Here is how I paint my miniature jack-o-lanterns
Colors on my palette:
(Delta Ceramcoat Acrylic Paints)
Dark Forest Green
In general if you want a more natural look to your paints for things like apples, leaves, (pumpkins) you will get better results if you add a small amount of the base color's complimentary color into the mixture. This is why I have phthalo blue on my palette for the pumpkins.
Start by mixing a base color for the pumpkin with 1 part red to
2 parts yellow (9 drops red and 18 drops yellow is a good amount
to start with) then add a TINY amount of phthalo blue.
(mix red and yellow and just barely dip one edge
of paintbrush into the phthalo blue, then mix into orange).
Phthalo blue is a very strong color, so a small amount will do.
If you get too much blue in the mixture you will end up with brown
instead of pumpkin orange - just add some more yellow and red
to the paint mixture to fix this problem.
This is a photo of the difference between pure orange (on the left),
and orange with blue mixed in (on the right).
I had a hard time trying to get the colors to show
up accurately on the digital photo, but trust me, the color on the right is
a much more natural pumpkin color. You'll just have to try it to see
how much better the color looks with the addition of it's complimentary color.
Now you have this puddle of basic pumpkin color - we are going to work
from this for the other colors, starting with the color for the inside of the
pumpkin. Pull some paint away from the puddle and add in 4 or 5 drops of
yellow, 1 drop golden brown, and 4 or 5 drops white. In this instance, it's
better to get the mixture too light than too dark, since for a miniature jack-o-lantern
there is not going to be much actual light coming in from the front (if you are
going to be lighting your jack, you might want to add a bit more yellow and
golden brown if using a white light, or a bit more white if using an amber light).
Paint the inside of the pumpkin, making sure to
paint the edges of cut-out areas
(and don't forget the top!)
Next make another small puddle with about 1 part
burnt umber and a small amount of dark forest green,
then pull some of your base pumpkin color into
the mixture. Make a wash of this color and apply to
Then paint the outside with your base pumpkin color.
Brush a light wash of burnt umber over the entire
jack-o-lantern, stem and all. This will deepen the colors,
enhance the sculpting, and help blend the edges
between the inside and outside colors.
Next we are going to highlight the raised sections.
Into your puddle of base color, mix a little white
and yellow. Make a wash of this color and dry brush
ACROSS the pumpkin, just hitting the raised areas.
(it may seem like an oxymoron to "dry brush" a wash,
but here is how to do it - create the wash, load your
brush, then wipe most of it off on a paper towel before
applying to pumpkin. If you can see brush strokes,
you can blend them in with your fingertip.)
When that layer of paint is dry, go over jack once more with a very light wash of the base color.
Dry brush stem across the grain with a mixture of burnt umber and white.
When those layers are dry, add a final light wash of burnt umber over the entire jack-o-lantern.
The final step is to let the paint dry, then buff
with a piece of brown paper bag until the
jack-o-lantern has a soft sheen.