Bonsai is a piece of nature. More than that, a Bonsai tree is an artwork that expresses our love and adoration of nature.
To get inspired for creating Bonsai trees nothing is more relevant than watching natural scenes and landscapes and keeping the images inside your head. Whenever you get the opportunity to enjoy your natural environment or to travel and see foreign landscapes, take it and use it.
The variety of landscapes
There are so many different landscapes that can be depicted by the means of Bonsai and it is very helpful to have seen and internalized natural examples of the basic Bonsai styles and their typical surroundings.
Mountain scenes are an important subject of Bonsai compositions. Walk and climb in a mountain scene or keep your eyes open while skiing and you will see the landscape with different eyes! Old conifers, amazing rocks, centuries old deadwood with stunning textures, extreme tree shapes produced by harsh weather conditions, storms, snow burdens, avalanches, falling stones. Look out for natural cascades and semi-cascades growing from sheer rock walls.
Take a lot of photographs to refresh your memories at home! In the lowlands you will also find a lot of interesting trees and landscapes. Huge old deciduous trees on a pasture, fabulous forests or villages with lovely flowering and old fruit-bearing trees on farms or in gardens. Always carry your camera with you when you go for a walk and capture every scene you might find inspiring.
When you go to the seaside, look out for coastal forests and dramatically windswept trees! Those shapes are fascinating and they are very difficult to create as a Bonsai convincingly. Natural examples can help a lot to understand what it is about.
If you like imported Asian or tropical tree species from far away countries you have never been then at least look at lots of photographs of their natural habit and their typical landscape. You will find a lot of pictures in the internet, in illustrated books or in tv documentaries.
Try to travel as much as possible, walk and discover all the beauty and surprises nature supplies. Take it in with all your senses, watch, feel, smell, taste!
Inspiration for your trees
Don't miss the little details, carry a macro lens with you and also take photographs of the little details like bark patterns, decaying deadwood, leaves, flowers and fruit. Watch the typical growth pattern of the tree species, the trunk and branch shapes, foliage pads and ramification.
Recognize and remember the weeds and herbs that grow around certain trees, the lichens, mosses and ferns which come with a special type of tree or landscape. Also be aware which animals like to hide in the foliage or eat the seeds or fruit of the different tree species.
All this knowledge will help you to create a convincing and captivating Bonsai tree and also one day to set up the perfect Bonsai display for an exhibition. More information? Read our "Tree vs Bonsai" article now!