Monday, September 17, 2007


With two bookshops represented at the Festival, Murray Gray’s Gone West, and Unity Books, I inevitably ended up parting with some of the folding stuff!

TO THE HARBOUR Stanley Palmer Lopdell House Gallery $35

Noted New Zealand artist and printmaker Stanley Palmer has ventured into the world of children’s picture books and the result is a delightful reminiscence of summer holidays long gone.
So a delightful story but of course the real joy is in the illustrations which reminded me so much of my own childhood growing up in post-war Gisborne.

The illustrations are Monoprints or transferred paintings and Palmer supplies this note about his technique at the beginning of the book:

Most of my monoprints and editioned prints are reversed by the printing, thus removing them from the topographical. I paint and smear my monoprints on stainless steel plates using permanent standoil inks. I work on a small series (up to three) allowing the image to become a little more abstracted after each printing. With this transferred painting technique each brushstroke alters the shape and clarity of the final image.
Because of the smooth surface of the plate, brush strokes may be accepted or rejected – so chance comes into play.
The cover image I have here does not do justice to the real thing. Do seek this book out, not only for the super, nostalgic story of a summer long ago but because for $35 you will be buying 12 pieces of Stanley Palmer's art; I reckon this book will become a collector's item.

ROLLING THUNDER – The Spirit of Karekare Bob Harvey Exisle $40

I don’t know Karekare all that well, probably been there a dozen times over the years, mainly to visit Dorothy Butler, but I am aware that Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey regards the place as being pretty close to paradise.

This book then is his tribute to that wild west coast beach.
Harvey has of course written on this area before with his 1998 title – Untamed Coast: Waitakere Ranges & West Coast Beaches being finalist in the Montana NZ Book Awards.
I picked this 2001 title up and was immediately taken by the generous, lavish even, use of illustrations both new and old, photographs, paintings, reproductions of old posters and magazines. It notes in the front of the book that the design is by Heather Ball, She has done a great job.

This book is about the people of Karekare as much as the place and what an interesting and diverse bunch they are. I’m delighted to now have Rolling Thunder on my bookshelves, albeit six years after first publication.


Two books by the same author on the one day! And again the author has teamed up with publishers Exisle which I guess is not surprising as both the author and the publishers are Westies! As of course is the subject of Harvey’s latest book, artist Dean Buchanan who lives in Karekare where he also has a bush studio.
So both author and subject are men who love the Waitakere Ranges and Karekare in particular. It is not surprising then that this glorious hardback book reflects that love in the wonderfully reproduced artwork , the fine photos by Antoine Gasperini, another Westie(!) all complimented by Harvey’s thoughtful text.
It’s a stunner, I reckon we'll see it in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards next year.

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