The outside skin of the Higuera is different in quality than the insides. While the inside is a little porous, the outside might resist paint a little more. If you are using it in its green skin state, it is better to wait until it is dried and has turned a little brown to apply paint to the outside. I use acrylic paint on the outside also. I typically leave a little of the natural wood to show with a coat of varnish to bring out the rich grandular grains of the Higuera.
The pulp of the Higuera is easy to take out if it is done when the gourd is still in its green color state. You can use a spoon and scoop it out. Seed are still unformed, and you are able to scrap all the soft fiber away from the wood like skin. If you got it all it will dry white. Put it in the sun for a while. Or you can start working on it right away. I have found that letting the water go out of the skin a little, stops it from warping later on when you carve into it.
Late summer in Puerto Rico is when you start to see these fruit like gourds growing in abundance on trees along side many a road ways, or cow pasture, or abandoned lot.
When the have reached maturity they fall to the ground most often than not in tact. Where they stay until, rotted or someone harvests them. The best time to collect these however is before they become dry and still have their glossy green skin.
They are much easier to open and clean and sculpt or carve. Plus they tend to smell when they are dry rotted on the ground. The pulp turns black, sometimes mold grows, and insects inhabit the gourds.