Working in his studio, high on the side of a hill overlooking the peaceful pastures of Trout Creek Ranch, Kenneth Shanika spends almost every day fulfilling his life's dream of being an artist. There is seldom a day that passes that you won't find him hard at work creating paintings. Numerous paintings are scattered around his studio in various stages of completion. When he is not in the studio you can find him painting outdoors. His primary focus is creating landscape paintings in oils. His favorite subject is the beautiful scenes of the Rocky Mountains. "I like to look for the subtle beauty of the area surrounding the Front Range. Lately, I've been painting our local area, Trout Creek, Westcreek, the South Platte River area and the views of Pikes Peak." However those are not his only subject. He returns to Wyoming yearly and regularly travels from New Mexico to Montana expanding his subject matter. "I get so excited; there is so much beauty here. I can't control my passion. I have this burning desire to share my discoveries with other people."
Ken is in the process of creating a series of paintings of the Pikes Peak region and translating them into Giclee prints and greeting cards. His work is growing in popularity and so is the demand for his original paintings. "I can only produce a limited number of paintings, so to bring my work to a larger number of people we made the decision to produce quality prints of some of my paintings." Greeting cards can be found in numerous retail outlets in the region. Ken and his wife Cindi are very grateful to be living their dream. It was a long road getting here.
The following is a short summary of Ken's background. "I was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1951, the second and oldest male of eight children. I could never resist the urge to draw. The backs and edges of many of my homework and test pages were often covered with drawings. I suppose my artistic ability came to me from my father. My father is a well-known professional artist and I owe much of my artistic background to him. As a young boy, I spent many hours watching him paint. He inspired me greatly. While at the Kansas City Art Institute on scholarship, I studied painting and drawing under the chairman of the painting department, Wilbur Niewald, and printmaking under the chairman of the print making department, Bill McKim. I was graduated in 1975, receiving a B.F.A. degree, with a split-major in painting and printmaking. My senior year, two of my original lithographs were included in Union of Independent Art Colleges Annual Traveling Art Show representing Kansas City Art Institute. The show traveled to all of the member schools. I was honored that my works were included representing the Kansas City Art Institute. I started, the Colony Bistro Art Gallery & Frame Shop, Inc. in 1977. We became one of the most respected galleries in the Kansas City area. By the mid 90's I owned and operated two galleries, the Colony Bistro Art Gallery & Frame Shop, Inc. and America's Heartland Art & Frame Shop. I also found time to continue to produce and sell my artwork. . I feel that my artwork is a reflection of my feelings. It is very personal. If I were asked to describe my "style" of work, I would call it "intimate". I prefer to work in oil paints. I sometime work in watercolor, and acrylic, with an underlying love of drawing, especially in color. In 1997, I sold my businesses and moved to Colorado. My wife and I purchased some property on the side of a hill in the mountains and built our dream home. I have been painting full time since. I paint en plein-air and in the studio. My favorite subject to paint is the ever changing and beautiful Rocky Mountains. My objective is to share my personally unique artistic vision with other people, to establish myself as a fine artist, to be recognized by my peers as an artist that creates quality work, to be represented by fine galleries and to have a strong base of patrons. I would love to be among the elite group of artists that are successful financially and therefore enabling me to grow and share more. My greatest satisfaction comes from sharing my knowledge and experience with other people. I love to give of myself. I am the co-founder and director of the Pikes Peak Plein Air Painters, a group of over 30 regional professional artists. In summary, I love my work. Being an artist is a wonderful way to live your life. I love the hard work, the intensity and exhilaration of creativity. I love being able to put a little bit of myself down in paint.
"Happiness and success are not places, they are roads one takes. And the story continues…."