Wednesday 18 January 2012

Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade, America's most collected artist, has painted over 1000 paintings.  Raised in poverty in Placerville, California, his parents divorced when he was only 4 years old.  Although they were poor in the pocketbook, there was never a lack of love in his household.  His mother, the first collector of his art, used to frame his pieces and decorate the house with them. 

Thomas Kinkade has fond memories of reading the Saturday Evening Post each weekend and admiring the cover artwork of Norman Rockwell, his first hero.  He loved to paint landscapes in the style of the Luminists from the late 19th century like Frederic Church.  The Luminists apparently were known for three traits:  their "soft edges, warm palette and overall sense of light". In fact, Thomas' paintings are infused with light, gaining him the nickname "Painter of Light". 

After graduating from university in his home state, Thomas Kinkade and fellow artist James Gurney hopped on a boxcar and headed for New York City.  En route, they sketched.  Upon arriving in the Big Apple, the two artists presented their sketches to Norman Rockwell's publisher and he published them as "The Artist's Guide to Sketching" in 1982.  Thomas then worked on a movie set.

In 1985, Thomas sold his first oil painting and has never looked back.  Although he has painted many different subjects, his favourite images are gates and bridges.  He identifies with Walt Disney, saying that he "really likes to make people happy" and has partnered with Disney on some projects.  Today his paintings sell for 6-digit figures and his artwork has been transformed into posters, magazines covers, greeting cards, collector plates, figurines, gifts, calendars and more. 

Married with four daughters, Thomas is not only a devoted husband and father, but a devout Christian, evident in his artwork.  "A Light in the Storm" which is based on the Bible verse John 8:12.   He has given a lot back in his charity work, raising tens of thousands of dollars for worthy causes.  In 1990 he was named "Humanitarian of the Year" by his hometown's Chamber of Commerce. 

Although it's been thirty years since Thomas hopped the boxcar in California, he has never forgotten his roots.  The drawings that once hung on his mother's wall in Placerville are now shared by thousands, if not millions, of people.  Thank you, Thomas, for sharing your light with the world.

Painting courtesy

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