SKOWHEGAN — Hand-crafted wooden canoe paddles, painted with wildlife animal scenes, were put on display in the Town Office lobby Tuesday in a labor of love that began about three years ago.

The paddles, made by Cornville woodworker John Dow and deftly painted by current and former students and teachers of the Skowhegan Adult Education program, are on sale, with the proceeds going to the Somerset Humane Society.

“They’re different styles, different sizes and different shapes and were all made by John Dow at his shop; and I sanded them and varnished them and got them ready to paint,” said project coordinator Peggy Riley, of Canaan, who recently retired after 20 years of teaching oil painting in adult education classes. “We sell them to support the animal shelter. I love animals. I have four shelter cats. They’re just the best pets.”

Each painted paddle costs $200.

Contributor Janine Folsom said she has since taken over the adult education oil painting classes.

“I’m an animal lover. Most of my paintings are about animals,” Folsom said. “What better cause to donate to?”

Painted subjects on the paddles include an eagle, loons, a bear hugging a tree, a moose on a lake by Frank Chin, gulls flying over the ocean and a puppy looking at fish in a pond. There also is a paddle painted by professional photographer Peter Foxwell, of Skowhegan, and one by Shirley Foxwell, his sister-in-law and a member of the Painter’s Club at the adult education program. Another contributor is Donna LaLiberty, of Winslow.

Bonnie Brooks, of Harmony, lead adoption specialist at the animal shelter, said most of the money will be used in the spaying and neutering program, the thing the shelter needs the most money for.

Riley said the paddles — eight in all — will be on display and on sale until they are sold, hopefully by Christmas.

Anyone interested in viewing or buying one of the painted paddles can do so by visiting the Skowhegan Town Office in the Opera House on Water Street or by calling Cara Mason, a humane society board member and executive secretary to the Skowhegan town manager at 474-6907.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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