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 What is Bonsai ?

 By Erik A. Olsen

What is Bonsai ?

Literally Bonsai is "grown in a tray" but to stop with this definition would be, at best, an understatement. Bonsai is an unique art in that the basic medium is alive and growing. As the painter uses canvas, brushes and paint to create, a Bonsai artist uses trees, soil and pots.

To carry the analogy further, a painter must learn how to prepare a canvas, select and use brushes, and the characteristics and types of paint. A Bonsai artist must learn how to keep a tree alive in a small container, the types and uses of the various tools and wire, and characteristics of the individual trees used.

Anyone beginning practice of art must have or develop an eye for the underlying aspects of that art, the elements of design, form and emptiness, tempo, etc.. and they must practice and learn from their mistakes.


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