Bunjin Shore Pine Restyle-

This Shore Pine—Pinus contorta subsp. contorta—has several interesting fronts. It has been a conversation piece with guests for their favorite front. Here’s what we did in a restyling.

The original front of the tree, where we started our adventure

…but here was a more engaging trunkline, about 90 degrees left, and inclined 30.

 After cutting off the long right branch. Bunjin are best with short branches, and high up on the tree. This helps show off the wiggly parts of trunk line, the bark, and the character of this idiosyncratic bonsai style.

The final design. We made a small jin out of the cut off branch. And we swapped the container for this one, sporting a glaze splash and nice, rich brown color. We chose to leave a few roots as a design element, like a shoe, the toe of which is exploring beyond the edge of the pot.

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  1. I’m sure that my opinion is skewed by only seeing this on a flat screen, but I cant help liking the original front better, but with that crossing branch gone (and jinned), as it now is… perhaps that option became too “flat” front to back with the removal of that long branch ?

  2. As an addendum to my comment, I feel conflicted, because I would never even dream of looking over the shoulder of a sculptor and suggesting he alter the orientation of an appendage, nor would I suggest to a painter that I might like one brush stroke over another… Why do those things seem OK when it comes to Bonsai ? Or perhaps the question is, IS that ok when it comes to bonsai… ? hhmmmm 😉

    But, I reckon thats the subject of another discussion… Perhaps I will raise that one on the IBC forum… Its been a while since anything got hotted-up over there – LOL

    • crataegus says:

      I think it’s ok to ask this because we have a hook to hang our hat on, and that hook is the tradition. There are some things that work better than others. What that is would be hard to see in 2D and one of the reasons posting a few more photos would have been a wise idea…but certainly one may ask the question. And those puzzlers are brought up whenever restyling.

  3. gblack1@wi.rr.com says:

    Permissible to introduce more jin toward the top – followed by some shaving – to establish a continuous taper? Will ultimately need a real apex, too, but that’s just a matter of time. Nice work and vision as to what tree could be.

    • crataegus says:

      A shari line is certainly possible high on this trunk, something to consider. It took a while for the tree to grow enough foliage to cut off the lower branch, and it still needs a bit of adjusting to this new world before I’d consider doing that. I like to go slow with trees, they are slow, it’s nice (and a bit of a lesson) to join their speed rather than force ours on them.

  4. Frank Corrigan says:

    Happy to see the Shore Pine , appreciate the improvement in the trunk line and overall flow. The shore pine is my favorite native pine for Bonsai. Incredible bark and natural yamadori features. I think it is important to resist the temptation to try and recreate them in the image of developed patterns. I prefer your approach to recognize and celebrate the natural forms and faults.

    • crataegus says:

      They are fun for that reason for sure. Yamadori of any sort offers the question mark of what you’re going to do with it and retain much of the natural wild flavor of the tree, and Shore Pine seems to have quite a bit of that flavor.

  5. Skipp Serrano says:

    The issue raised re; changing one sight over another is a non starter. How the tree should be presented is strictly subjective to the wishes of the artist and only the artist has that choice. The rest of us as spectators may speculate on what we may have done, but never presume to inject our biases onto the artist’s work.

  6. Terry Davis says:

    I feel that by Jim Bonsai are all about line and movement, like a dancer. To me, the original styling is cluttered and confused with no smooth movement. The new styling is all about fluid line and movement.

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