By Dave Warner

Adrienne Watson has been following Bill Elkin and Dudley Breed and their work as Urban Sketchers for almost a year and invited them to do a two-day workshop with Little Falls Middle and High School students.

Elkin is an author & artist, and Breed is a landscape architect and artist. They’re both retired and belong to the Urban Sketchers of Syracuse.

On Wednesday, the pair presented to students in the media room, and on Thursday, 45 of them headed down to Canal Place to sketch.

Watson said, “It started with wanting to support the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts and Canal Place, and I received a Donors Choose grant for all of the supplies, so that’s what got the ball rolling.”

After that, Watson started looking for Urban Sketchers but found no local ones. “There are none in this area, so it’s brand new. That’s what’s exciting about it.”

Sue Murphy led Watson to Elkin and Breed, and she started watching what they were doing in Syracuse.

Watson calls Urban Sketching the cousin to En Plein Air painting, a more formal, fine art way of painting. “This approach is a lot more open-ended and a little more free. That’s why I wanted them to learn it.”

She involved many of the businesses in Canal Place, letting them know that the students would be descending on the area and potentially sketching their location.

“My goal after this is to take these illustrations and highlight Canal Place. Maybe we put some on coffee mugs or have them hanging on the business walls,” she said.

Watson stated, “Observational drawing is a key foundational skill for when they get to high school, so this is a good way to get them into it.”

She said she was impressed that the students just got into it and didn’t seem afraid to try. “Once you get into it, you don’t have the stress of perfect perspective and shading. You just enjoy it.”

Watson said the student’s work was better than she thought it would be.