As I was about to interview Andrea (Andi) Sawyer, Provincetown artist, about her dozen oil on canvas, 18 by 24-inch paintings memorializing beloved portraiture artist Ilona Royce Smithkin (who passed away in 2021 at the age of 101) in her Provincetown atelier, I saw a sweatshirt logo,
“Be Who You Want to Be,” and then read a line about one’s presentation of self as “the curated performance of identity.”
“That fits Ilona perfectly!” Sawyer said with a smile. Both bits seem to fit Sawyer and Smithkin, alike. Both are late bloomers with unique styles.
Sawyer was a wife, mother of four and career woman who designed kitchens and sold real estate for many years until her four kids were grown, before returning to art. “I always loved to make stuff — as a weaver, spinner, sewer and knitter.”
Growing up in Maine (born in her aunt’s farmhouse) and from generations of Mainers on her mum’s side, her third grade teacher thought she should paint and put her in front of an easel. Her mum gave her crayons and coloring books. “I always keep a box of Crayolas in my studio,” she said.