Guest / Limited Access /

The "Painter of Light" Thomas Kinkade has died Friday in his California home, according to the San Jose Mercury News. He was 54. A statement from the family said that his death appeared to be from natural causes, the newspaper reports.

The Christian artist became well known for his paintings of idyllic cottages, creating at least 1,000 paintings of landscapes, churches, gardens, lighthouses, and seascapes. His paintings often featured streams, bridges, and light radiating from a cottage. His website had described him as the most-collected living American artist.

In 2010, Kinkade was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after one of his firms filed for bankruptcy. The FBI was investigating whether he fraudulently induced investors and ruined them financially, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2006. Before Kinkade's group went private, the company made $32 million per quarter from 4,500 dealers, according to the Mercury News.

Kinkade studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Art Center of College of Design, though he dropped out of the schools. His art sold well but received much criticism in the art community. He was named artist of the year by the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers in 1995, and chosen as designated graphic artist of the year for three years. In 1999, he was voted into U.S. Art magazine's hall of fame.

Kinkade is survived by his wife and four children. Many of his works include a Bible reference, a fish (ichthus), his signature, and the letter N in honor of his wife, Nanette. "Paintings are the tools that can inspire the heart to greater faith," Kinkade has said. "My paintings are messengers of God's love. Nature is simply the language which I speak."

Updated (4/12): A new report ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWhen God Fights Idolatry with Unconventional Weapons
Subscriber Access Only When God Fights Idolatry with Unconventional Weapons
A better way to read the bizarre story of Elisha and the bears.
RecommendedHow Not to Listen to the New Sufjan Stevens Album
How Not to Listen to the New Sufjan Stevens Album
Can we avoid turning the Brooklyn-based artist and Christian into a poster boy?
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
Thomas Kinkade, 'Painter of Light,' Has Died Suddenly at 54 ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.