Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kinkade: Love Him or Hate Him

Say Rembrandt, and you know exactly who that is.

Say Rockwell... ditto.
Say Picasso... ditto.
Say Kinkade... ditto.

Most people are not neutral when it comes to Thomas Kinkade. They seem to either love him, or not. Most people, at least in the art world, are aware by now that Mr Kinkade passed away in April of this year.

Here's a short bio to help you understand the man better... to see why he emphasized the commercial side of his art.

See, he had a rough start. He was born in California in 1958, and had a father that left the family destitute when he was just five. He decided early on that he would never do that to his family. 

His mother was left to raise 3 kids on a modest secretaries salary. So to his critics who simply sneer at the business side of his empire, I say consider his early influences before you judge so harshly. You can read more of his bio HERE. 

I believe people liked Thomas Kinkade paintings for the way the images made them feel. 


They didn't care about all the high-brow snobbery in the art world, and Thomas Kinkade knew that. He was like Norman Rockwell in that sense: he painted the world the way he wanted it to be, not necessarily how it was... just like Rockwell. 

But there's another side to Mr Kinkade most don't even know about: his Plein Air work. Check out his plein air work to see the REAL Thomas Kinkade, what he painted when he painted for himself. 

Yes, I have a soft spot for Mr Kinkade, even though some of his work could be called "too pretty" or predictable. However, it still has that glow, and usually makes me smile and is calming and peaceful. What's wrong with a little beauty in a world that at times can get ugly?? 

The man was not perfect, and stirred up his share controversy, made his share of mistakes. Who among us would want all our dirty laundry made public?? The man's dead. His family is grieving. Let's offer some compassion and kindness. 

I, for one, give him credit for doing what most artists can't do: he made a great living from his art and supported his wife and children from said art. And along the way, made millions of collectors happy. I don't have a problem with that. 

Rest in peace, Mr Kinkade.

With respect,



  1. Anonymous2:43 PM

    There is a Kinkade Gallery in Gatlinsburg. We didn't have time to stop in on this trip, but plan to during our next trip.

    You must have read/heard some unkind things about him to prompt you to rise to his defense. I haven't heard a thing other than he died, so perhaps it's just an "art world" slam rather than an everyman media hit.


    1. Hi Deb!
      Seems like everybody and his dog has jumped on the editorial bandwagon to give negative opinions about Mr Kinkade. I just couldn't stay quiet any longer. I often wonder how much was simple jealousy.

      Sure, he had feet of clay. He was a Christian (which if you are familiar with The Art World will draw fire right there!) yet struggled with alcohol at times. And during those relapses, he did dumb stuff. I can relate, in my own way, to looking to find ways of escaping the pressures of life, and then having to live with the consequences!

      At the end, he was under heartbreaking pressure with a crumbling marriage. And close friends said it did, indeed, hurt him deeply that his art was rejected by the "official" art world. He made the fatal mistake of mixing alcohol with sedatives. I have nothing but sympathy for the emotional pain he must have been going through.

      None of that invalidates his talent, though, regardless of what the "critics" think. I believe right now his tears have been wiped away, and he sees that his life was not a waste, and he used his gifts the best he knew how.

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  3. OOps. Sorry about that I published before checking and editing some very odd spelling mistakes.

    Now I am one of the people who have never heard of this man but thanks to you will now take a good look at his work.

    I surprise nyself sometimes at what I like and why so this will be interesting.

    We all have feet of clay and it's best to remember the picture of Jesus writing in the sand. *smile* Good on you for making your feelings known.


    1. While you may not be familiar with his name, I'd be willing to bet a Kiwi that you've seen his art.

      He was quite the marketing genius, and his images were on everything... mugs, calendars, cards, pillows, you name it. He enjoyed painting "hidden" things into his paintings. He would tell how many, but not where, and his collectors had fun looking for them. Like I said... a marketing genius, LOL!

  4. I was always attracted to his use of light & the ethereal feel to his paintings. I appreciated his vision, and as a starving creative, there's nothing wrong with wanting to make some money.

    1. His light... me too. And to make a little money while doing what you love? Dittos there!

  5. I have always enjoyed his paintings. His use of color and shading. He was one who was visable to the public.

    BTW: I gave you The Versatile Blogger Award today. Congratulations!

    1. Yes, gorgeous colors.
      Thanks for the award. :-)