Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Oktoberfest in Harrisburg - last call

Events in Harrisburg in 2015: NEW Oktoberfest in Harrisburg still some seats available


A new event was added:
Oktoberfest in Harrisburg will take place from Friday, October 2 to Sunday, October 4


Winter Study with Walter and Jim will take place from Friday, December 4 to Sunday, December 6

Walter and Jim have been cavorting collectively since 1995. They continue because it is both a fun and informative process for them. We offer the opportunity to work on killer material and advanced techniques with a pair of premier teachers.

Friday, Oct. 2 9:30 – 5:00 pm
Saturday, Oct. 3 9:30 -5:00 pm
Sunday, Oct. 4 10:00 – 4:30 pm
fee: US$ 85/day or US$ 240/3 days// observers: US$ 40/day

These is a three day seminars which you can take as a whole or just attend for one day. We will discuss lots of difficult and very difficult material. There will be hands on work on some excellent trees. Lectures of things bonsai and around by Jim Doyle and Walter Pall are part of the event. This is for beginners to very advanced folks. There must be reasons why more and more folks do this ever year again. Give it a try!

For the workshops you can bring your own trees and/or can also work with collected trees from the nursery. Yes, that's right. We will let you loose on excellent material that you don't have to purchase even. You can though.

Call Nature's Way Nursery (Jim Doyle) for more information and signing up:

(717) 545-4555
 natureswaybonasi@comcast.net
or natureswaybonsai@gmail.com

Please refer to the website for class information.  www.natureswaybonsai.com
  or call Jim  717-545-4555 mostly between 9-5 Monday through Saturday.  If
you want us to mail a schedule let them know your mailing address.

It will be possible to participate as
 -full member two to three days
 -full member one day
 -silent observer for a fee one or two days
 - lurker for free for 20 to 30 minutes to see what's going on and to decide whether you want to participate immediately or later

Fun evening on Saturday with the legendary musical event as traditional by now.

You have the chance to see and purchase exquisite collected American material as well as excellent field grown broadleaved material. This is true for everyone. You don't need to take part in the Bonsai Academy for that. There will be a special discount just on these days.

There are about 400 collected trees there. A few dozen are outright world class, many very good, all hand selected by myself. There are over 150 trees in the range from US$ 45 to 600, about 50 from 600 to 1,500. Everybody can find himself a genuine American collected tree. Ponderosa pines, Rocky Mountain junipers, Engelman spruce, Douglas firs and many other native species are available We guarantee for recently collected stuff as long as you leave it in the nursery - money back or credit in case the tree did not make it. 


I am not aware whether there is a nursery in all of  America which has such a lot of quality collected stuff to offer. East of the Rockies. Nature's Way Nursery is THE source for quality collected trees.

Dear Arthur, Dear Walter #3

Hello Walter,

I had to laugh when I read in your last letter: "Arthur, you make me wary." Surely this is wrong? You have as much to be wary about with me as an elephant does with a mouse. Perhaps you mis-typed and meant to write "weary", as in, "Arthur, you make me weary." This I could understand, for I have heard it many times from many people.

The rest of your letter I understood very well and I much appreciate you taking your time to write those thoughts. Not so much of it was new to me because you have written about this topic numerous times before and I have read all of it I can find, but still I read this latest iteration several times over. You did not develop your ideas overnight and it is a fair assumption you are not entirely done developing them, and I think it is good for them to be aired out in public every so often. That way those of us who have been following you for some years now can see where you are currently at, and those who perhaps have never before encountered your disturbed and dangerous ideas can try them out for size. Personally, when I read some of these things I think to myself that I agree wholeheartedly with them, they are my thoughts too, but then I have to wonder if such viewpoints we share did not mostly originate with you. I have freely admitted that your views have been influential to my own, but at this point when looking back I can no longer discern where my own original ideas about naturalism leave off and those I picked up from you begin. Ultimately this does not matter so much to me. In the Bible we are told "there is nothing new under the sun", and I suspect that was already an old saying when it was written down. Besides, there are other ideas I have that I have never heard you advance (although I doubt they will much shock you) and these I will introduce to this discussion, but not just yet.

It has been interesting to read responses to our conversation, posted here on the IBC forum or on your blog. Some people are supportive of the views expressed and a few have made noteworthy contributions to the dialogue. Some other people have essentially shrugged and said 'There's nothing new here..." Of course there have also been varying degrees of antagonism expressed about the very idea of naturalistic bonsai, and I have to admit I am most curious about these responses, rereading them several times over in an attempt to understand these opinions and see things from their perspective. I think it is useless to react with hostility to disagreement, but it is also counterproductive to dismiss dissenting voices by simply concluding that these people do not understand the point being made. Unfortunately that is often how I genuinely feel, but I have learned it is best for me to try and get past that reaction. In order for any discussion in which the participants disagree to be worth the trouble of having, all parties must attempt to understand those views in opposition to their own.

As best as I can understand it, the views expressed in opposition to naturalism in bonsai fall into the following 2 categories:

1) There is no need to designate certain bonsai as naturalistic because all bonsai are inherently naturalistic. Nature is the inspiration and a piece of nature itself is the medium, so how can it be otherwise? In this view, naturalists are doing something that has always been done and attempting to pass it off as something new. The impetus is usually the self aggrandizing ego of certain individuals who are out to make a name for themselves. A variant of this view is that there really are not different styles of bonsai at all beyond the Japanese style and its predecessor, the crudely inferior Chinese style. In this scenario Chinese bonsai compares to Japanese bonsai as Neanderthal Man compares to Homo sapiens, and what is called naturalistic bonsai is just a misguided throwback to the old Neanderthal ways. All bonsai is naturalistic, but those practicing naturalism are simply less refined in their tastes.

2) Naturalistic bonsai is a title invented in an attempt to justify inferior work. Naturalists are too lazy to take the time and dedicate the tremendous effort necessary to produce genuine bonsai, or are simply not skilled enough to master the prerequisite techniques, or do not recognize the subtle artistry involved, or altogether do not understand what bonsai is all about. These people, having failed for whatever reason to make the grade, declare their work to belong in a separate but equal category which calls for a different standard by which to be judged. Along similar lines but worse, naturalists are attempting a ruse whereby they take naturally stunted trees from nature, plant them in a bonsai pot "as is" and try to pass them off as legitimate bonsai, or even superior to legitimate bonsai, in the vein of the old story "The Emperor's New Clothes".

(A third category might well be made for those whose response can be summed up as "Who cares?" These people find all the talk to be a waste of time, time they would rather spend pursuing their hobby. They readily admit that a hobby is all it is for them and they struggle just to keep their bonsai alive and hopefully someday it will be something worth looking at, and all this blather about what style it might be, beyond, you know, informal upright or something, is over the top and irrelevant to the level at which they operate. There is no reason to argue with this. If a person feels this way I say, go in peace. Perhaps one day your bonsai path will lead you to a point where such considerations matter and then maybe this discussion will take on meaning it does not presently have for you.)

The 2 categories of Naturalism denial I have identified above are not mutually exclusive. Some critics of naturalistic bonsai like to mix and match from either category and the more severe ones combine both categories into one expansive all-of-the-above condemnation. How to answer these doubts?

Well, maybe before that, why answer them at all? The why of it has to do with caring about bonsai as an art. If it is to be practiced as an art, then the matter of style becomes much more important, and the freedom of those who practice it to engage in a variety of styles, perhaps even seek out new stylistic territory, becomes critical. Differences in opinion are guaranteed. The existence of a multitude of stylistic possibilities, however, and the right to pursue any and all of them while still being firmly positioned within the parameters of what we call the art of bonsai should be beyond question. You can disagree with a style, even find it repulsive, but to deny it the right to exist or to say that a certain style needs to be called by some name other than bonsai is to put up a wall of separation that condemns bonsai to creative stagnation even as it attempts to keep it pure. To say that bonsai is done one certain way and should not be done any other is to admit that you do not actually think bonsai is an art.

But that is all too stuffy, I admit. I do not like to even dip my toe into that high-minded swamp of artistic debate. Here is another shot at it: It is worth trying to explain what naturalistic bonsai is and to stand up for its existence because it is a pathway to a potentially more meaningful bonsai experience for a greater number of people. Here again, though, I am getting ahead of myself. I will elaborate on this idea, but not just yet.

So, back to the question of how to answer the doubts of those who reject any notion of naturalistic bonsai, or think that bonsai as it is generally practiced is naturalistic enough already. As it is, the answers have all been given. You, Walter, have already provided them, over and over. Here is a link to an article you wrote, dated 2011, where you examine the question of styles and why it is useful to be able to identify them:http://walterpallbonsaiarticles.blogspot.com/2011/01/worthless-discussion-about-bonsai.html In what is perhaps your most comprehensive written examination of the whole question of bonsai as an art and the importance of distinguishing various styles, not to mention a thorough explanation of the difference between the terms "style" and "form", here is a link to an article you first wrote in 1998 and then updated in 2001:http://walterpallbonsaiarticles.blogspot.com/2009/10/styles-and-forms.html I would tell you that I think this is simply one of the most intelligent pieces of bonsai writing I have ever come across, but I do not want to swell your head any further than it already is. Do you know there are times we can see your head from this side of the Atlantic?

The problem is (how do I say this delicately?) that great piece of writing is rather long and dense. It is much longer and denser than this piece of writing, which means there are probably even fewer people who will labor all the way through it. If I may, then, I will ask you if you will please pare it down for us? As you have so far suffered my requests, will you once again produce a simpler, more concise treatment of this business of styles? Specifically I would appreciate hearing your summation of the identifying features of Classical, Neo-classical (or Western Classical), and Modern bonsai styles. You have already shared with us your pared down definition of Naturalistic bonsai, so that is not called for here, but any information you might see fit to include comparing the 3 styles mentioned above with the Naturalistic style would be appreciated. And as you have many excellent photographic bonsai images, I hope you might be able to show some examples of the different styles to make understanding easier.

I know you are a busy man and I have overtaxed your indulgence already, but I am busy too! That is why it has taken me so long to get back to you. I have a big show I am supposed to be getting ready for now, but I am writing this instead. It leads me to conclude that continuing this discussion must be worthwhile, so I hope you will think so too.









Dear Arthr,

[quote="Arthur Joura"]

1) There is no need to designate certain bonsai as naturalistic because all bonsai are inherently naturalistic. Nature is the inspiration and a piece of nature itself is the medium, so how can it be otherwise? In this view, naturalists are doing something that has always been done and attempting to pass it off as something new. The impetus is usually the self aggrandizing ego of certain individuals who are out to make a name for themselves. A variant of this view is that there really are not different styles of bonsai at all beyond the Japanese style and its predecessor, the crudely inferior Chinese style. In this scenario Chinese bonsai compares to Japanese bonsai as Neanderthal Man compares to Homo sapiens, and what is called naturalistic bonsai is just a misguided throwback to the old Neanderthal ways. All bonsai is naturalistic, but those practicing naturalism are simply less refined in their tastes.
[/quote]

These argumenbts I have read and heard so often. They seem to sound so true, so relaxed. Some famous bonsai artist does not cease to repeat 'there is no need for all this analyzing. There are either good bonsai or bad bonsai. And everybody can see the difference without this analysis'. This sounds like true Asian wisdom, superior over our inquisitive western minds. Let's see. OK, there is no need to analyze food. There is either good food or bad food and I know the difference. But isn't it sometimes good to know whether you want to go to an Italian restaurant or to a Chinese? And then – there is only good music or bad music and I know the difference. Well, when speaking about music do we not need words like 'classical', 'country', 'pop' etc.? So this statement is just a non-statement. It tells you nothing about the matter bur a lot abot the speaker.
This kind of response comes from folks who hate what they call elitist discussions and analysis. I am afraid it often could be because they cannot follow or any analysis would weaken their agenda. So why should we lower our standards to let follow folks who don't want to follow anyway.

[quote="Arthur Joura"]
2) Naturalistic bonsai is a title invented in an attempt to justify inferior work. Naturalists are too lazy to take the time and dedicate the tremendous effort necessary to produce genuine bonsai, or are simply not skilled enough to master the prerequisite techniques, or do not recognize the subtle artistry involved, or altogether do not understand what bonsai is all about. These people, having failed for whatever reason to make the grade, declare their work to belong in a separate but equal category which calls for a different standard by which to be judged. Along similar lines but worse, naturalists are attempting a ruse whereby they take naturally stunted trees from nature, plant them in a bonsai pot "as is" and try to pass them off as legitimate bonsai, or even superior to legitimate bonsai, in the vein of the old story "The Emperor's New Clothes".
[/quote]

It is unfortunately true that too often someone makes this attempt to justify inferior work with the title 'naturalistic'. This disqualifies the person and not the idea, I think. How often do we see not so good, bad, outright atrocious attempts of doing 'classical' bonsai styling. Does that disqualify the Classic Style or the folks who fail miserably?
There is a school that tries to find trees in nature, put them in a container, change almost nothing and declare it 'naturalistic piece of art'. Well, if anything this can be called 'Natural Bonsai Style'. It is called 'naturalistic' because it is NOT 'natural'. Many believe that what nature does MUST be goog and certainly better than what humans create. Well, look yourself in the mirror.

[quote="Arthur Joura"]
A third category might well be made for those whose response can be summed up as "Who cares?" These people find all the talk to be a waste of time, time they would rather spend pursuing their hobby. They readily admit that a hobby is all it is for them and they struggle just to keep their bonsai alive and hopefully someday it will be something worth looking at, and all this blather about what style it might be, beyond, you know, informal upright or something, is over the top and irrelevant to the level at which they operate. There is no reason to argue with this. If a person feels this way I say, go in peace. Perhaps one day your bonsai path will lead you to a point where such considerations matter and then maybe this discussion will take on meaning it does not presently have for you.[/quote]

Oh yes, I love the remarks like 'why all this – let's go back to bonsai'. While I don't share their reasons for saying this I do do accept that some are bored and even annoyed about all this 'superfluous' discussion. Maybe they will understand one day. But I do not think that they should show their contempt and how much they are above this. You don't want to know how often I see something on a forum, a blog or on facebook that I really hate or that I really think should not be there. Would I not make myself an arrogant bigot if I mentioned my dislike every time. It would be fifty times a day.


[quote="Arthur Joura"]
Well, maybe before that, why answer them at all? The why of it has to do with caring about bonsai as an art. If it is to be practiced as an art, then the matter of style becomes much more important, and the freedom of those who practice it to engage in a variety of styles, perhaps even seek out new stylistic territory, becomes critical. Differences in opinion are guaranteed. The existence of a multitude of stylistic possibilities, however, and the right to pursue any and all of them while still being firmly positioned within the parameters of what we call the art of bonsai should be beyond question. You can disagree with a style, even find it repulsive, but to deny it the right to exist or to say that a certain style needs to be called by some name other than bonsai is to put up a wall of separation that condemns bonsai to creative stagnation even as it attempts to keep it pure. To say that bonsai is done one certain way and should not be done any other is to admit that you do not actually think bonsai is an art.
[/quote]

Too many confuse the bonsai style discussion with religion or politics. The ensuing 'discussion' then gets ugly ever so often. Good moderation of forums often is necessary to avoid this getting totally out of control. I have come to the belief that it not at all like religion or politics. You can like and practice many bonsai styles in parallel and it is OK. It widens your possibilities, it gives variety to your collection, it makes bonsai life easier. Those who insist that there is only one way to do bonsai right I call bonsai fundamentalists. And they are my special friends. Bless them! The battle with them will never change their minds, but sometimes the minds of those who watch it. And as Arthur has pointed out, to watch the battle is entertaining.



Dear Arthur,

[quote="Arthur Joura"]
 I
Specifically I would appreciate hearing your summation of the identifying features of Classical, Neo-classical (or Western Classical), and Modern bonsai styles. You have already shared with us your pared down definition of Naturalistic bonsai, so that is not called for here, but any information you might see fit to include comparing the 3 styles mentioned above with the Naturalistic style would be appreciated. And as you have many excellent photographic bonsai images, I hope you might be able to show some examples of the different styles to make understanding easier.

[/quote]

I could write a thick book about it. But you wanted a short note.

Classical Bonsai Style

Pro:
Ideal
Quiet
Less is more
Zen Buddhism
Wide acceptance
Static
Abstract
Soul more important than form
No holes in broadleaved trees except for Prunus
Deadwood  - less is more

Con:
look alike
No surprises
often not art but rather craft
Sometimes boring
No innovation
artificial


pictures in IBC thread



Neoclassical Bonsai Style
(Western Classical Bonsai Style)

Pro:
according to clear rules
Popular
Well designed
According to expectations
Everybody can be successful
Abstract
No deadwood on broadleaved trees
Deadwood mostly artificial

Con:
cookie-cutter
No soul
Misunderstood as 'classical', really retro
Old-fashioned

pictures in IBC thread

Modern Bonsai Style

Pro:
unique
Impressive
Dynamic
Extreme
abstract
Becoming very popular – mainstream
Great sculptures
Great deadwood
Impressive proportions

pictures in IBC thread

Con:
aggressive
Show-off
Hollywood
Egotistical
Artificial , 'licked‚
Artist more important than tree
For winning
Commercial
Grotesque
Form more important than soul


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Field maple #1


Ficus #1



Ligustum avaiable

Very nice privet, Ligustrum vulgare, avaiable for sale or trade. 30 cm high, arund 30 years old.



Monday, September 21, 2015