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The Crypt Exhibition: Newhaven Art Club

Updated: Mar 10

A reflective blog article by Sophie McMahon on Newhaven Art Club’s current autumn exhibition at The Crypt in Seaford.

The Crypt Gallery in Seaford, the home of Sussex Contemporary Illustrators and Printmakers (SCIP), is currently exhibiting work from the well-established Newhaven Art Club. The free event is taking place between 25-30th October and features a selection of members' paintings in a wide range of subjects and mediums, both in traditional and contemporary art styles.

The exhibition was a pleasure to walk around and although it was contained to the small Flint Gallery, I spent nearly an hour going around time and again, spotting something different in the paintings each time.

Speaking to artists Jonathan Pullen and Terri Micklam, it was so interesting to hear about the inspiration behind their pieces. It was clear that both wanted to depict the beauty in the mundane and ‘ordinariness’ of East Sussex- I found Pullen’s representation of Newhaven Swing Bridge was particularly successful in doing this. I was also very fond of Micklam’s still life piece simply titled ‘vegetables’, which had fantastic detail and composition.

I was keen to discuss with Micklam her change in medium from watercolour to gouache in the piece ‘Overlooking Cuckmere Haven’. It was the first piece that she had painted when she started attending the Art Club, being inspired and partly imitating the postcards of the famous landscape. She was open about how the medium was very ‘forgiving’ of mistakes, pointing to a few spots on her prints. I noted that I was especially struck by the depth and vibrancy of the colours within the piece, which she credited to the use of the medium.

For any Seafordian, the image of Pullen’s ‘Cool Britannia’ will feel familiar as it depicts two ladies sitting with coffees against the backdrop of the Martello Tower. Once we began talking, Pullen shared that the piece was actually formed from two separate photos, as many of his paintings are. It is fascinating that he can combine images so successfully whilst still maintaining an accurate and authentic local landscape.

I would encourage anybody to head down to this local exhibition and talk to the artists about their work. It is really inspiring to look at how the everyday can be turned into something beautiful with just a few brushstrokes.

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