Robert Steven’s digitally enhanced version of a Trident maple by Carl Morrow (the photo Carl submitted is below).
The original photo.
Despite the details, bonsai design is all about composition, and the pot is one of the most important composition elements. A well chosen pot can reflect and enhance the best features of a tree and effect the overall image, adding both nuance and balance.
Our first impression is a sense of visual imbalance. This is due to pot size (which is too big) and improper potting position. Another disturbing thing is the foliage edge on the left side seems to be heavier than the right side. This creates and unbalanced effect, since the tree’s movement flows to the right.
- Reduce the foliage on the left to enhance the tree’s natural flow to the right.
- Prune some leaves to show some of the branches structure, this will give an older look to the tree.
- Use a smaller pot.
There is more than one way to design any bonsai and my critiques and recommended solutions might not always fit your taste because of personal preferences. But I always try to give my opinion based on artistic and horticultural principles.
You can also visit my bonsai blog: http://blogs.knowledgeofbonsai.org/robert_steven