Artist has right touch for Carroll Paintings promote small-town life

December 18, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

When officials in Carroll County's Office of Economic Development wanted to promote the county's small-town flavor, they found a perfect match in artist Susan Davis.

The Rockville watercolor artist, known for her New Yorker magazine covers and her work in Western Maryland College's alumni magazine, painted the 21 county scenes in the office's new promotional folder.

The folder will be sent to companies interested in moving to Carroll County, as well as prospective investors.

"The reason we chose her [Ms. Davis] is that the piece [folder] needs to be sophisticated and friendly, but not cute," said Eileen Shields, marketing manager for the economic development office. "It's real easy to slip over into cute.

"It needs that certain feeling -- serious and yet warm. She did that very well."

The light-green folder depicts daily life in Carroll County with small paintings of businesses and buildings of historic interest, interwoven with short tales about each town.

"When I show the streetscapes to people from the town, they know exactly which buildings they are," said Ms. Shields, who wrote the text and directed the project.

Ms. Davis said that it was Ms. Shields' text which guided her work.

"The text had a very charming tone," said the 44-year-old artist. "I really liked the personality of the text and that there was a chatty way about the copy that was very friendly. It's like reading a personal letter."

Ms. Davis also said that the text fitted well with her usual style of painting.

"I thought it [the text] was delightful, with that Grandma Moses feeling," she said. "I usually paint in the Grandma Moses style, and she [Ms. Shields] knew that in advance."

A natural love of the county helped Ms. Davis do the promotional work, she said.

"I think the suggestion that large business move to Carroll is perfectly credible," Ms. Davis said. "If I had a job with a large company in the city that wanted to relocate to Carroll, I'd be happy.

"I love the county, it's a beautiful place. There's something charming about each town."

Ms. Davis also said that she admired the office's honest approach in promoting the county.

"I think it's in Eileen's favor that she gave Carroll County a very sincere representation, while promoting it as well," Ms. Davis said.

"A lot of counties try to exaggerate their attributes to get your attention. She was able to focus on what was available in Carroll County and that what is good about the county is good enough."

The cost for the project came to $20,500, which includes printing, packaging and envelopes, said William E. Jenne, the county's business development manager.

Ms. Davis was paid $4,400 for the 21 watercolors that she created over a period of three months, Mr. Jenne said.

"Art is difficult to quantitatively measure," Mr. Jenne said. "But without her, the concept would not have been possible. She has a unique style that we molded the project around."

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