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Late afternoon sail

Oil painting by Sergio Roffo

Down a little dirt lane on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, almost hidden from view off the main road, is a boat launch and a stretch of tidal water, a secret spot for small boats and those who love them. It’s a tranquil place, far from the crowds, the noise and the run of modern life. And it’s friendly and familiar to artist Sergio Roffo.

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“This is one of my favorite places to paint,” says Roffo, whose 24-by-36-inch oil painting Late Afternoon Sail took shape there. “On this day a catboat came sailing by, and I did a quick study right there.”

The quality of light and luminosity that marks his work comes from a glazing and layering technique that early American landscape painters such as Fitz Hugh Lane used. Roffo is known for his scenes of the New England coast, its marshes and tidal rivers, bays and inlets. The 61-year-old immigrated to the United States from Italy when he was 8 and grew up in coastal Massachusetts. He took to both boats and art early on. He graduated with honors in 1977 from the Vesper George School of Art in Boston and has been named a Copley Master by the Copley Society of Boston. Roffo is a member of the Guild of Boston Artists and a “Fellows” member of the American Society of Marine Artists.

Many of Roffo’s works begin with an outdoor study. Painting from real life is a must for young landscape painters if they want to become better artists, he says. “Painting outdoors will make you a better studio painter.” The hope, says Roffo, is to get at the elusive essence that is nature, to convey to the viewer the harmony of nature through color and light. “As artists, our creative goals will never be accomplished,” he says. “We will always be students of nature because nature does so beautifully.”

To view this and other works by Sergio Roffo, visit the J. Russell Jinishian Gallery website at or visit the gallery at 1899 Bronson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut.

December 2014 issue