THOMAS KINKADE
Painter of Light
1958 - 2012

Thomas Kinkade has been a published artist since 1985. Celebrating over 20 years as a published artist, Thomas Kinkade is renowned as "The Painter of Light". By infusing light into his paintings for a dramatic effect of pictorial lighting, Thomas Kinkade created incredibly romantic and tranquil scenes that seem to glow from within. This incredible ability combined with Thomas Kinkade's choice of wholesome themes at one time made Thomas Kinkade America's most collected living artist.

Despite all of this, Thomas Kinkade managed to remain humble and grounded in his faith. The reason for this can be traced back to Thomas Kinkade's much simpler beginnings. While growing up in Northern California in the small town of Placerville, Thomas Kinkade's family had meager resources to live off of. Kinkade adds however that they were "rich in the greatest form of wealth; a nurturing and affirming love."

It was during these lean years, that Thomas Kinkade embraced the Christian faith that later would shape his approach to life and Thomas Kinkade's art. The beauty and need of simplicity and life-affirming values entwined themselves deep in Thomas Kinkade and since then can be found running through all of his works.

After childhood, a series of events occurred that would set Thomas Kinkade's career in motion. Kinkade spent some time at Ralph Bakshi Studios as a background artist for the animated feature film Fire and Ice. Soon, Thomas Kinkade started exploring light and imaginative worlds and it was during this period that Thomas Kinkade acquired his moniker as The Painter of Light. Then in 1982, Thomas Kinkade married his childhood sweetheart, Nanette, and two years later Thomas Kinkade and Nanette began to publish his paintings together.

Since then, Thomas Kinkade amassed an impressive list of awards for his works. Some of these awards are listed below. See the Time Line below for a chronology of Thomas Kinkade's life.

Thomas Kinkadetk_plaid.jpg
Thomas Kinkade, Pictured here in his Ivy Gate Studio, enjoyed getting out in the out of doors. Many of his paintings start as plein aires. French for "open air", this style of painting requires the artist to finish the painting quickly before the light changes. With broad brush strokes, much like Monet, Thomas Kinkade finished the plein aire in a few hours. Many times these works are studies to be finished into major studio works like "City By The Bay, Sunset on Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco", pictured here. Often times, though, the impressionistic style work of art becomes the finished piece.
 
During Thomas Kinkade's "Robert Girrard" period, he painted under a different brush name to explore a completely different style of art. When collectors hear the name Thomas Kinkade; they generally think of flowers, cottages, rustic cabins, and nostalgic street scenes. It is very unusual that an artist has the talent and ability to paint in completely different artistic styles like Thomas Kinkade was able to do.

River Seine

Pictured is The River Seine, by Thomas Kinkade painted under his brush name, Robert Girrard

 

 

Awards: 

  • Thomas Kinkade, Official Artist for the National Parks Collector's Print: Yosemite Valley The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), 1989)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Graphic/Lithograph of the Year: Moonlit Sleigh Ride The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED),1992)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Graphic / Lithograph of the Year: The End of a Perfect Day The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), 1993)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Collector Editions Award of Excellence: Glory of Evening (1993)

  • Thomas Kinkade,Collector Editions Award of Excellence: Glory of Morning (1993)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Artist of the Year (The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), 1994)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Graphic / Lithograph of the Year The End of a Perfect Day II (The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED),1994)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Collector Editions Award of Excellence (1994)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Artist to Watch in 1995 (U.S. Art Magazine, 1994)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Graphic Artist of the Year (The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), 1995-1998, 2002)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Graphic / Lithograph of the Year: The End of a Perfect Day III The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED),1995)

  • Thomas Kinkade Inducted into the Bradford International Hall of Fame for Plate Artists. (1995)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Collectors Editions' Award of Excellence (1995)

  • Graphic Lithograph of the Year - Lamplight Bridge The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), 1996)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Commander in Chief Award. (VFW, 1997)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Print of the Year - The Light of Peace The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), 1997)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Print of the Year - Gardens Beyond Spring Gate The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), 1998).

  • Thomas Kinkade, One of the youngest artists Inducted into the U.S. Art Hall of Fame. (1999)

  • Thomas Kinkade, Graphic Print/Lithograph of the Year - Light of Freedom The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), 2002)

      See the Time Line below for a chronology of Thomas Kinkade's life. The list above shows that Thomas Kinkade received many awards for his works, including multiple National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED) awards for Artist of the Year and Graphic Artist of the Year, and his art has been named Lithograph of the Year nine times. Most recently in 2004. Thomas Kinkade received a special award from NALED recognizing Thomas Kinkade as the Most Award Winning Artist in the Past 25 Years.

      Thomas Kinkade was recognized not only for his art, but also for his philanthropic efforts. In 2004, NALED honored Thomas Kinkade with the Eugene Freedman Humanitarian Award. In 2003, Thomas Kinkade was chosen as a national spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation(r) and has raised over $350,000 for the organization while on his 20 Years of Light Tour. Thomas Kinkade was honored with the 2002 World Children's Center Humanitarian Award for his contributions to improving the welfare of children and their families through his work with Kolorful Kids and Art for Children.

      In 2002, Thomas Kinkade was inducted into the California Tourism Hall of Fame as an individual who has influenced the public's perception of tourism in California. Thomas Kinkade has done this through his images of California sights. Thomas Kinkade was selected to commemorate the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games and the 2002 World Series. Thomas Kinkade has met with the Pope, U.S. Presidents, celebrities, and other well-known dignitaries to convey his hope-filled, life-affirming message. Thomas Kinkade's influence knows no bounds.

      Charities and Affiliations:

      Thomas Kinkadetk_kids.jpg

      Thomas Kinkade was involved in several collaborations, including a partnership with one of the most charitable organizations in the United States, The Salvation Army. Two special charity prints were created for The Salvation Army, The Season of Giving and The Light of Freedom. Proceeds were donated to The Salvation Army's General Fund and to help aid those in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. More than $1.5 million has been donated as a result of this affiliation between Thomas Kinkade and these various charities.

      The Thomas Kinkade Foundation serves and supports non-profit organizations focusing on children, humanitarian relief, and the arts. Thomas Kinkade's involvement in such organizations, along with his appearances on the award winning news broadcast, 60 Minutes, as well as Good Morning America, was a testimony to the fact that Thomas Kinkade's artwork is touching the hearts of millions worldwide. Most recently, Thomas Kinkade was chosen as a National Spokesman for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has raised over $150,000 for the organization.

      Family And Faith:

      thom_nanette.jpg

      A devoted husband and doting father to their four daughters, Thomas Kinkade strived to lead a balanced life, committed to family values. Thomas Kinkade creatively filled his paintings with "love notes" by hiding the letter "N" in his paintings as tribute to his wife, Nanette. His daughters also find their own messages of love from their father as their names and images often appear in many of Thomas Kinkade's paintings.

      Thomas Kinkade credited the Lord for both the ability and the inspiration to create his paintings. His goal as an artist was to touch people of all faiths, to bring peace, and joy into their lives through the images he created. The letters he received every day testified to the fact that Thomas Kinkade was achieving this goal.

      Thomas Kinkade's Memorial page can be found here.

                    Time Line:
 
  • 1958 Thomas Kinkade is born in Sacramento, California 
  • 1976-1980 Thomas Kinkade attends the University of California and receives his formal training at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Thomas Kinkade spends the summer after finishing school on a sketching tour with James Gurney. It is on this tour that Thomas Kinkade and James Gurney compile sketches that would later be published as "The Artist's Guide to Sketching".
  • 1982 Thomas Kinkade marries his childhood sweetheart, Nanette. Thomas Kinkade co-authors "The Artist's Guide to Sketching" with James Gurney. Thomas Kinkade and James Gurney are both employed by Ralph Bakshi Studios to create background for the animated film, "Fire and Ice."
  • 1984 Thomas Kinkade and Nanette begin to publish their on work and publish "Dawson" as Thomas Kinkade's first print.
  • 1984-1989 Thomas Kinkade takes on the brush name, Robert Girrard in order to experiment with impressionism as Thom wants to express his artistic freedom
  • 1989 Thomas Kinkade and Ken Rausch form Lightpost Publishing as a company that publishes only Thomas Kinkade's work
  • 1994 The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED) honors Thomas Kinkade as Artist of the Year
  • 1995 The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED) names Thomas Kinkade the Graphic Artist of the Year and Thomas Kinkade is a charter inductee into the Bradford International Hall of Fame for Plate Artists
  • 1996 The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED) again names Thomas Kinkade as the Graphic Artist of the Year
  • 1997 Thomas Kinkade is awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander in Chief Award The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), names Thomas Kinkade the Graphic Artist of the Year . Thomas Kinkade publishes "Year of the Horizons".
  • 1998 The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED) names Thomas Kinkade the Graphic Artist of the Year
  • 1999 Thomas Kinkade celebrates his 15th year as a published artist. The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), names Thomas Kinkade the Graphic Artist of the Year . Thomas Kinkade publishes "Lightposts for Living".
  • 2001 The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), names Thomas Kinkade the Graphic Artist of the Year .
  • 2002 Thomas Kinkade receives the World Children's Center Humanitarian Award. Thomas Kinkade is selected to commemorate the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Games and the 2002 World Series. Thomas Kinkade is inducted into the California Tourism Hall of Fame. The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), names Thomas Kinkade the Graphic Artist of the Year .
  • 2003 Thomas Kinkade co-writes his first work of fiction, "Cape Light"' with Katherine Spencer. Thomas Kinkade is chosen as the National spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), names Thomas Kinkade the Graphic Artist of the Year .
  • 2004 The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), names Thomas Kinkade the Graphic Artist of the Year and Artist of the Year. Thomas Kinkade also receives the NALED Eugene Freedman Humanitarian Award and the Most Honored Artist in the Past 25 Years Award (Special 25th Anniversary Award) by The National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED)

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