The 'Painter of Light' and a Secret Darker Side to Thomas Kinkade

11 September 2013 by
Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, emphasized simple pleasures and inspirational messages through hisart – and the branded products created from that art from textiles, to collectibles, to music and books, calendars,jigsaw puzzles, greeting cards, and CDs.

Thomas Kinkade believed that both the ability and the inspiration to create his paintings had been given to him as a gift. His goal as an artist was to touch people of all faiths and to bring peace and joy into their lives through the images he had created.He characterized himself as " The Painter of Light," and his work remains much loved, mass produced and hugely collected with an estimated 1 in every 20 American homes owning a copy of one of Thomas Kinkade's paintings. A key feature of Thomas Kinkade's paintings are the glowing highlights and saturated pastel colors. Rendered in highly idealistic American scene painting values, his works often portray bucolic, idyllic settings such as gardens, streams, stone cottages, lighthouses and Main Streets. His hometown of Placerville (where his works are omnipresent) is the inspiration of many of his street and snow scenes. He has also depicted various Christian themes including the Christian cross and churches.One of the best kept secrets of the art world for almost twenty years is that Thomas Kinkade, painted a beautiful body of work over a 6 year period, from 1984 to 1990, under the brush name ‘Robert Girrard'.It is believed that Kinkade's ‘Girrard' body of work numbered no more than 70 paintings and two pencil drawings. The rarity and individuality of these works, together with their subtle beauty and turn of the century charm, distinguish them from other segments of Thomas Kinkade's work, and was among the best of his career.He also created a series of paintings called the Disney Dreams Collection which celebrates great moments fromWalt Disney Films. These paintings were called "narrative panoramas" because each painting tells the entire story of the film in one image.Central Park in the Fall is a 2010 work by Thomas Kinkade.  He wrote "The Park is a place where a quick cab ride lets you escape the big city and immerse yourself in nature's brilliant colour palette"

On April 6, 2012, Thomas Kinkade died at his home in Monte Sereno, California, of "acute intoxication" from alcohol and Valium. He was 54 years old. He died on Good Friday. He had been at home drinking all night, according to Amy Pinto-Walsh, his girlfriend of 18 months. His wife, Nanette, had filed for divorce two years earlier and was traveling in Australia with their daughters. His family initially said he appeared to have died of natural causes. Pinto-Walsh stated that the artist "died in his sleep, very happy, in the house he built, with the paintings he loved and the woman he loved."Since his death his official website has acknowledged the existence of "Thomas Kinkade Studio Artists" who, it is claimed, will create "new images in Tom's 'Kinkadian' Master Style." The company says it will continue to create and release "new Kinkade originals" created by artists other than Kinkade. These works are to bear the artist's trademarked signature along with the word "Studios" appearing underneath. Gone are the Christian Ichthys"fish symbol" and the Bible verse John 3:16. However, new works still bear a small number next to the signature indicating how many "Nanettes" (the name of Kinkade's wife) are hidden in each painting.