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This is a painting of a beautiful brown trout caught and released by one of my favorite guide customers. She caught it on a dry fly during a hatch of Quill Gordon mayflies on Little River near Elkmont. The brown trout is seen in sharp focus while other details are lost as the angler takes in the moment before the trout swims away into memory.
Why are the hands only penciled in? My intention with all the paintings in my Trout Release series is to replicate that instant when an angler has caught a stunningly beautiful wild trout. The fish is about to be released, but you want to soak up every last detail of the fish in that last second before it swims from your hands. You are so focused on the fish that you are barely aware of your own hands and everything else is a blur.
The water has no definition but clearly has the same colors as the trout. Like the flowing water the trout will quickly slip away, but right now it is in the instant between a real thing in your hands and only a memory in the next instant.
I have fly fished an average of 200 days a year for about 30 years. This is core to my experience and something I know many other serious fly fishers experience as well. It's part of what makes catch and release so meaningful to anglers; the release is often more special than the hook up.
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