DKD Years

Sometimes life presents opportunities out of nowhere. In 1985 my wife Joan Anderson and I were invited to manage a rural retreat center in southern Colorado. The place was called Dorje Khyung Dzong, but most people knew it as DKD. After living in downtown Boston for seventeen years, the move to a very rural mountain environment was a welcome shock. The job was demanding in many ways but it was as close to ideal as you could find in a world of otherwise soul crushing employment opportunities – lots of time outdoors, Robert Spellman painting of a tin cup with waterregular physical work, and time to paint in an environment of wild and humbling beauty. There was also the unexpected benefit in finding ourselves next door to the Libre, a former hippie commune and still-functioning settlement of artists, musicians, writers, and committed non-conformists. The combination of the formal Buddhist environment with the free-wheeling energy of our neighbors was a continuing education.

While both of us worked on a variety of artistic explorations during those years, painting and drawing our surroundings was a perennial mode of discovering and inhabiting the place, like a secret entryway. The paintings that follow are unabashedly romantic and the vivid pleasure had in their doing would be hard to exaggerate. We were there from 1985 until 1991, a fine chapter and prolific time artistically.