work in the future. So that I can work with some better material as a backdrop and reflection screens. So much planes, but so little time! 🙂


  3. Thanks Peter,
    Yes the are great aren’t they! I must admit I only discovered them a few month’s ago when the played “A DAY LIKE THIS” live at JOOLS show on the BBC. I was overwhelmed and had goosebumps allover by the time the songs was finished. This guy is such a great singer. There live show at “GLASTONBURY” is a great example of just how good they are.



  4. You should check out there other albums as well.
    Any Day Now 6:18 Elbow Asleep In The Back 100
    Asleep In The Back 3:47 Elbow Asleep In The Back 100
    Newborn 7:36 Elbow Asleep In The Back 100
    Scattered Black And Whites 5:30 Elbow Asleep In The Back 100
    Ribcage 6:27 Elbow Cast Of Thousands 100
    Station Approach 4:22 Elbow Leaders Of The Free World 100
    Picky Bugger 3:07 Elbow Leaders Of The Free World 100
    An Imagined Affair 4:44 Elbow Leaders Of The Free World 100
    Mexican Standoff 4:01 Elbow Leaders Of The Free World 100
    Starlings 5:05 Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid 100
    Mirrorball 5:50 Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid 100
    An Audience With The Pope 4:28 Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid 100
    Weather To Fly 4:29 Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid 100
    The Fix 4:28 Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid 100
    One Day Like This 6:34 Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid 100
    These are my favourates.
    they also did the last album live at the B.B.C. with an orchestra. It was great.
    I hope your back improves. Have you tried acupuncture ?. It got me mobile after a car crash injury.


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