John Lyall invited, fellow artist and friend, Claudia Pond Eyley to exhibit her bonsai drawings in conjunction with his Auckland Festival of Photography exhibition Forest & Bird.
Over the late summer Claudia spent a month visiting with John and sitting in his bonsai garden drawing. She wistfully describes the time “... the ambient weather, the pleasure of going every day, the conversations, the Japanese rice tea served in ever changing beautiful teapots, the sounds of the garden ... I was absolutely entranced”.
Through drawing John’s bonsai she was able to understand the “incredible delicacy of the balance and perfect shapes he creates” She was able to observe and admire his skills: an intuitive sense of aesthetics combined with the careful manipulation of the plant. These drawings conform to the canon of botanical drawings, capturing the idiosyncrasies of each plant and pot. They sit well and in contrast to Lyall’s own photographs created through digital manipulation, and as considered and crafted as his bonsai.