Drawing the Waitakere Coast

Author: Don Binney
A Godwit Book pub­lished by Random House
RRP: NZ$45.00
GT Issue: 2010 T2

I was first intro­duced to Don Binney’s art when a stu­dent learn­ing the craft of teach­ing while major­ing in Art and English.

The subtle use of col­our and paucity of super­flu­ous lines appealed to my aes­thetic and I have looked for his work and iden­ti­fied with it ever since. That said this may be slightly biased review as I feel he is a New Zealand artist who has shown us how to really look at our land­scape, our nat­ive birds, and our envir­on­ment and see our sur­round­ings and indeed our lives in another way.

This book, to quote Binney:

“Since I first came to it, the Waitakere coast­line has seen some changes – I’ve joined in res­ist­ance to sev­eral! But the greater part, returned to here, echoes its per­man­ence. Its byways and cran­nies have their dreams and secrets; but above, way bey­ond, its ocean face endures”

Is a very per­sonal view of the coast. Binney shares his thoughts, memor­ies and trav­ails over many years of vis­it­ing the coast. His love and know­ledge of the area is obvi­ous. His prose evokes as many images as his beau­ti­ful draw­ings. As his jour­ney meanders (along with his many com­pan­ions on the way), his belief in the need to con­serve the area – or to ensure change is sym­path­etic — shines through.

At times the text becomes almost mel­an­choly or per­haps wist­ful how­ever this is not a neg­at­ive as it matches the draw­ings which are so calmly attract­ive. Who needs pho­to­graphs with illus­tra­tions and descrip­tion such as Binney provides.

The bonus offered by the book is a topo­graph­ical map of the area which is prin­ted on the reverse of the dust jacket, a most thought­ful and appre­ci­ated extra. Along with thewoven place holder – a simple touch but one which is appre­ci­ated by this reader.

A lovely book, which would be a most use­ful resource book and an asset in any art-lovers library.

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