Morning Sail

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Among the things that inspire marine artists are periods in history, important events, and ships and boats themselves. Location, too, can be a muse. Some places seem to have all the right elements of color, light and atmosphere. For Sergio Roffo, inspiration is often found at the end of a dirt road on Nantucket, Massachusetts, where a cove spreads out before him in the early morning. The sand is still cool from the night, colors shift as dawn gives way to morning and a breeze springs up—just enough to waft a catboat along.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this idyllic scene captured in Roffo’s piece “Early Morning Sail at Brant Point, Nantucket.”

Roffo was born in Italy in 1953. He came to America as a child. Growing up on the south shore of Massachusetts, he took to painting from the start. His own style emerged while he studied at the Vesper George School of Art in Boston. Today, his works have a luminous quality achieved through the techniques of glazing and layering, as practiced by early American landscape painters such as Frederic Edwin Church and Fitz Hugh Lane. Roffo is known for his depictions of New England life, with its marshes and tidal rivers, bays and inlets.

“I am inspired by life. Life is art, art is life,” he says. “That, plus the sublime beauty that is nature. I share the spirituality and sacredness of my work.”

Roffo likes to paint quickly when he happens upon a scene; later, he’ll create a larger composition in the studio. “Painting from life is a must for young landscape painters if they want to become better studio painters,” he says. Painting landscapes has been a passion for as long as he can remember, and for which he feels blessed.

“As artists, we live each day passionately,” he says. “I will always keep trying to reach for that color note, and perhaps, someday, I will complete that visual symphony.” 

This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue.