When I decided to create a page on bonsai art, I quickly realized just how many bonsai people also create what are considered more traditional forms of art ... painting, drawing and sculpture.
I've known some of the following talented people for many years. Some are more recent acquaintances. All have artistic talent, often influenced by their passion for bonsai.
Paul Finch is a British bonsai practitioner, he is also a sculptor with amazing talent! It's hard to believe the clay sculpture above is not alive!
Chad Beatty was at a Florida bonsai convention when I met him. Chad “works primarily in oils, painting mystical and sublime scenes rich in symbolism.” Influenced by his appreciation of bonsai, he has developed an additional stream of artwork he calls Kiri No Ki.
This Blossom Branch is one of my favorites.
Carl Rosner is an online friend of several years. Although I've never met Carl in person, he's been an asset on several of my bonsai site pages and now his first love appears on this page - painting.
Carl was born, raised and still lives in New Jersey.
Much of his work is painted on commission. He has created some very special art for several bonsai people including Jim Smith and Jim Moody.
You may recognize this Jim Moody Brazilian Rain Tree bonsai in this original oil painting.
Bonsai hobbyists have crusaded for bonsai postage stamps for years ... the time has come! The US Postal Service has chosen five bonsai tree paintings by Hawaiian wildlife artist John D. Dawson to appear on Forever Stamps. (Now available.) Although not a practicing “bonsai artist,” Mr. Dawson truly gets it! We are honored by his talent.
Michele Andolfo is a bonsai instructor and artist in Italy.
He very successfully uses art in his bonsai classes as inspiration.
This work was created while teaching in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Ernie Fernandez is a bonsai friend of many years.
Sometimes it difficult to imagine the future of a newly styled bonsai tree.
Ernie's drawings truly show what can happen with a few years of attention, care and passion. Anyone who receives a drawing by Ernie - with their new bonsai tree - must be greatly encouraged to follow "the plan."
Ben Oki was an early student of John Naka.
He has been growing and teaching bonsai since 1958. When he travels he brings his sketch pad.
Ben is also accomplished in designing Japanese gardens ... many with magnificent stone arrangements.
For many years his annual visits to Florida included bonsai visits to the prison in Stark, Florida.
Two very important artists, who are no longer with us, can not go without being mentioned.
Joe Samuels was a fine bonsai artist and a self taught water colorists. For many years, his friends looked forward to his hand painted Christmas cards. Joe enjoyed creating these “quick sketches,” as he called them, however, he relished the many hours of creating larger works, even more.
(Joe Samuels is also the bonsai artist who introduced Ficus nerifolia to the bonsai world!)
This watercolor is the last in a series of three, painted after Hurricane Andrew.
John Naka's sketches helped many of us through the early days of our bonsai experience.
Many were donated, in honor of John, to the National Bonsai Foundation in Washington, DC.
In addition to those concept drawings, John was an accomplished painter. (The Cheryl Manning site has many photos, stories and
a video about John Naka, including some of his art. )
Did I Miss Someone? Please help me fill in the gaps!
If you know an artist who deserves mention on my site, please let me know.
Facebook recently introduced me to the world of wire tree sculptures. Is it art or craft? I'll let you decide.
If you find bonsai puzzling, take a minute (or 10) to put together these bonsai puzzles
is my free monthly newsletter. Subscribe to get current tips, ideas and photos that may not appear on this site.