Just Before Sunset Watercolor Demo – Step 3

It looks like someone just plugged in the pumpkin!  The use of color opposites or near opposites in split-complimentary color choices yields an electrifying, vibrational brilliance.  All four pigments in varying degrees were used.

I think these little pumpkins are great watercolor subjects and once bought twelve  to give to each of my students to paint. In case you want to find some too, the correct name is dumpling squash.

I first painted the pumpkin shape with water and then applied light washes of new gamboge and ultramarine violet. While damp, I dropped in thicker mixtures of cadmium orange and slightly neutralized hooker’s green which created the soft edges. When completely dry, I used heavier neutralized colors for the stem and lifted out the lighter shapes with a damp flat brush.

The key with this method is not to overwork. My intent is to get the colors down in one stroke or one touch of the brush.

Also notice, while this is a representational style, I am not trying to exactly copy the markings on the dumpling squash.

Our life

Is frittered away

By detail…

Simplify, simplify.

– Henry David Thoreau


In other words, no amount of detail in our paintings can cover up weak shapes and poor composition.


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