In a pandemic year, events in my little corner of the world obviously seem trivial. Being in a vulnerable age group (60+) I took all precautions. I lost one old friend to the virus: Ania Walwicz (1951-2020). Given my reclusive lifestyle, isolation had little effect on my artistic output. The closure of public libraries was a serious reduction to my resources, but not fatal. The closure of art supplies shops for eight months was probably my biggest obstacle (lockdown in Melbourne effectively lasted that long). But painting is only one arm of my activities and as with 2019; I managed three new series of digital sketches, TEAMWORK, PLACEHOLDERS and FEEDPACK. Although not popular (to judge from social media) the themes explored new facets of my project. Together with paintings for SAMPLER-03 they brought my total number of pictures for the year to 181.

Plans for a modest group show in which I was to be included had to be postponed. With local galleries largely reduced to online exhibitions, there was little opportunity to interview artists and write the in-depth reviews I publish on MELBOURNE ART SEEN. I settled for brief reports on Facebook. I spent far too much time on social media actually, but I suspect the rest of the world did as well.

I spent a few months mid-year writing another short story (THE PURPLE POSSUM) and revamping my site. The revamp was prompted by changes to WordPress’s editing interface, which basically retired my chosen template after eleven years, leaving me to transfer my content to a newer one. Obviously web design has come a long way in that time, so changes were perhaps overdue, but I’m not entirely satisfied with the replacement. Although WordPress boasts of customising templates, in reality options are fairly limited. I now have a .com domain as well.

My stories have continued to attract the occasional download, which is heartening, although they are only a minor part of my project. Since presenting my short films on You Tube last year, I realise it is a side that I cannot afford to ignore. It is a kind of missing link in my development. Fiction in some ways directs my approach to pictorial issues beyond movies, in other ways is directed by it. My continuing efforts at stories draw reassurance from this, if anything raise the stakes. I have not fully worked through the implications, but rereading old favourite authors throughout the year was strangely disappointing. My first loves of the surreal and absurd no longer seem enough. It’s hard to say where this will lead.