Inaugural art class “Truth in Drawing” and the feast of St. Joseph at the CSF studios

Last week a class of thirty joined CSF Artist-in-Residence Andrew de Sa at the Carl Schmitt Studios for a course entitled “Truth in Drawing: How to Draw with Your Eyes, Not with Your Head.”  The group of local middle school girls also got a look at the art and sketchbooks and journals in the studios, explored Carl Schmitt’s house, and heard a bit about his life and work before crowning the afternoon with a celebration of the Feast of St. Joseph.
After the Opening Tour, everyone settled into the working studio and Andrew brought out his easel.  Using an apple as his subject, he began with a drawing demonstration.  The students then set about their work, each attempting, with some coaching from Andrew, to capture the “realness,” the peculiarities, the roundness, and the light upon the apples in front of them.
When they had put their signatures on their first drawings, the students headed to the house of Carl and Gertrude (“Mamo”) Schmitt.  In Mamo’s charming flagstone-floor kitchen they piped ricotta cheese filling into their homemade St. Joseph zeppole, which they enjoyed with a cup or two of tea.  Back upstairs in Carl and Gertrude’s living room they gathered around the Schmitt family’s statue of the Infant of Prague, the same shrine where the family would pray each night for the safe return of Schmitt’s sons from war.
Because it was the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19), the Infant was joined by a little St. Joseph statue from the family’s nativity set, made by the artist’s son David when he was a boy.  Around the statue we placed homemade shaped breads for a little “St. Joseph Table” of our own.  There, we sang songs in honor of St. Joseph and songs for the season of Lent, including the lovely Italian hymn “Glory be to Jesus“.  We closed with a prayer to the Holy Infant and the Litany of St. Joseph to ask his special protection for all of our fathers.

Detail of Carl Schmitt’s pastel of his family’s statue of the Infant of Prague, traditionally invoked for protection in time of war.

After a supper of homemade minestrone soup and our St. Joseph bread, we gathered all of the donations that the girls brought for the needy who visit the Merton Center, a local food pantry.  In all a wonderful afternoon with a truly remarkable, energetic, and fun group of girls and their mothers, and the first of many courses and events at the CSF Home and Studios.

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