Fall Painting Project: Autumn Pumpkin Still Life

Warm hot chocolate or apple cider, crisp leaves, and a nip in the air are all pleasures of having a walk in the woods with a thermos in hand. Add pumpkins to your walk, and fall is before you. Paint this pumpkin still life with autumn leaves to adorn any wall in your home using our step by step instructions. This fall painting project is perfect for a group painting session to do with friends.   



FREE Pumpkin Template PDF Download

KINGART Supplies:

KINGART® Stretched White Canvas 12" x 12", 100% Cotton, Gesso-Primed, 8-Pack - SKU 804-8
KINGART® PRO Artist Acrylic Paint, 22ml (0.74oz), Set of 48 Colors - SKU 500-48
KINGART® Original Gold® 9550 Wash Glaze Series, Premium Golden Taklon Multimedia Artist Brushes Size 3/4 - SKU 9550-3/4
KINGART® Original Gold® 9300 Shader Series, Premium Golden Taklon Multimedia Artist Brushes Size 4 - SKU 9300-4
KINGART® Original Gold® 9400 Angular Shader Series Brush, Premium Synthetic Golden Taklon, Short Handle Size 1/2 - SKU 9400-1/2
KINGART® Premium Original Gold® 9270 Oval Flat Mop Brush, Soft Natural Goat Hair, Short Handle Size 3/8 - SKU 9270-3/8
KINGART® Original Gold® 9375 Mid-Length Liner Series, Premium Golden Taklon Multimedia Artist Brushes Size 10/0 - SKU 9375-10/0
KINGART® Original Gold® 9000 Round Series Brush, Premium Synthetic Golden Taklon, Short Handle Size 4 - SKU 9000-4
KINGART® Graphite Transfer Paper, 9" X 13", 25 Sheets - SKU 669
KINGART® Studio Multi-Purpose Brush Basin - SKU 902
KINGART® Stainless Steel Artists Palette Knife, Painting Mixing Scraper, Size 2 - SKU 910-2

Additional Supplies:
1" bristle chip brush
Tracing paper
Red Ink Pen (to see where you have traced the pattern on tracing paper)
Painter's Tape
Paper Towels
Hair Dryer (optional)


NOTE: Use appropriate brush size to accommodate area unless specified differently. Dilute paint with water to spread more easily by using a household hand-held sprayer and misting onto paint on palette. Use a palette knife to mix paint. When painting the leaves, be creative as no two leaves look exactly alike during the fall season.


Using ruler and pen, draw a horizontal line 3” from bottom of canvas. Place painter’s tape along this line with the top of the tape touching the pencil line. Tape together two pattern sections, overlapping to have pattern match. Trace pattern onto tracing paper. Lay pattern onto canvas with bottom edge of right pumpkin on lower edge of painter’s tape. To keep pattern from moving, tape top of pattern with a piece of tape. Slip graphite in between tracing paper and canvas being sure carbon side is downward. Using stylus, trace just the outline edge of two pumpkins and leaves to give a guideline for painting the background and tabletop.


(See photos above) Using palette knife, mix together equal parts of Lamp Black and Brown. Using 3/4" Wash brush, dip tips of bristles into water. Brush this color onto the background avoiding the inside area of the pumpkins. Don’t worry about staying in the lines as the pattern will be reapplied for the entire pumpkin.

Using pure bristle brush, tip ends into water. Pick up Soft Beige and work on palette. Streak horizontally on background. Do not over do, as streaking will resemble weathering. Allow to dry completely.

(See photos above) Place painter’s tape along top edge of canvas. Leaving 1/8” space, apply a second length of tape. Apply a third piece of tape butted up to the second piece. On the fourth piece of tape, place 1/8” below third piece of tape. Continue to the bottom edge of painted edge along main piece of tape.

Using No. 4 Shader, paint 1/8” horizontal openings with Brown. Allow to dry. Remove all tape.


(See photos above) Remove tape and shade along the top and bottom of each brown horizontal line using a floating technique. Allow to dry. 


To get a crisp line between the tabletop and the background planks, apply a strip of tape with bottom of the tape along your pencil line. Using Soft Beige, apply to tabletop and without cleaning the brush add Burnt Sienna in the upper left area streaking into the Soft Beige. Allow to dry.


Reapply pattern. If the background color is over the pumpkin original lines, apply Soft Beige to regain the pumpkin as the pumpkin color will be easier to apply.


Basecoat pumpkin in Orange Yellow, which will take multiple coats. Use a hair dryer to accelerate drying time, if needed.

(See photos below.) Using the Soft Beige, basecoat leaves, stems, and “Autumn”.


Using pattern, apply lines onto pumpkin, not solid lines but broken lines as these will be a guide for indented creases. Using Mop, tap into Red Ochre mixture (equal parts of Red Ochre and Orange Yellow). Wipe excess paint onto paper toweling. Soften mixed color on left side of each pumpkin and left side of each leaf to give a shadow onto each pumpkin. Using that same mixture, add “crease” lines on both pumpkins with the Mop. On right side of each pumpkin, add Pale Yellow to right side of each “crease”. If too much is applied, come back with Orange Yellow. Using Titanium white and Mop, add a reflection to each pumpkin. If desired, lightly tap in some Pale Yellow around the outer edge of the reflection shape. When dry, make a mixture of Orange Yellow and water to be the consistency of tomato soup. Using 3/4" Wash, apply the soupy mixture over both pumpkins.


Basecoat over Soft Beige with Yellow Green. Using Mop, soften in a Viridian shadow on left side and use Emerald Green on opposite side for highlighting. Once dry, float some Pale Yellow on the highlight side, but not too much.


GREEN LEAF (right side) (See photos below)

Basecoat an equal mixture of Sap Green and Deep Yellow over entire leaf. Allow to dry. Using Sap Green, add a shadow on left side and tucking it under the next leaf. Using Deep Yellow and a touch of Sap Green (you can brush mix these two together), tickle this mixture into the lower right area. Allow to dry. Dip your Mop into both the Orange Yellow and a tad of Crimson Red. With a soft touch, add over the Deep Yellow mixture.  Using Liner, add Sap Green veins referring to pattern for placement.


Basecoat in Deep Yellow. While paint is still wet, use mop to apply Burnt Sienna to the top of the leaf. Lightly tip Burnt Sienna to the curved tips on left side. Use Orange Yellow to add more vibrancy randomly on leaf. Using a round brush, add Burnt Sienna veins.


RED LEAF (Use photos above)

Basecoat in Deep Yellow. Mix equal parts of Deep Yellow and Crimson Red together and apply over the Deep Yellow basecoat. If the leaf is too red for personal liking, add one coat of Deep Yellow. Dilute Orange Yellow with water to make a soupy consistency and “wash” over the leaf to tone down the vibrancy. Streak in some Orange Yellow. Highlight with Lemon Yellow and shade with Raw Umber. Do not clean out the Raw Umber from the brush as you will need to do some horizontal streaking on the tabletop. To leaf, add some Raw Umber veins.  


Basecoat in Yellow Ochre. Soften ends in Burnt Sienna and add Yellow Ochre to blend colors together so a line won’t appear. Add Deep Yellow to top three sections for highlight. Add Lemon Yellow over Deep Yellow. Touch in some Orange Yellow. Add Burnt Sienna veins.


Basecoat with a mixture of 2 parts Deep Yellow and 1 part Sap Green (2:1). Use Burnt Sienna to add “dry” areas here and there. Using mop, add some Deep Yellow for highlighting and streaking. Veins are done in Sap Green using the liner brush.


Referring to photo, refer to shaded areas around leaves and use darkest color for each leaf for shading onto other leaves plus shadows onto the tabletop. Intensify the shadows along the back edge of the tabletop in Raw Umber. Paint 1/4”-1/2” along the left side of each pumpkin and stem to cast a shadow on the background. Referring to the photo, be sure the shadows are cast under the left green leaf and add a heavier application of Raw Umber between the red leaf and the left green leaf.


Be sure each letter is basecoated in Soft Beige. Paint each letter in the color of choice. The photo shows Deep Yellow for the color. On the left side of each letter, paint a line in Raw Umber for a cast shadow. Add a Titanium White highlight to each letter on right side. 



Margaret Riley has been in the hobby, craft, and painting industry for 43 years. During that time, she has worn a lot of different hats. She’s owned two stores, worked in traveling sales, designed for a multitude of companies, did product development, did editing and worked for publications, has been published many times, worked at trade shows, has taught classes, and just keeps doing what she loves! She has two sons, a daughter-in-law, and 4 smart grandchildren. Her spare time is spent working in her flower gardens and landscaping year-round (Margaret lives in Florida!).

Reviews (1 comment)

  • Jayne Ficken On

    Very cute fall project. Thank you Natalie Boone & Kingart for providing this free tutorial. Looking forward to trying it. ❤

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