Bonsai Art

Many bonsai people also create what are considered more traditional forms of bonsai art ... painting, drawing and sculpture.

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 Beattyworks 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 a favorite.

Carl Rosner's first love is painting. 

Much of his work is painted on commission. He has created some very special paintings 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 crusaded for bonsai postage stamps for years.  The US Postal Service chose five bonsai tree paintings by Hawaiian wildlife artist John D. Dawson to appear on Forever Stamps.  Although not a practicing “bonsai artist,” Mr. Dawson truly gets it! 

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.

Sometimes it difficult to imagine the future of a newly styled bonsai tree.

Ernie Fernandez 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."

Bonsai art and artists who have left us

Artists, who are no longer with us, can not go without being mentioned.

Ben Oki (1927-2018) was an early student of John Naka and he grew and taught bonsai since 1958. When he traveled he always had his sketch pad. 

Ben was also accomplished in designing Japanese gardens ... many with magnificent stone arrangements.  In Florida, he will also be remembered for his annual visits to the prison in Stark, Florida.  

Joe Samuels (1920-2007) 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!)

"The Aftermath"

This watercolor is the last in a series of three, painted after Hurricane Andrew. 

John Naka's (1914-2004) 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.)

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.

Where to Go From Here

 Also see Art Forms related to Bonsai

Facebook recently introduced me to the world of wire tree sculptures. Is it art or craft?  I'll let you decide:

see the wire bonsai trees!   

Bonsai Mary no longer publishes her Bonsai Banter blog, please enjoy these

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