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April 7, 2012

In Memory of Thomas Kinkade 1958 ~ 2012!

Thomas Kinkade was born in 1958 & grew up in Placerville Ca.
Artist Thomas Kinkade, whose brushwork paintings of idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches have been big sellers for dealers across the United States, died Friday, a family spokesman said. 

Kinkade, 54, died at his home in Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area of what appeared to be natural causes, David Satterfield said.

Kinkade called himself the "Painter of Light," and his sentimental paintings, with their scenes of country gardens and churches in dewy morning light, were beloved by many but reviled by the art establishment.

He claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist, and his paintings and spin-off products were said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales, and to be in 10 million homes in the United States.

Those light-infused renderings are often prominently displayed in buildings, malls, and on products — generally depicting tranquil scenes with lush landscaping and streams running nearby. Many contain images from Bible passages.

"I'm a warrior for light," Kinkade, a self-described devout Christian, told the San Jose Mercury News in 2002, a reference to the medieval practice of using light to symbolize the divine. "With whatever talent and resources I have, I'm trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel."

Before Kinkade's Media Arts Group went private in the middle of the past decade, the company took in $32 million per quarter from 4,500 dealers across the country, according to the Mercury News. The cost of his paintings range from hundreds of dollars to more than $10,000.

According to his website, Kinkade's paintings have been reproduced in hand-signed lithographs, canvas prints, books, posters, calendars, magazine covers, cards, collector plates and figurines. The website touts his Disney collection and offers a gallery locator, where fans can find nearby dealers.

Its online store offers a wide range of works and products with Kinkade images including artworks, prints, and coffee mugs.

His artistic philosophy was not to express himself through his paintings like many artists, but rather to give the masses what they wanted: warm, positive images, Ken Raasch, who co-founded Kinkade's company with him, told the Mercury News.

"I'd see a tree as being green, and he would see it as 47 different shades of green," Raasch said. "He just saw the world in a much more detailed way than anyone I've ever seen."

A biography on the website said Kinkade rejected "the intellectual isolation of the artist" and instead, made "each of his works an intimate statement that resonates in the personal lives of his viewers."

"I share something in common with Norman Rockwell and, for that matter, with Walt Disney, in that I really like to make people happy," he said.

He called Rockwell his earliest hero. "I remember my mom had a big collection of copies of (Saturday Evening Post) magazines, and that was really my introduction to those great illustrators," he said.

Kinkade was born and raised in the Placerville, Calif. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

He said art was a major outlet growing up.

"I was always the kid who could draw," he said. "I had this talent, and it was the one thing that gave me some kind of dignity in the midst of my personal environment."

As a young man, Kinkade traveled by boxcar from California to New York with fellow fledgling artist, James Gurney, sketching the American landscape along the way.

The site says that with these sketches in hand, the two were able to get published The Artist Guide to Sketching in 1982, a book that helped land him a job creating background art for animated films.

Also that year, he married his childhood sweetheart, Nanette, to whom he frequently paid tribute to by hiding her name and those of his four daughters within his paintings.

"Thom provided a wonderful life for his family," Nanette said in a statement. "We are shocked and saddened by his death."

There was no immediate word on an official cause of death. Calls to the coroner's office were not immediately returned.

The newspaper said friends and family on Friday began planning a private service and were weighing a public celebration for a later date. 

Thomas Kinkade was America's most-collecteda living artist.
Combining realism with idealism, grand perspectives with minute details, his artworks reflect the love in his heart for God, for family, for Nature, and for simple idyllic life. In his paintings, we can see majestic mountains, winding rivers, lakes and forests, sea and lighthouses, cozy cottages and rustic chapels, beautiful gardens and peaceful Christmas night. Fresh and uplifting, they radiate with warmth and hope, in which one cannot fail to identify his longings for love,faith and a simple life close to God and Nature.

Thomas Kinkade was born in 1958. He grew up in the small town of Placerville in California.

In 1976, Kinkade attended the University of California and began to receive his formal art training at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He spends the summer after graduation on a sketching tour with college friend, James Gurney. Together the two produced the best-selling instructional book, The Artist's Guide to Sketching. The success of the book landed the two young artists at Ralph Bakshi Studios to create background art for the animated feature film Fire and Ice. It was also during this time that Kinkade began to explore light and imaginative worlds with abandon.

After the film, Thom earned his living as a painter, selling his originals in galleries throughout California.

In 1982, he married his childhood sweetheart, Nanette. Together they raised 4 daughters. Kinkade is a devoted husband and doting father at home. He creatively hid the letter "N" in his paintings as "love notes" to his wife, Nanette. His daughters also find their own messages of love from their father as their names and images often appear in his paintings.

Kinkade is a devout Christian. He credits the Lord for both the ability and the inspiration to create his paintings. His goal as an artist is to touch people of all faiths, and bring peace and joy into their lives through his art.

While admiring his paintings, we can't help feeling the call of love and Nature, and sometimes a nostalgic feeling for simpler life of faith in old time America.

Rest in peace, Mr. Kinkade, you will be missed by everyone and especially by your home town of Placerville, California.

In addition to his beautiful and famous paintings, Thomas Kinkade also created many very inspiring sculptures, ornaments, centerpieces and heirlooms that will be forever in the homes of millions of Americans and worldwide.

See More of Thomas Kinkade's Artworks
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