USPS's Beyond The Perf
points out, "To create an arboreal masterpiece requires great patience, skill, and attention to detail. So when art director Ethel Kessler was tasked with featuring the art form of bonsai on a stamp, she knew that the assignment would require the same commendable traits."
Turns out she knew just the person for the project - John D. Dawson, with whom she worked on the 12-year Nature of America
According to the article, "Dawson lives in Hawaiʻi, a central location for the horticultural hobby of bonsai. But despite his interest in art and nature, Dawson was unfamiliar with the elaborate processes of the art form."
Dawson is quoted as saying, “It was a big learning curve. The first thing I did was buy a good number of books, and read about the history and principles of bonsai. I also attended a bonsai show in Hilo and talked to the members of the society here.”
"Consultants carefully examined the artwork, ensuring that each style of bonsai was realistically represented — and also checking for any cultural nuances. One needed revision was changing the number of azalea trunks from four to three, as four is considered unlucky in Asian cultures,"according to the article.
for additional pictures and information.
In a separate article that appears on the Big Island News Center
website, reporter Sherry Bracken says, "Dawson’s first stamps for the postal service were in the 1980s, the American Cats stamp series. Since then he has created the Idaho statehood stamp, a flowering trees series, and the Nature of America series. The final set in that series featured a Hawaiian rain forest, and was introduced at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park last December."
to read Bracken's article and listen a radio interview she did with him.