Apple Bobbing

Apples & Pear by Charlie O'Shields

In my quest to make doodlewashes of subjects I’ve never tried, today I chose a couple of my favorite fruits, apples and pears. I had less than 30 minutes to complete it, so I kept getting impatient waiting for the layers to dry, and bounced from fruit to fruit, hoping for the best. The pear was tough for me and seemed to require a ton of colors including: Azo Yellow, Gamboge, Phthalocyanine Green, Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue, Pyrrol Red and Neutral Tint.

The fun thing about choosing the doodlewash before the story is that I have to stare at the end result and see what memories it jogs. Philippe looked at this one and said, “That looks great! So I guess you must have a story about.. fruit?” I just stared at him and said, “Uhmmm… of course!” Meanwhile, inside my head, I said, “crap, crap, crap!”

So next, I’ll do what I always do and just start typing and see what comes out. I mean, who doesn’t have a great apple or pear story, right? Okay, I admit that I haven’t heard many. I must have one somewhere in my dusty memory, but the only thing that suddenly springs to mind is my age-old fear of apple bobbing.

I used to hate bobbing for apples as a kid, having only been forced to try it once or twice, and never attempted it again as an adult. For anyone who doesn’t know what this “game” consists of, you basically are disallowed the use of your arms (sometimes they’re actually tied behind your back) while you shove your face in a barrel of apples floating in water, desperately trying to grab one in your teeth like a wild animal.

It’s often a game played at Halloween parties and I used to dread it as a kid in grade school. I was a bit of an awkward child, on the chubby side, and too smart for my own good. I would watch in horror as my fellow students would shove their whole head in what was essentially a communal bowl of food. It grossed me out and seemed like the most unsanitary thing on the planet. I had no idea where these kids had been, and to risk drowning by shoving my face into a watery mess of food they’d licked at and attempted to gnaw on repulsed me.

I told my teacher I didn’t want to do it and she immediately launched into her teacher/mother voice and told me it was, “Fun! And I should give it a try!” Not to be dissuaded I asked her if we would also be eating off the same lunch tray later without the use of our hands? Her face recoiled and she said, “Ewww! That’s gross!” When I asked her to explain the difference between the two, she feebly said, “Charlie…they’re just apples…”

I was blissfully excused from this barbaric ritual that day and every day moving forward. But they did seem to be having fun. Those other kids, laughing and screaming and happily shoving their faces in that barrel. Perhaps I was missing out on something more than a sinus infection. I guess I’ll never know. Instead, I’ll just sit quietly at a table and consume my apple and pear while I practice the even older tradition of eating with one’s hands.

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you'd like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
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38 Comments
  1. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Haha funny story and awesome apple and pear! It’s amazing what can be done 30 minutes.

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! ❤️😃 I’m glad you like them! I don’t have as much time lately to doodlewash so I’m getting better at going faster. Hehe…or I guess just going for it! 😊

  2. Damita M-S 2 years ago

    The fruit is pretty can’t believe you did it in 30 mins. About the story, I did not like bobbing for apples because I can’t swim and the one time I did it I felt like I was drowning. Not my thing but it does look fun!

    • Author

      Hehe…yeah….I didn’t even mention the horrible drowning feeling!! 😳 Not my thing for sure! Lol Glad you liked the fruit doodlewash!! 😃

  3. Mamabear Chronicles 2 years ago

    I’m behind you 100% there!! Eating with ones hands is far better than some sort of sinus infection!! Blech!!

  4. Jacob 2 years ago

    That’s a lovely pear you have there, Charlie. I mean the apples are lovely too, of course, but that pear… amazing colour!

    You certainly plucked a good-un out of apparently a blind search 😛 I love how you were apparently a total smart-arse kid, answering back and stumping your teacher like that. Brilliant. I share your distaste at the whole concept of apple-bobbing. It doesn’t seem to be too ‘in’ over here – or perhaps we just realised how very awful it was – so mercifully I never had to suffer it!

    • Author

      Glad you liked the pear Jacob! Wasn’t sure I got the shadows right on it. 😃hehe… and yes, I was a total smart-arse as a kid…actually I also carried that into adulthood! 😊😊

  5. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    I love, love, love your fruit Charlie! Radiant apples and pear! More please!

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe!! ❤️😃I realized I have never attempted to paint fruit yet! Hehe…I’m sure I’ll try more after I’m done grabbing random things I’d like to doodlewash this month! Hehe

  6. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    Seriously, I share your EWWW reaction to bobbing for apples. Your painting, though, wow!! Those apples look so real and beautiful, I want to reach in, grab one and take a bite!

    • Author

      Hehe…yay! I knew you’d agree Teresa! 😉 And I’m glad you like the apples! ❤️😃I struggled with the reflections at first, but that’s one of the good things about a compressed time frame, you just have to go for it!! Hehe

  7. Wow! That’s so good! I especially for thirty minutes! The apples look really shiny!

  8. Kari 2 years ago

    I have never bobbed for apples! I don’t think I would enjoy it. But your fruits are gorgeous! So rich! I want to take a bite! 😊

    • Author

      Hehe…thanks Kari!! ❤️😃 Glad you liked my first fruits! Yay! And don’t bother with bobbing, it’s horrific! 😱LOL

  9. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Yes, who doesn’t have a great apple story? You make me laugh. Great painting too. Think I’ll go have an apple myself (honeycrisp–the best). (K)

  10. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    WOWZA! Charlie! I wouldn’t mind bobbing for apples if they looked like your painting! Love how REAL and delicious they look! After my own fruit painting, I am truly impressed! 😊 Can I ask how you used Neutral Tint? 🍏🍐🍎

    • Author

      Awwww thanks Jill!! Glad you liked them!! ❤️😃 And as for Neutral tint, I use it at the very end to over-exaggerate the shadows and dark areas so things look more dimensional and to add the surface shadows. Usually because I don’t have time for building up many layers! Hehe… I sometimes add a dot of color to the neutral tint if I’m applying it thicker (with less transparency) so it doesn’t look too flat or to add color to the shadows.

  11. Margaret Hunt 2 years ago

    Great sketch and love the story. What a fastidious child. Never occurred to me to worry about germs as a child lol.

    • Author

      lol…thanks friend!! Glad you liked both!! 😃 Yeah…I was a bit of a handful as a child according to my mother. 😊

      • Margaret Hunt 2 years ago

        One of mine was and still is a germophobe. Watched a germ video at the dr as a small child. Never recovered lol. 😊

      • Author

        Haha! I bet!! Those things are scary!! 😳

  12. Jodi 2 years ago

    Gorgeous fruit doodlewash! I can’t believe you created this beauty in 30 minutes! You are the apple of my eye!

  13. ann christina 2 years ago

    So beautiful, love the colors, light and shadow – it´s perfect!!! You´re so talented, Mr. Doodlewash! 😊

    • Author

      Awww you’re too sweet Ann!! ❤️😃So happy you liked these!! It was my first go at fruit so wasn’t sure what would happen! 😊😊

  14. rosjenke 2 years ago

    This is a wonderful painting. I’ve just gone back through your blog and your progress is amazing. Inspirational stuff.

    • Author

      Awww thanks Ros! 😃I truly appreciate you saying that! I felt like I was getting better, but I’m too close to it to tell! Lol I’m so happy you see improvement!! Yay!! 😃😃😃

  15. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Your fruit are gorgeous and look good enough to take a bite.

  16. Rachel Murphree 2 years ago

    These look great! very real…perfect colors. I too hate bobbing for apples, or even worse, the dreaded musical chairs with concurrent popping balloon noises.,,I am scarred for life from a few choice childhood parties…

  17. […] was just a year ago this month that I doodlewashed my first apple ever. In that post, I discussed my childhood aversion to apple bobbing. For this post, I’m […]

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