In the very beginning of his artistic career, Thomas Kinkade put his entire life savings into
the printing of his first lithograph. Though at the time he was already an acclaimed illustrator, Thom found that
he was inspired not by fame and fortune, but by the simple act of painting straight from the heart, putting on
canvas the natural wonders and images that moved him most. It was this dedication and singular-minded focus on the
ultimate goal of Sharing the Light that made Thomas Kinkade, a simple boy with a brush from the small country
town of Placerville, California the most-collected living artist of his time.
Throughout his life Thomas Kinkade shared his joy and used his paints in support of
hospitals, schools, and humanitarian relief. Though the recipient of countless awards and honors, it was Thom's
profound sense of purpose that his art was not just an accessory, but also a ministry, that continues on as his
legacy. From custom images that were sold for The Salvation Army, Hurricane Katrina relief, Rotary International,
to donations that now grace the halls of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, the White House, The Vatican, and
Britain's Tate Museum, Thom raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over his lifetime for charity.
Thomas Kinkade the artist was also a devout and loving family man. It was this devotion for
his family that inspired him to add symbols of his love to his artwork. Numerous paintings contain hidden "N's"
representing Thom's lovely wife Nanette and many other paintings include the numbers 5282 as tribute to their
wedding date May 2, 1982. Thom's four daughters were also included in his artistic process- after the birth of each
of his daughters, Thom painted adoring images in each of their namesake; Evening at Merritt's Cottage, Chandler's
Cottage, Winsor Manor and Everett's Cottage.
Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light, emphasized simple pleasures and inspirational
messages through his art - and the branded products created from that art. From textiles, to collectibles, to music
and books, Thom gave credit to a higher power for both the ability and the inspiration to create his paintings. His
goal as an artist, who was Christian, was to touch people of all faiths, to bring peace and joy into their lives
through the images he had created.
Thom's dearest wish had always been that his artwork would be a messenger of hope and
inspiration to others - a message to slow down, appreciate the little details in life, and to look for beauty in
the world around us. As millions of collectors around the world sit back and enjoy his artwork in their homes,
there is no doubt that Thomas Kinkade had indeed achieved his goal of Sharing the Light.
A Lifetime of Light - Online Exhibition
Experience this complete presentation of Thomas Kinkade's prolific 30 year career as America's Most Collected Artist. From his published works, we have prepared nearly 500 images; just click on an image to advance chronologically or use the links below to skip to a particular year.
Enter A Lifetime of Light
An American Artist - The Thomas Kinkade Life Story (video)
From his boyhood home in rural Placerville to becoming the renowned Painter of Light, Thomas Kinkade walked a focused path. An American Artist reveals the experiences and inspirations that influenced the artist...From the memories of family, teachers, mentors, and friends, here is the life of the man behind the art.
Play An American Artist (57 min. video)