We moved to the seaside when my partner retired as she was born in this area and waited tables in a local caff as a teenager, having happy memories of the coast. Her roots were here, whereas my RAF upbringing wedded my heart and soul to England but not to any one place. So I discovered the delights of small town living in Seaford, so different to Darwen where I lived before London. Even the house was an accident as we had arrived early to meet the estate agent and rather than just hang around before the booked viewing he took us to see this, which had just come on the market. I fell for the staircase, my partner for the location.

Shield bug

Any new house is strange to start with, and we quickly realised that the previous owners had not really used the place. It was draughty and in many ways impractical, so we set about turning the house into a home. It became evident the bare board floors allowed wind to blow up from the void beneath, so this we fixed with underlay and good carpets immediately, which made it warmer. We then did an extensive renovation, but the renovation that really scored was the garden, starting when my beloved bought me a studio and we set about replanning the garden to make way for it, moving a couple of small apple trees and various other bits and pieces.

Drunken bee

Now I had a proper studio rather than just a converted bedroom, although one bedroom remains used as my photo/print studio. I also acquired a ‘walk to work’ all be it only 30 yards or so. I then discovered the delight of looking down the walk every morning, judging the weather and picking up on the changes of season. I started to take a daily photograph. It has become habitual, shared on twitter and with the BBC Weather images, and over 3,000 daily snaps have now been made, just one a day.

Cadmium red leaves

Unlike Michelle Cowbourne (@glastomichelle on twitter) I don’t have a landmark, but I do have an ever-changing view. As with Michelle’s views of Glastonbury Tor, you might think ‘seen one seen‘em all’ but if you did then I would say you aren’t seeing at all. One BBC twit said its just your garden but that too is someone who doesn’t know how to look. The garden grows, changes not just with the seasons, but the quality of light, the structure and colour of clouds and other weather driven changes. My walk has become a progress which at this time of year is particularly slow, almost an act of worship.

I don’t just look at the garden, I absorb its scents, store colour contrasts in my mental picture library and have produced numerous paintings and drawings exploring colour and texture from daisies in the grass to the glory of poppies. The backdrop is the Down beyond and the line of the cliff edge, the Channel beyond that.

This morning’s walk is a good example. The large white bush, know from its scent as a ‘false orange’ is covered in flowers. I spotted a mosaic ladybird, which is a negative of our native ladybird in that instead of being red with black spots it is black with red spots. By the time I had the camera raised it was gone, but the bushes are alive with butterflies of 3 or four varieties from tiny blues to large spotted Emperor’s, with large and small flying beasties including the green shield bugs, and masses of bees.

Hot Lips and Geranium

In the last house I drove to work going into Croydon, a typical commute. Mornings like this morning take almost as long to walk 30yards as I meander from one colour scent to another, as I stop to listen to the cacophony of wren/blackbird/robin/pigeons/magpies/gulls who come for water and seed from drinking bowls and feeders. Most of all the walk makes me consider my art, is an affirmation of the beauty of my little patch of the ‘urban forest’ and a reminder that the beauty I have seen in Namibia, the States or any of the other 35 countries I have toured can be matched by the delights of an English back garden.

Buckminster  Fuller geometry and Colour in one image

Oh, and this morning was a walk to photograph a piece of work I am slightly unbalanced by, a continuation of my paintings of the decay of our civilisation. But I take comfort in knowing that the beauty of the country will not disappear despite the slow collapse of English culture.

The Garden Studio is open to visitors by arrangement. Contact me through this website or via DM on twitter or Facebook