New exhibit highlights Renfrew's opening day

April 24, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -The images in Charles Brown's paintings were supposed to come from a wheat harvest exhibit he attended at Renfrew Museum and Park in 2006.

But when creating the paintings, childhood memories spewed from the brush onto the canvas. The sights, smells and excitement of helping cousins thresh wheat, having to hitchhike from Hagerstown to get to their farm in Greencastle, Pa. - all these things came to mind when he saw the exhibit at Renfrew.

The 2006 exhibit and the memories it stirred were what inspired Brown to create the 12 watercolor paintings that will be on view at Renfrew's Visitors Center starting Saturday, April 26. Brown's paintings will be shown through Saturday, May 10.

The exhibit is part of Renfrew's opening day ceremonies Saturday in Waynesboro. Attendees will have a chance to meet Brown, 78, of Chambersburg, Pa.


Organizers said the event is a tribute to traditional artistry, fitting for the restored farmstead that now serves as a museum dedicated to showcasing the region's agricultural history.

On opening day, local artisans will show off their skills and visual artists will exhibit their work. Demonstrations include glass bead making, botanical imprinting and paper cutting.

Artist and historian Becky Dietrich of Mont Alto, Pa., will exhibit a few of her paintings and will sign copies of her new book, "Artists of the Cumberland Valley 1976-1995."

Ed Beard will exhibit his hand-crafted shaker boxes.

Brown, a retired rocket engineer and U.S. Marine, said he likes for his paintings to convey action and movement. In "Cutting Wheat," above, on view at the Renfrew exhibit, the wind seems to blow through a wheat field as four harnessed horses driven by a patient farmer plod past.

Brown said the subject matter for the Renfrew paintings stirred up childhood memories - like the time in the 1940s when his father had promised to help relatives in Greencastle when threshing time came. They still used horses to work the land, Brown said.

When threshing time arrived, Brown and his father had no way to get to Greencastle. World War II was under way and they had already used up their gas ration. So they stood at Randolph Avenue and Potomac Street and stuck out their thumbs.

They managed to nab a ride to Greencastle, but the ride stopped two miles short of where they needed to be. They walked the rest of the way.

Brown said he hopes that people who view his paintings share his experience.

"I want them to see what I saw," Brown said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Opening Day, Renfrew Museum and Park celebrates its 33rd season.

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 26

WHERE: Renfrew Museum and Park, 1010 E. Main St., Waynesboro, Pa.

COST: Free. Museum admission fees still apply for tours.

MORE: Go to or call 717-762-4723.

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