One of the saddest bits of news I discovered in my local newspaper this summer was the death of Thomas Kinkade. For those who may be unaware of the particular beauty of this man’s prolific and prodigious work as a modern impressionist, you may want to look into buying or borrowing the books which contain his beautiful art and the magnificent prose which accompanies the classic city and country scenes for which he is famous. The poem above is part of a tributary last work which was offered for sale posthumously in early autumn along with his special brand of cottage impressionism. Through the years the work he produced is the kind where you wish you could step into the painting and experience in reality because they depict almost fantastical pastoral and beautiful romantic scenes that hearken back to a more peaceful existence. In many respects, I always think of Christmas when I see his work regardless of the season evoked in his art.
Although he was referred to as Painter of Light his creations seemed to almost draw you into a world of shadows, overcast or mist-filled valleys, hollows, streets or churches without a single image appearing gloomy or dark. The windows of houses glow, bridges are illuminated, chimneys smoke and rays of sunshine make interesting patterns on the worlds he fabricated in his work. His sense of light was exquisitely balanced in each and every work I have seen of his- which number into one hundred and twenty-five. His actual total is much more than that, I can assure you.
A members only collectors club, devoted exclusively to his works, commissioned various series from him along with special works like the one above which was in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Cinderella film last year. This one was offered by the Bradford Exchange. My introduction to his work came with a card my sister gave me for my birthday one year. It was a copy of his oil painting Chandler’s Cottage which is very typical of his art in that it depicts a slate-roofed cottage with every window illuminated and an all encompassing garden enveloping the cottage and stone path which is lit by one lamppost along the path. The sky is misty mauve and the chimney only releases a wisp of smoke.
He was born in Sacramento in 1958 and spent his childhood roaming the foothills of the Sierra mountains. With a typical formal education he started working as an artist painting backgrounds in Hollywood and completed hundreds of backgrounds for the film Fire and Ice. He co-authored the book The Artists Guide to Sketching with James Gurney at the same time. By 1983 he decided to pursue his true career and started painting the scenes for which he is so famous and had instant success. Many write-ups and articles on him have appeared in major and minor magazines on art and artists. Eventually, his solo work appeared in nearly every gallery across the United States numbering in the hundreds.
In the nineties a series of books with his paintings were published by Harvest House and Time Warner with a writer/collaborator by the name of Anne Christian Buchanan. The books are inspirational and filled with many examples of his art. I own two such books. One is Lightposts for Living and the other is a large-size hardback titled Simpler Times, which are simply the most delightful books I own. They are full of beautiful art and wise words with heartwarming sentiment from the heart.
His awards through the years are voluminous and well deserved. On the inside jacket of his book Simpler Times you’ll find a photo of him, before he turned forty, with his wife and three daughters and they appeared to be very happy. In the past decade and a half something went awry, apparently, and after he passed away this year, in April, it came to light that he no longer lived with his family and his girlfriend Amy Pinto has been in a legal battle with his estranged wife, Nanette over his entire estate with only two hand-scrawled wills and occupation of his mansion as proof that she is entitled to anything.
Knowledge of this news made me feel like his good name and beautiful work is being dragged through the mud. I have read things about him on the internet that just don’t add up with all the wonderful ideas I had about him, his art and his family. I will add a link about this travesty which has touched his estate but I would take all the info about his so-called alcoholism and messy divorce with a grain of salt. It doesn’t make sense and I find it all very hard to believe. I’m hoping the truth will out.
In loving memory,