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The Man Who is the Painter of Light: A Biography of Thomas Kinkade

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 @ 11:07 AM Karen Hood

by Denise Oliveri
Source: Suite 101

Thomas Kinkade is known around the world as one of the greatest modern artists of our times. His work can be found on canvas paintings, ceramics, and even fine jewelry. He partners with companies such as B&B Puzzles, Warner Books, and Bradford Editions to showcase his fine talents.

The Early Years of Thomas Kinkade

Born in Sacramento, California on January 19, 1958, Thomas Kinkade is an American artist famous for his paintings of realistic and idyllic subjects. He grew up in a small town in California, graduated in 1976, and went onto college at the University of California at Berkley. After two years, he dropped out. He spent the summer sketching and writing a book, The Artist’s Guide to Sketching. It sold very well, and he got a job creating the background art for Fire and Ice, which was an animated film.

In his free time, he started experimenting with light and different worlds he imagined. After finishing the film, he started selling his work in many galleries in California. He also attended the Art Center College of Design, located in Pasadena. In 1982, he married Nanette, and the couple went on to have four daughters. Each daughter was named after a famous artist.

Thomas Kinkade’s Paintings

The main feature of Thomas Kinkade’s paintings are the pastel colors and highlights that glow throughout the art. It is an impressionist style that focuses on idyllic settings, like streams, cottages, and gardens. Many of the settings for his paintings are from his home town in Placerville, California.

There are also many Christian themes, as well. This aspect of his paintings holds a very special place in his heart. He’s a devout Christian and even gave the middle name Christian to all of his girls. The goal of his art is to touch people, to bring joy and peace, and appeal to all faiths. Many of his paintings have a biblical verse reference.

On another note, he also includes the names of his children in many of his pieces, and always hides the letter “N” for his wife’s name somewhere in the paintings. This gives you a fun activity to do while gazing upon his magnificent works of art.

Thomas Kinkade the Businessman

Thomas is a very astute businessman as well. Often criticized for commercializing his work, he sells his paintings through retail outlets and by mail order. But it’s not the actual pieces. These are high quality prints that are textured to appear like a real painting.

One of the most notable partnerships Thomas has is with Hallmark, where he has licensed his work on greeting cards, calendars, and puzzles. He has also either written or been the feature of over 120 books. Thomas is the only artist that has licensed his artwork and trademark to many housing developments.

However, Thomas Kinkade is also a philanthropist as well. He regularly supports nonprofit organizations that specifically focus on humanitarian relief, children, and the arts. Some of the charities are:

  • Salvation Army
  • Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • World Vision

Thomas Kinkade’s Awards and Recognition

Thomas has received numerous awards for his work, including Artist of the Year from the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers. Nine times his work has been named the Lithograph of the Year. He has commemorated the 2002 Olympic Games, as well as the 2002 World Series.

Thomas Kinkade is one of the best loved painters of this century. His work is bright, sometimes fanciful, and just simply has a terrific feel. The light that is depicted in his work is amazing, and it is easy to see why he is called the “Painter of Light.” Many of his paintings are inspirational. When looking for an exceptional work of art, look no further than Thomas Kinkade.

Shop for Thomas Kinkade collectibles now at Karen’s Collector’s Cottage.

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