I was asked a question on the IBC Forum that I would like to share with you all because my answer explains how I see my Bonsai!
abcd from France asked on : “With out long dead wood, a subject of much discussion I think ?”
Hi abcd, no not really, you are the first one ever! No just kidding, there was some debate in the beginning when years ago I showed the first styling pictures on the forum. But now it has come altogether better and all who have seen this tree in real life in my garden over this last years do like it! If you look at the picture below (that I just made especially for you ) that section was the new top live section meets that large jin and shari, that section is all naturally created by mother nature and it shows perfectly, in miniature, what happens for real in nature when the top of a mountain tree like Pine, larch or spruce dies back after being hit by lightning or an avalanche. The tree wants to survive so from around that point many new branches will appear from which one branch will become the new top section. Just like you can see on hundreds of trees high up in the mountains. But that is not the only reason why I made that Jin such an important part of this whole image, in my opinion, it adds interest to the whole story of this tree and it makes it (in my view) more exciting to look at! I would not think about it to remove it or even shorten it! But I do understand that this is a matter of taste! But I also know that it all looks and feels much better in real life!
Hope this answers your question?
Hans van Meer.
This next question on the IBC Forum was asked by graham from the USA:
Graham wrote: Nice looking tree Hans, will you freshen up the deadwood features for the show? Nice find too…..they are tough so hopefully it will make it.
My answer was: Thanks, Graham! Good question! Gives me the change to explain how I approach this styling on this particular tree. No, I will not clean it too much actually. Green algae and stuff that hides important features, yes, but I like it to look as naturally weathered as possible so no bleaching or something like that. This design is my own impression of a huge distance tree, but it is an imaginary tree image none the less and for that, to work (in my opinion) all natural looking part like bark, jins and shari should look as close to the truth as possible! So that the viewer, who recognizes those things in a blink, from seeing a thousand trees in real live, feels comfortable with the image he sees in front of him. It is my belief that when you feed the viewer the right information than you can create an image that is recognizable and believable to most, even when it is a fantasy tree like this one! With this design I want the viewer to see in one glance: how fare the image of my tree grows from where they stand and how tall it must be to look like that! And that illusion is created with open or negative spaces in and around this tree, these open spaces are hardly noticeable in these pictures, but in 3D they will do the trick much better! After that is all established, well then (I hope) that they can better enjoy the actual impression that I am trying to convey to them because they now know the facts of this tree and than they can better enjoy the fantasy and (hopefully) beauty of my tree and work! It must be a balance between natural and made up, for me that is Bonsai! But that is personal! Long explanation and I hope it gives some insight into how I think and work.
Hans van Meer.
This next question on the IBC forum was from Taner (Turkey), he wanted to name my Larch! My answer explains how (XL) got his name from me!
Taner wrote: Oh god! This is another masterpiece that needs & deserves a name as we did for Tony’s dragon (May I suggest one?) It is great tree!!!
My answer was: Hi Taner, you do me to much honour sire…..please do go on!!!! You can always suggest a name, I am curious what you see in my tree?….But it already has a name, XL as in Extra Large! That is the name I came up with when I had to carry it down a with meltwater soaked mountainside and realized that I had saved too much of a rootball to be carried by just one person! Especially because that one person, that was in line for a lower back operation, his legs had slowly sunken knee deep and were about to bend in the opposite direction, because he just would not let go of the tree! When my wife asked what happened: I mumbled something with my dying breath… tree…to Large! ..Extra Large…ha..ha…ha! You have to admire that even in desperation, I always try to be funny! That’s why it’s named XL and it grows slowly into its name to. I tried to style it in my way to look like an enormous tree and that seems to have worked, so XL is fitting I think?! But give me yours and surprise me?????
Hans van Meer.
And yes I have been sampling my Remy Martin and chocolates again!
Hope you all appreciate me posting this on my blog, I thought it could be of interest to those who follow my work on here?!
Hans van Meer.