Hail is one of those subjects which is very difficult to capture in a realist landscape painting. The question is asked of the viewer: is it snow, ice or a mistake by the artist? Phenomenal natural events, like a spectacular sunset, cause a similar reaction. I did a painting with a rainbow a few months ago (here) and the same issue arose. If I didn’t give the viewer a clue as to what the ‘white’ in the painting was, would you have assumed a lighting effect, or a light fall of snow? This is the problem. I like my painting to be able to stand alone and be accepted as it is without excuses or explanations. That is the type of painting it is, but I accept this does not apply to all paintings. At one point in the painting of this picture (see video), the hail was heavy on the ground as it had been in reality. But, as far as the viewer was concerned, it was snow. I then reduced the ‘white’ gradually by reapplying the original colour until an ambiguity existed, it could be light snow, or hail, or just dried-out undergrowth. It could survive as a ‘standard’ landscape, without the explanation, but the title ‘explains’ the rather odd white bits and why they sit in the shadow areas.
The painting is quite small (11″x8″) and took about 2 hours to complete. The colours were Burnt Sienna & Raw Umber (red), Yellow Ochre (yellow) and Prussian Blue (blue), plus black and white. There was very little medium used. A tiny amount of Liquin in the final details. The initial ‘darks’ were not dark enough to create problems as the solvent evaporated, and the darker colours were some of the last bits painted and these did contain Liquin.
Here is the video of the process.