Saturday, April 07, 2012

Cottages of Love - A Tribute to Thomas Kinkade

Foxglove Cottage
by Thomas Kinkade

This is a tribute to a great artist who painted from his heart. He believed in painting to the glory of God.  He had a lovely wife and family, whose initials he painted on the doors of his many Victorian homes and cottages. His paintings showed the love and kindness of the home.  I will be writing more later, when I have more paintings to display here.

 He was relatively young, in my opinion. Both he, and another favorite artist of mine, Alan Maley, died in their early 50's.  Like most things we are familiar with, we tend to think they are going to be around forever, and neglect to save them. I have none of his art, except a tea pot I got at a florist shop, which shows a house that looks almost identical to an old farmhouse of a relative in the wheat fields of Kansas.

  My heart truly goes out to his lovely family. He drew himself up from a broken home by losing himself in his art.  I will find an old Victorian Sampler that featured him when his art first became public, and scan in pages for you.

His cottages reminded me of this song: "A cottage small is all I'm after/ Not one that's spacious wide/ A house that rings with joy and laughter/ with the one you love inside."  I have added this to my playlist, and you can listen to it right now by clicking on the arrow on the video below:

A Wise Woman Builds Her House  has also written a fine tribute with his lovely paintings featured , so I hope you'll click the link and go see.

We are in mourning today and my flag is at half mast. He reminded Americans of the simple life: a cottage and a family enjoying God's blessings.

It has been reported that one in twenty American households display a Thomas Kinkade painting, but I think probably nearly every American has had some kind of Thomas Kinkade art in their home via the books he wrote and the catalogs and advertisements which featured his art. I have more than I originally thought, as I just noticed several greeting cards I saved, hoping one day to frame, plus innumerable cups and mugs with his paintings on them, from gift packages that contained tea and cookies at Christmas. I bought Thomas Kinkade monthly calendars and the daily tear-off calendar pictures, and I hope these will still be produced in the future. 
These paintings gave Americans back their America as some people remember it and others wanted it to be. In fact, some designers created houses based on his paintings. His brush is still, but his works live on and hopefully will give joy and inspiration to future generations. As in all good art, there is nothing jarring or profane in Thomas Kindade's paintings, and nothing has to be explained. No deep study is needed to "understand" his paintings, because his art speaks for itself. The only mystery in the cottage scenes was in trying to find the initials of his loved ones.

His art was made available to the average person. Anyone could order a book, a mug, a wall hanging, or even a blanket with his art printed on it. Prints were available at very reasonable prices, so that anyone who loved good art could afford it. He had his own galleries and his own control over how his art was distributed, making it possible for even the poorest person to have some kind of Thomas Kinkade art in their homes. 

Susan Rios, another fine artist, was a friend of Thomas Kinkade and once teamed up with him to create fine art for special occasions, wrote books together and created beautiful art beloved by everyone from the very rich to the very poor.

This scene seemed to depict my life, as my father's homestead and the boat and the little dock look just the same as I remember. Other people thought that the Kinkade art represented life of long ago that they remembered.

If you click on for a larger view, you might be able to see some of the initials of his loved ones that he painted into his pictures.

I particularly liked his lighthouse series, and the symbolism they carried. I used several of the lighthouse paintings in posts I wrote about the power and importance of the home.

The following article is scanned in from the 1993 Victorian Spring Sampler.

Click on for a larger view, and then click on the magnifier to read the article.

The Victorian Sampler magazine is now called "Romantic Homes."

Enjoy more paintings on this video:


amulbunny's random thoughts said...

Several years ago I was shopping with my friend and we went to a Kinkaide store at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. There was a painting there that I knew my mother would love. He bought it for her for her birthday and she sees it every day. It wasn't a print but an original.

After I heard of his death yesterday I was saddened. He was only 54, younger than me by a few years. But he brought such light to many people.

I wish you and yours a Blessed Easter, because He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia.

Lydia said...

Congratulations for being the first comment. I so agree: 54 is so young. And the family must be devastated. I read some comments on the 2nd page of the Yahoo news report, that were quite good.

Anonymous said...

I was shocked when I heard the news this morning. What a great loss for lovers of beautiful art. I would look at his paintings sometimes and pick the one I would like to model my next home after. They are so full of light and peace, like a heavenly light.

Now he is with his Savior experiencing more light and peace than we can imagine. Thank you, Mr. Kinkade, for giving us a little glimpse of heaven on earth.


Katrinka said...

I really enjoy the lovely glow of light that comes from the windows in his paintings. Thank you for the song you posted, too, Lydia. Very well done post on Mr. Kinkade.

Lydia said...

I am always devastated when a painter dies, especially if I take a liking to their art, for these artists cannot be replaced. Once they are gone, their original art ends.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lydia for posting such a wonderful tribute to Thomas Kinkade. I've been so busy all day I just heard the news of his passing.
He was one of my favorite artists and his beautiful paintings bring joy to our lives.

Living in Oregon is like living in some of his paintings.

I will truly miss him. He spends this Easter with Christ who gave him his wonderful gift and he shared it with all of us. Thank you Thomas.
Mrs. J.

Rightthinker said...

I've always adored Kinkade, and I had the blessing of growing up in one of his most painted towns-Placerville, CA.

Then, and of course before my time, Placerville was a tiny, quaint, and Victorian rich gem in the Sierra Nevada foothills, rich for it's history in the gold rush era.

Now, unfortunately, what I know about Placerville, is that it is highly overcrowded (built without planning for inundation with motor vehicles) full of meth and other drugs, and is highly built up as only a thorough-fare from the business in Sacramento and the Bay Area, to people on their way to Tahoe.

Thankfully, Kinkade preserved so much of the beauty and history, with painting such as "The Bell Tower at Christmas" and paintings of the quaint cottages and beautiful Victorian mansions.

Of course, Kinkade has not been well acclaimed by "experts" in the art world, for reasons you well pointed out..he paints beauty..light..God in nature, etc.

They, like the most horrific displays at "museums" across the nation, prefer darkness and filth for their "art"..without the light in them, they wouldn't see why his painting brings such peace and joy!

God Bless, and Happy Resurrection Day!

Lydia said...


I was waiting for someone to bring all this up.

Good points.

Critics said he painted things that didn't exist. That is not true. He preserved through his art pictures of things that once did exist, in their natural settings.

American towns were once laid out in order, patterned after old European villages, but modern planners and architects wanted it another way: flat roofs, perfectly square towns with no slopes or curves, and bland colors to match the smoke of the factories.

Critics also say his paintings were mass produced. What painter today does not mass produce his/her art to make it available to everyone? Even Susan Rios sells prints on her etsy shop. And even the old masters paintings of the previous centuries are reprinted and mass produced so that we may enjoy them affordably at home. Not every artist needs to be dependent on museams to promote their art. Now, an artist can have her or his own gallery online and promote their own work and sell what they like.

His paintings bring a calmness and a feeling of nostalgia and love for the home and worship and nature. There is a respect in his strokes, and a lack of shock. And,what do we need the most in life today? Love, peace, goodness and kindness. I can find no fault at all in this art.

Rightthinker said...

Much agreed, Lydia.

Of course, the REAL reason they hate his art, is not because it lacks extreme talent...not because it is reproduced; but because he gave God the glory for his talent, and because he chooses to paint beauty to testify to God's goodness.

It's nothing like the "art" of the modern era..depictions of Christ covered in ants..exhibits full of disgusting things and abhorrent shock value.

Sometimes even adults haven't grown past jealousy. They are jealous he made money doing what he loved, and doing so with beauty and credit to the Almighty. His art portrayed history that people either love to reflect on as an era that is unfortunately lost, or deny that it existed in favor of their modern living.

I was speaking to my dad about this briefly at church today. My dad is an amazing artist that paints in real form. He paints nature scenes, and he is also a historian of war, and depicts WWI and WW2 scenes by researching actual history and depicting it there..another way to preserve truth in history. We both agreed the "artists" largely hate his work because "normal" and God-fearing people love it.

Yes, and last time I looked, Rembrandt, Picasso, Monet and all the impressionists (and nearly every other known artist) have reproductions available for purchase..

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, Thanks so much for your articles. I wouldn't be able to understand all the negative things people are saying about this man's beautiful work if it wasn't for reading some of your articles especially the one about cynics.
Melanie S

Anonymous said...

My late husband brought home a Thomas Kinkaid painting from a Kinkaid gallery in Myrtle Beach. Although the painting is a reproduction with some highlighting, it is truly amazing and beautiful.
If you ever have a chance to visit a Thomas Kinkaid signature gallery you will be in for a treat. They are always exceptionally polite, giving free private tours on a whim, teaching wonderful details about the paintings, etc. My then 9 year old son was given a free video detailing Thomas Kinkaid's life as an artist, just because we home school. (And that was before the painting purchase.)
All of our children love the painting and are Kinkaid fans. He was truly a modern day master. Thank you for this post!

Julie Perry

Neo-Victorianist said...

I do find the hate direct toward Thomas Kinkade sickening. Many of the articles published on the day of his death were very negative. But the truth of the matter is the hate direct toward him has nothing to do with the style or technical quality of his work. It is the subject and tone of his work that they hate so such. Victorian houses, moral and Christian themes, "beauty..light..God in nature, etc." Sadly anyone who rejects the nastiness of "modern" world will be on the receiving end of an endless stream of hate.

Lydia said...

Neo Victorianist: I agree, the Victorian bashing never ceases. It was a period of time when people built their own houses, owned their own property generally without aid from banks or government. Government aid was not so available and people had to make it on their own. What a world they created using their own hands and innovativeness. I still go visit towns of that era, marvelling at the way the streets were laid out and the way the homes were built, each with enough land around it to have a garden and some chickens, and yet still be part of a community. Perhaps this is what the Victorian haters are so unhappy about: that people had the freedom to create beauty and order and safety for their families.