June 16, 2019

Area artist paints on old saw blades

DEXTER — Some painters find the landscape of central Maine to be the perfect setting for their work. While other artists capture the beauty of the land and wildlife on canvas, Janet Foster of Dexter has set herself apart by using an unusual item to paint on.

Saw blades are Foster’s canvases; the older and more unusual, the better. Foster spends a lot of time in antique shops and at auctions looking for her saws and has been known to pick up a plentiful supply at yard sales. Foster uses all types of saw blades, circular, cross-cut, and even chainsaw blades.

Foster says that painting has been a part of her life for some time. She has no formal training in art, she says, but she knows that she enjoys doing it and that others find her work appealing.

In addition to improving the demand for her work, painting on saws is a way to preserve the old tools, she said. Some saws that Foster buys are in rough shape when she gets them home. She spends a great deal of time preparing the metal surface for painting.

To remove the rust, Foster uses a rust oxidizer and works at removing all of the dirt to have a clean surface on which to paint.

Foster started marketing her art 15 years ago by painting on small beach stones. She worked with cloth for a while, later painting scenes on little wooden boxes which were sold at gift shops. One day, she said, she read a magazine article about a person who painted on old saws and she decided to try her hand.

Today, a long cross-cut blade is used for a winter scene. A circular saw blade features a moose along a lake side. Other saw blades have birds, deer and farm scenes painted on them.

Foster uses other unusual items to paint on. Old washboards are a favorite, she says. She replaces the metal workings of the board with a canvas and uses the wooden part to frame her work. Foster also paints on slate and now is painting scenes on cloth lampshades.

Foster says she finds farm scenes a popular setting for her paintings as well as wildlife. She also does commission work and will paint pictures of people’s homes or pets. All that is needed is a photograph of the scene.

The uniqueness of Foster’s work has been profitable for her. Buyers tell her that her art makes the perfect gift for relatives who are hard to buy for. Foster markets her work at area craft fairs and will be display her works at the March 24 Brewer Eagles Club fair; the April 7 and 8 show at the Rotary Club in Old Town; and at the May 5 and 6 show at the University of Maine. Orders may be placed by calling her at 924-3647.

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