It was of a plate of fruit. A still life if you could call it that. Grey paper with a nice tooth and two charcoal sticks. The rectangular kind, not round. One black. One white. The thicker black stick was unbelievably dry. Granular, powdery, jet black with no gloss.
Like deep space blackhole black. The black dust was so fine that it filled the fingerprints of my 5 year old fingers. Rubbing an edge of that black against that grainy paper was almost unbearable. But I needed that black.
The white on the other hand was cool and soft to the touch. It felt moist on my fingers. What a relief to that black! It was liquid. It filled the paper, sliding easily over the rough bumps.
And so I drew this still life. Deep black diagonals making diamonds on the pineapple. Dry shading on a juicy peach. A sweeping banana.
The plate reminds me of a shallow canoe dug out of a mahogany tree by a Jivaro tribesman somewhere on the Amazon.
It was the first time I understood that the act of creating was as satisfying as the image itself.
I also remember I was wearing a Batman tee shirt and had a runny nose when I drew it. I was just a kid drawing some fruit. But, it's with me every time I pick up a brush or pencil.