Festival poster has seven tales to tell

Woodbine artist used parks and rec employees

May 06, 2010|By Janene Holzberg, Special to The Baltimore Sun

While most pictures tell a story, this year's Wine in the Woods poster has seven tales to share.

For Woodbine artist Brenda Kidera, who was commissioned by the county's recreation and parks department to create the collectible advertisement for the wine festival, it all began with a camera and a computer.

"My husband and I took photos of each other in different poses, and then I [joined] them together on my computer — four of him and three of me," said Kidera, who is married to metal sculptor Ed Kidera and has been a self-employed graphic designer for 28 years.

Once the concept for a seven-person watercolor portrait was approved, Kidera asked for advice on where to get models and received a "wonderful suggestion" from Mary Ellen Baker, festival manager.

"She said, 'Why don't you use rec and parks employees?' and I thought that was a great idea," said the artist, a Towson University fine arts graduate who also teaches adult art classes through the recreation and parks department.

Kidera walked around the department's two buildings off Oakland Mills Road in Columbia, snapping photos of 50 employees and then set about selecting from among them a good cross section of faces based on age and ethnic background, among other factors.

"They were all so wonderful it was hard to choose," she said, but she finally narrowed it down to four women and three men holding a variety of objects, including wineglasses, a paintbrush and a saxophone.

Kidera had to resize the images she captured in her photos and then figure out how to interlock them in a composition that would be pleasing to the eye, she said.

Normally, having seven people stand that close together would require a depth of about 8 feet and their faces would be different sizes from the front of the painting to the back, she said. But she made the intentional artistic decision to place them on the same plane so they would all bear equal weight in the arrangement.

Kidera also altered the colors of the models' clothing to bring out the hues of the grapes on the vines that wrap around the poster's edges.

She estimated she spent 100 hours on the watercolor painting, getting it from "an idea in my head to the final product."

"It was such an upbeat and fun project and the poster is different than anything the festival has used before," said Kidera, who will be in a VIP tent signing posters that festival guests purchase.

Karen Bradley, special events coordinator, seconded that notion.

"We sell posters during the festival and expect this one to be popular," said Bradley, and not only to people who haven't missed a year and want to keep their collection intact.

"It's just been a great experience," said Kidera. "I knew when I accepted the project that I would put a lot of hours into it, but it's been worth every minute."

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