Hi, everybody,

it’s been a while, I am sorry, But I just did not have the heart to post any sooner!

I had a lot of recovering to do after my second back operation, so that took most of my energy. But what was really tough to do during these last months, was that I had to slowly watch my two favourite Pines die!

These ancient trees that I worked so successfully on for so many years. That was only just a few years away from being shown for the first time.

For the first time, after all these years of stubborn working on these time-consuming yamadori,  I would have been able to show my best work after almost a decade of loving care!

This year marks my twenties year in Bonsai and as I wrote earlier at the beginning of this year, I had to reset my goals in Bonsai because of my back problems. But I had some almost-finished Bonsai to bring to its peak to keep me happily busy for the next couple of years! Well, they died!

Bellow: One of them was well over 600 years old! When I bought him, he had no roots at all. With a lot of care, I saved him from certain death and turned it into a happy and healthy tree again. Then to helplessly have to watch something that old and wonderful die, to be honest, that was really devastating! 

12-7-2010 004 Hans van Meer web

Bellow: Anyone that visits my website and reads my stories about “THE SWAN”, knows just how precious this unique hollow old Pine was to me! I honestly believe that the world lost a very special tree and future Bonsai!

12-7-2010 006 Hans van Meer web

Where to go from here with pursuing this art form, I honestly don’t know? I don’t have the opportunity anymore to collect and I  am certainly not able to afford yamadori this precious again! And even if  I could, there are no others like these two! I have a lot of thinking and soul-searching to do!

Bellow: Even in death my swan is mind-blowing. So sad!

10-7-2010 064 Hans van Meer web

Thanks for listening again, my friends! And thanks for all your warm replies! It is highly appreciated!


Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com


16 thoughts on “WHEN YOUR ART DIES ON YOU….”

  1. ” That there’ll be preserverance in the technique perfecting efforts, that this may be not misunderstood and lay without giving up. That’ll trust in what has been transmitted by the master and that’ll be an effort from dawn to dusk; that’ll test your technique, ensue the doubtfull things to their roots, reach maturity through practice and that you may understand Yourself and your own Principle.”

    (Free translation from Portuguese)

    Chissai Chozan, In Tengu-Geijutsu-Ron

    The original title it’s in German and can be found as well in “Die Kunst das Schwert zu Führen”.

    P.S.: Sorry if i sounded patronizing. Not intended.

    All the best and fast recovery


  2. I´m very sorry, I also think that two wonderful bonsai were lost for the world, keep it up, your ART will still be alive in many other trees
    best regards from Spain
    P.D. do you know why they died?


  3. This is so upsetting. I truly feel for you Hans but know you have the strength of character to bear it. Keep up the good work and hope your back eases up for you soon.


  4. I understand the pain of the lost. As you said, they’re shinning even if dead!

    However, you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished! Not sad!

    Wish you a fast recovery and hope you’ll get back on your feet soon!

    All the best


  5. Hello Hans.

    I have been following your work trough your blog and website and your apearances in other websites. I love your art. It´s true, sometimes 1 or 2 of trees dies, some some dearer than other but all valuables as art.

    But the greater loss would be if you took a step back from this artform.

    Couldn´t you consider to start taking in apprentises or to teach the art of bonsai? They could also get yamadoris, as a part of their education.

    I know you are a strong and powerfull person. I can see it trough your art, because it is a lot of you in it.

    Get well soon and sorry if I was too personal.

    Claudio, Sweden


  6. Hello Hans,

    I understand your pain, but loosing is also part of life and we have to understand that is a natural course, that we must live with…in the end we must find a way of overcoming great losses and becoming even stronger for a brighter future…

    You are an amazing artist, dont let this move from your path, since you still have so much to walk…

    Hang on and walk foward when you feel that the time is right, but stay with us, because you are the inspiration of many…

    Best regards,


  7. Hi Hans!

    I’m very sorry for your losses, I’ve been following those trees evolution and I could imagine Your sense of emptyness, but in each ending there is allways a beginning, so I’m sure Bonsai will repair Your soul and will give You force for keep on going!

    Unfortunataly I’m experiencing a little of Your problem I’ve been operated few days ago to a hérnia on my back and besides my personal life that is hanged on , my trees are left alone too, fortunatly my wife is taking care of watering needs.

    I hope You recover the quickest possible and go on with Your life.


    Mário Eusébio


  8. Amai, dat is verschieten. Wat een emotioneel verlies. Veel sterkte alvast. Enig idee wat de oorzaak hiervan kan zijn?


  9. Beste Hans,
    Wat een verlies …! Een nachtmerrie voor jou en ieder andere yamadorie-bezitter ! Ik had je blog eerder gezien en was echt onder de indruk van ‘ De Zwaan ” .
    Ik sluit me aan bij de voorgangers en wens je veel sterkte !!!! en ook ik ben zeer benieuwd naar de oorzaak ……ook al kan dit voor dit soort bomen vaak zeer moelijk of onmogelijk te achterhalen zijn !


  10. By that I meant take a deep breath, remember what you have created in the past, and look to the future for new challenges in the the bonsai world that you love so much.


  11. In 2004 I lost a Japanese Black Pine that John Naka had appreciated and consented to be photographed with the year before. I had had hernia repair surgery and I lost about six trees while I was recovering. It took me a long time to get over the loss of those trees, especially the “John Naka” pine. That pine died at almost the same time John passed on. I hope when I get to the other side I see him and he has my tree with him.


    1. Hi Charles,
      I feel for your losses and I do understand! This might sound strange to most, but I felt a enormous sense of helplessness and lost when my two Pines slowly died. I realy was heartbroken for a while! And not sure how to go one pursuing a dream that could just dye! But the fire is back again and it burns, because of what happened even harder!
      And that vision of “John Naka” working on your Pine is one to treasure and to look forward to.
      Thanks for sharing your story,
      Hans van Meer.


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