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Heritage and Heroism: Andrea Sawyer Captures the F/V Glutton on Canvas

Andrea Sawyer painting in the studio.

by Steve Desroches

It was just before Christmas last year when artist Andrea Sawyer received a call from the organizers of the annual Provincetown Portuguese Festival inviting her to be the official artist of the event and to complete a commission to paint the F/V Glutton, one the active boats in Provincetown’s fishing fleet. She was surprised and delighted, especially since the image she would create would be reproduced hundreds of times over on the festival’s t-shirt. But the painting would have to be completed by late February in order to meet printing deadlines and Sawyer was about to head to Puerto Rico for a month with her husband Dr. Brian O’Malley. She said yes before she could say no. And upon return to Provincetown, she “hit the studio hard” and created a beautiful painting of a vessel with a courageous story, a fitting artistic accomplishment for a festival that honors the town’s Portuguese community and its fishing heritage.

“It’s of a real boat, which is a bit like painting a portrait,” says Sawyer. “I wanted to catch the actual look, the feeling of the boat like a portrait.”

Sawyer poured through photographs as well as visited MacMillan Pier frequently to see the F/V Glutton in various days, times, and lighting, as well as in action and at rest in port. Since it is a working boat, Sawyer didn’t want to create an image of the Glutton festooned in flags and banners as it would be for the annual Blessing of the Fleet. She wanted to get the movements right as well as how her bow cuts through the water as well as the draft. She became a student of the fishing vessel and chose to depict the boat during the early morning hours for a softer light and the “delicious” colors it produces. The completed painting shows the Glutton pulling away from MacMillan Pier on a calm morning heading to sea with a crew hopeful for a safe journey and a good catch.

The Glutton by Andrea Sawyer is the official image of this year’s Provincetown Portuguese Festival.

The painting, which was officially unveiled at a special reception at the Red Inn on May 4, is also a document of a vessel that is particularly important to the maritime heritage of Provincetown. The 48-foot boat was built in 2003 in Lower Woods Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada, as the Misty Marie, according to Building Provincetown, the website created by David Dunlop documenting the history of the town “through its built environment.” Captain Beau Gribbin bought the vessel in 2009 and renamed her the F/V Glutton, a name honoring Gribbin’s step-grandfather Herman Tasha. The Glutton mainly goes out for scallops and trap lobsters.

Any boat in Provincetown’s small, but proud fleet is important to the town economically and culturally, but the Glutton also represents an act of heroism. On November 18, 2012 the Glutton was off Race Point when it noticed another Provincetown boat, Twin Lights, which was about a mile away, in peril. On board the Twin Lights was Captain Jean Frottier and first mate Eric Rego. Captain Frottier was trying to free the rake on the scalloper when tragedy struck. “There was a big easterly swell, and Jean was towing to the east when he got hung up on bottom,” Gribbon said in the Provincetown Banner. “He came around to the west, which would be down sea, and he tried to straighten out the situation he had, and it just went bad. … We had a visual on him. The boat just rolled over immediately.” In an act the Coast Guard Station Provincetown called “swift, unselfish, and courageous” the Glutton sped over to the Twin Lights saving Rego. Sadly, Frottier did not survive and the Twin Lights sank in the chilly waters.

Having this painting that combines Provincetown’s fishing and artistic heritage, is fitting and has become a part of the Portuguese Festival. And it helps to spread the story of the Glutton as many will now see it and have the chance to share the vessel’s legacy by purchasing a t-shirt featuring it. Sawyer knows the power of having an original image reproduced in such a fashion. A native of Maine, Sawyer was on a trip to Provincetown in 1997 with her late husband Larry Sawyer, and she created a painting of the home of Stormy Mayo and Laura Ludwig, which in the warm months is full of beautiful dahlias. That painting went on to be the cover of rural Maine’s Pinetree Garden Seeds catalog.

Just two years prior to that visit was when Sawyer made her first trip to Provincetown and she admits that she “got bit by the bug before we even got off 6A” falling in love with the town. She and Larry stayed in an apartment she still calls “the garret” above Fanizzi’s Restaurant-by-the-Sea with a view facing the length of the beach. She thought to herself, “I’m going to live here someday.” And as life changes and sends us in all kinds of directions, she did indeed move here in 2012.

“I was ecstatic,” says Sawyer. “It was a dream of mine to move to Provincetown and paint. And I did.”

The official Portuguese Festival sweatshirt is on sale throughout the weekend. 

Festival shirts featuring Sawyer’s painting of the F/V Glutton are available the Seamen’s Bank branches at Commercial Street and in North Truro in Portuguese Square on Ryder Street during the festival, which runs Friday, June 28 through Sunday, June 30. For more information on the Provincetown Portuguese Festival visit

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Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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