Black Pine half cascade style – Pinus nigra –
28 1/4 x 36 1/2
Oil on paper
This will be exhibited at ;
OUT OF THE WOODS: CELEBRATING TREES IN PUBLIC GARDENS
in New York Botanical Garden
November 18, 2017 – April 22, 2018
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
(Photo by Jody william: Dr. Shirley Sherwood, Asuka Hishiki, Gregory Long – CEO NYBG)
——My grandpa had several azalea bonsai in our tiny backyard. When my sister and I would come back from school, we would find him cutting the bonsai tree and giving water there. He admired his plants, and I loved his semi-dark backyard with many, many bonsai. Yet, according to the book, it pains me to say, but my grandpa’s bonsai were probably “potted trees.”
In a book, the author himself asked a question “bonsai is art or non-art?” It is designed to represent “natural beauty” in a small world, but the process creating the “natural beauty” is not exactly natural. One of my friends mentioned that bonsai trees are like a pet giraffe in your living room. It isn’t meant to be in a small pot. After the brief comment, I felt guilty liking bonsai trees.
Standing in front of this beautiful old pine tree, I just felt in awe of the aging dignity. Every single detail of the tree is breathtaking. The thick layered trunk is bold and strong, and it tells you the long but calm life the tree has had. The green leaves are so bushy and lively, which means the tree is very healthy. The tree looks like it was freshly trimmed, but none of the leaves are cut – it simply grows in that way. I was amazed! How come the trunk, branches, and leaves grow in this perfect manner NATURALLY! It is not growing naturally, and many, many human assistances are mandatory. However, if the tree with plenty of verdant leaves is so healthy and enjoys longevity with people’s intervention – or I should call it a good helping hand , it shouldn’t be a giraffe in a small living room longing for a vast grassland.
Seeing the bonsai and pondering what I am looking at leads me to a deeper question of how we interact with nature in a manmade setting. Gardens are a typical example of this. We set a stage for admiring nature – plant, flowers, trees, and the surroundings like sky and air, and we even admire more. I feel a long, long tradition or maybe instinct of human nature to create a certain kind of frame to “the found beauty in nature” to separate it from a confused world. It hits me! That’s exactly what I am trying to do! ——-