The Needle’s Eye Painting

Needle's Eye
Alan Reed painting on location

Newbiggen by the Sea

A few weeks ago I was asked by one of my clients to paint a specific view of the Needle’s Eye. This unusual rock formation is situated at the south part of the beach at Newbiggen by the Sea on the Northumbrian coast. There are so many stunning places to paint on the  North East coast. The client provided me with several photographs of the view he had in mind. However, they were taken on a dull day and were not really suitable to paint from. In any case, I much prefer to paint on location and use my own photographs if necessary.


I went to find the spot that the client had in mind of the Needle’s Eye but I didn’t check the tides before setting off. It was high tide when I arrived, so it was not possible to paint from the view which the client had in mind. I decided to take advantage of the good weather and after exploring the area, I did a sketch book study from some rocks on the other side. I had to finish the study in my studio as waves were starting to land on my paint box!

Needle's Eye
Sketchbook Watercolour of Needle’s Eye

Needle’s Eye

Two days later, the weather was perfect, so after checking when low tide was, I arrived on time at 1:30 pm. I found a suitable rock from which to paint from and whipped out my paints. This gave me a great composition of the Needle’s Eye with foreground rocks and water. In typical fashion, I did two studies. One was in my leather bound sketch book, the other on a 12″ x 9″ Arches watercolour block of rough paper.

Needle's Eye
Sketchbook Watercolour of Needle’s Eye


Suddenly I was under pressure because the tide was starting to come in. Also the paint was taking too long to dry because of the cold. Therefore, I had to finish the larger painting from the warmth of my studio. Fortunately I managed to complete the sketch book study in situ. I showed the client the finished study and he was delighted. I’m going to frame it to match the other paintings he has purchased from me.

Needle's Eye
Original Watercolour of the Needle’s Eye

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