For the love of fishing

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Talk to Terry Lang about his art, and his explanations are one-sentence simple.

"I like to fish. I like to be outdoors," he said.

What: Opening reception for "The Outdoor Images of Terry Lang" When: 5 to 8 p.m. today Where: Sleeping Giant Gallery, 624 Lincoln Ave. Call: 879-7143

For Lang, there isn't much more to say. His motivation is the quiet snapping back and forth of a fly rod; the silent drift of a dry fly on water; the soundless moment when he catches sight of a brown trout through the ripples and knows where to recast.

His paintings show focused attention on everything that happens around him as he stands in waders. He sees the way light reflects on water. He sees the way a fish looks in and out of water. He sees all these things, and he brings his memories back to the studio.

Most of his paintings come from the perspective of an angler standing in the water or from the "nymph cam," just as the fish leaps out of the water.

Until now, Lang has shown his paintings at fly-fishing tradeshows and at Bucking Rainbow to people who understand his passion. But this weekend, for the first time, Lang is showing his work in a gallery for the eyes of those who will appreciate his talent.

Even those who aren't interested in fishing will be impressed by his ability to paint water.

"People always comment on my water," Lang said. "But I just paint what I see. I include it in almost every painting. Reading water is all of fishing, and because I spend a lot of time around water, I know it. I have the reference material in my head."

His painting "Laying Low" comes straight from the imagination of a fly fisherman. Two brown trout hide underneath the roots of a tree, waiting for the humans to leave. Light breaks through the surface of the water.

"Obviously, I fish a lot," Lang said. "You scare a lot of fish, and I always wonder, where do they go? Where do they hide? Especially in a pristine area where they aren't used to seeing a lot of fisherman, they'll stay down there forever.

"You could never get this close to a fish without some serious (photography) equipment."

He didn't see the actual scene he painted in "Laying Low," but he had seen the shadow from a tree and the way it created light shafts in the water.

Lang sold the original copy of "Laying Low" but made 1,500 high-quality prints on canvas, one of which will be on display at tonight's show.

Lang started his artistic career as a graphic design major at the University of Wisconsin. He moved to Colorado after college in 1995 to spend time in the outdoors.

As a child, he often followed his grandmother on her bird-watching trips and spent his time drawing. When he picked up the paintbrush, painting with oils and acrylics, using nature as his subject was a natural transition.

At 32, Lang hopes to begin to make a new career of painting. He is taking commissions from fisherman who want to record beautiful catches but want something other than a mount.

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