Painter of light Thomas Kinkade: 'I really like to make people happy.' (+video)
Artist Thomas Kinkade, who died Friday, produced idyllic scenes that became a huge commercial success. 'I'm trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel,' he said.
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His artistic philosophy was not to express himself through his paintings like many artists, but rather to give the masses what they wanted: warm, positive images, Ken Raasch, who co-founded Kinkade's company with him, told the Mercury News.Skip to next paragraph
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"I'd see a tree as being green, and he would see it as 47 different shades of green," Raasch said. "He just saw the world in a much more detailed way than anyone I've ever seen."
Bridges are a frequent subject, as are steps or grassy inclines leading through gate images. Some of his paintings are visual depictions of Bible verses, such as "A Light in the Storm," taken from John 8:12: "I am the light of the world."
A biography on the website said Kinkade rejected "the intellectual isolation of the artist" and instead, made "each of his works an intimate statement that resonates in the personal lives of his viewers."
"I share something in common with Norman Rockwell and, for that matter, with Walt Disney, in that I really like to make people happy," he said.
He called Rockwell his earliest hero. "I remember my mom had a big collection of copies of (Saturday Evening Post) magazines, and that was really my introduction to those great illustrators," he said.
"I was always the kid who could draw," he said. "I had this talent, and it was the one thing that gave me some kind of dignity in the midst of my personal environment."
As a young man, Kinkade traveled by boxcar from California to New York with fellow fledgling artist, James Gurney, sketching the American landscape along the way.
The site says that with these sketches in hand, the two were able to get published "The Artist Guide to Sketching" in 1982, a book that helped land him a job creating background art for animated films. Also that year, he married his childhood sweetheart, Nanette, to whom he frequently paid tribute to by hiding her name and those of his four daughters within his paintings.
"Thom provided a wonderful life for his family," Nanette said in a statement. "We are shocked and saddened by his death."