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Creating art purely for enjoyment

Dan Casper shared some of his beautiful artwork, which is not for sale, at the Autumn Wine Walk in The Village at Castle Pines last month. He creates the pieces in his home studio and shares them with anyone interested in viewing them.

Article and photos by Nancy Koontz

There is an artist living in The Village at Castle Pines, and he and his wife have quite the story. Dan Casper and Tina Fonda Casper find the relaxed, peaceful lifestyle of the Starbuck neighborhood perfect for them.

Dan, who grew up in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City, recently showed his impressionist-inspired landscapes with about a dozen other artists at the Autumn Art Walk at the neighboring LIV Sotheby’s office. Dan is self-taught and has never taken art classes or had previous formal training, although he won several art awards when he was a young student. Dan is unique, as he creates his art just for people to enjoy. His pieces have never been for sale.

Dan has always loved the beauty of nature. As a young man he spent much time in the ‘50s and ‘60s with his parents, two brothers and sister in Montauk, a fishing village on the eastern tip of Long Island, NY. With no hot water or electricity, they slept on cots and used camping equipment to get by. Dan said, “New York never was my cup of tea; I just wanted to be out in the fresh air and nature.” With the confinement he felt in his urban environment, Dan made a big decision right after high school.

“Spontaneous thought” is how Dan described his painting process. His inspiration is organic and doesn’t come from any particular memory, place or inspiration, it just comes to him, he paints it and names it later. This piece is called “Distant Thunder.”

In 1969, after looking through Barron’s college catalogs, Dan saw a college called Western State in Gunnison, CO. He thought it would be a cool place to go to school because of the beautiful mountain scenery. Sight unseen and with just a footlocker, Dan boarded a plane to Colorado. Needless to say, it was a culture shock, but he reflects back, knowing he made the right decision to leave New York. Dan’s college buddies are now lifelong friends, and he and Tina go back for homecoming events.

After going on to the University of Northern Colorado and getting a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in learning disabilities, Dan taught at Arapahoe High School in Littleton.

A good friend introduced him to the oil and gas business. Dan became a land man working for various companies like Mesa Petroleum, Sunoco Petroleum and Union Pacific. He eventually formed his own small company – Canyon Petroleum, which he now runs with his son, Sean. The Caspers have another son, Colin and three grandkids: Dillon (6), and twin granddaughters Taylor and Kapri (3). Even at his young age, Dillon is quite the young artist, following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Dan Casper and Tina Fonda Casper at their beautiful home in The Village at Castle Pines.

Dan met Tina Fonda (cousin to actress Jane Fonda) in 1972. A graduate from Cherry Creek High School, Tina went to Cazenovia College. She’s an accomplished equestrian and owns several horses, which she rides often. Tina grew up in Cherry Hills Village, and her parents, Sue Broadhurst Fonda (a third-generation Coloradan) and Doug Fonda, were pillars of the Denver community. Living around the Denver University area in the early ‘80s, Dan and Tina belonged to the Cherry Creek Sporting Club where Tina taught fitness classes and Dan played competitive basketball, his favorite sport.

Along with their active lifestyle, the Caspers have seen their share of challenges. Tina was previously diagnosed with breast cancer, but she is in remission. Dan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease around three years ago and is doing the best he can. It certainly is not stopping him from painting his beautiful landscapes. His artwork is proudly displayed in their lovely home.



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