Pumpkin with a molded face.

I started making pumpkins with painted clay faces back in 1991. In several of those twenty-some years, I made as many as six for friends and colleagues. I thought faces on inanimate objects would be an interesting way to make a photo illustration. My first was an apple with a surprised look as it fell from a tree. Pumpkins were a natural follow-up; I made them at Halloween for clients and for the bar at the restaurant I cooked for. Then Photoshop happened. Continuing to try to use the illustration idea in a world suddenly filled with easy digital perfection seemed silly, but the idea of a realistic pumpkin was still a lot of fun. The pumpkins rot away, leaving their painted clay faces. I think the impermanence of the piece adds to the fun. This is my return after several years of being too busy and I thought to take a few snapshots during the process. Not many. I hate taking pictures. But making the pumpkins is a lot of fun. I think I’ll enter this one in the Library’s pumpkin carving contest.

The process is straightforward: I push modeling clay onto a pumpkin and sculpt it into the shape I want. The clay gets finished with acrylic paint. Pretty simple. The faces have evolved, of course. I paint the eyes and teeth naturally for no reason other than I think they look good that way. They get finished with acrylic gloss medium. Everything else is painted with orange that’s mixed to match the pumpkin.

Edit added Nov 3:

It was a good fight, and we won! A tad worse for the battle, but folks usually poke and prod. Totally expected, though always a bit disheartening.

5 replies on “pumpkin”

    1. Hi Cindy. Everybody has been asking that; I guess I should have taken a picture. The teeth are just small pieces of modeling clay, rolled and painted.

      1. It is so nice to see one of your pumpkin creations again. The teeth definitely make it scary. Imagine if it could float or “swim in the air, like a pumpkin piraña. That is what my mind goes to. Imagine the terror of being chased by a swarm of pumpkin piraña? Lock the doors, block the windows, there is a swarm of PPs outside. ;-)

        1. Hi Kim! They would swarm, wouldn’t they? And bounce after people. I think there’s a game in that… Biting Piranha Pumpkins. You’d see them the way folks see Pokemon creatures, only the pumpkins chase you whenever you use your camera.

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