Name of the Tree: Pemphis acidula
Bonsai Titles : casper
Tree Height: 43 cm (17 inches)
Pot Height: 14.5 cm (6 inches)
Pot Length: 43 cm (17 inches)
Pot made in Bali
It is a delight to comment on such a beautiful and well-crafted tree. My comments will be brief and minor as it is a nicely organized composition.
The trunk is marvelous, which is always inspirational for decisions regarding what to do with the branches. I have little to disagree with in the basic design of the tree. A couple of things, which might be in the mind of the artist as well, are more in the way of development and where to go from here:
—The power of the trunk seems suited to more full pads. That is, slightly more full, more rounded foliage pads, less pointy and thin in profile. A trunk of that wide girth would have been grown by branches that were full of foliage, in terms of natural history. In other words, for example, a thin-trunked tree could not have grown large, full foliage pads because they would have created a thick trunk.
—Although there are some back branches, they seem small. I would encourage the development of more substantial back branches to give the tree a sense of depth. In this photo the tree looks a bit flat… something of a problem in many photos, admittedly.
—Also, especially near the top of the tree, more foliage could be used to veil the last few inches of the trunk. It looks very wide open. There is little mystery here … meaning, it looks like someone in a wide open trench coat showing everything in the ‘the full monty’ sense, rather than closed up a bit with a little enticing reveal down by the legs. Granted, it’s a very nice trunk, but for a bit of coy mystery we need to hide bits here and there.
Is anyone blushing at this point?
—The trailing branch, at the bottom, might be tightened up a bit to unify with the rest of the foliage pads, which seem tightly organized. If the bottom edge of that pad were made more horizontal, the tree would have a solid foundation and not seem like it’s tipping over.
—Lastly, the apex looks like it is moving slightly to the right. For a left flow tree, the apex should suggest a left flow. It does not have to be obvious or blatant, but a subtle suggestion. Simply filling out the apex with a bit more foliage and trimming it slightly differently on top would do it.
Well done! Nothing I write is ‘This is the way it is, darn it!’— It’s just my view of things. Take it or leave it, or, if so inclined, print it out and burn it, which might be more satisfying…
Thanks, Paul, for asking me to critique a tree here.
Best wishes in bonsai,
(For those fresh out of tinder, more burnable material is available in my book ‘Post-Dated: The Schooling of an Irreverent Bonsai Monk’, available on his blog crataegus.com, from Stone Lantern, or from Amazon. )