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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