Serene Saturdays: Calm-as Kinkade

See what I did there? 🙂

Thomas Kinkade (1958-2012) was best known for his paintings of picturesque landscape, idyllic cottages, and main street images, and of course, for his superb use of “light.” His work was not widely received throughout the art world, due to his simplistic, “unoriginal” depictions of mere landscapes.

But in fact, Kinkade’s work is not simplistic at all—at least not in my opinion—and while I may not be a trained art critic, I know this much is true: his work, full of color, light, and life comforts me on a far deeper level than any canvas portraying nothing more than a red circle. Besides, he created his own kick ass empire.

This post is not a biography on Kinkade, nor is it an analysis of his artwork. This is a Serene Saturday after all, and my purpose is to show why I find Kinkade’s work wildly comforting.

The prints of course, are not cheap, (especially since his death), but I do have a framed painting and tapestry of two of my favorite images hanging in my bedroom.

For the life of me I can't remember the title of this painting! It's lovely though, isn't it?

For the life of me I can’t remember the title of this painting! It’s lovely though, isn’t it?


Snow White Discovers the Cottage

Snow White Discovers the Cottage

Kinkade’s work has a lifelike quality to it in the sense that each painting evokes a response from all five senses. When I look at a Kinkade painting, I’m not just seeing it, but hearing it, feeling it, smelling it, tasting it. If there is water I can hear it moving, and if there are flowers I can sense the waft of sweetness permeating the area. I can feel the sunlight on my skin.

It’s as if I am there. Like in Mary Poppins, when she jumps into one of Bert’s chalk sketches on the sidewalk.

I also have two coffee table type books that become my companions during dark periods.

Smaller book on top: "The Power of Light"

Smaller book on top: “The Power of Light”


"Masterworks of Light"(see even Ziggy likes it!)

“Masterworks of Light”
(see even Ziggy likes it!)

No joke, I’ve actually felt my body relax as I’ve flipped through these pages.

Below are two of my favorites:

Deer Creek Cottage

How quiet this scene must be if two deer are lurking about. I can make a whole story from this picture. It’s Sunday night. A college professor is about to start a new a semester and is feeling a bit uneasy. He’s alone in his winter cottage making last minute preparations. The sight of the two deer is a positive omen. Life goes on. Nature prevails. It all will be alright.



Graceland! If you look closely you can see Elvis hand-in-hand with a girl, who I believe Kinkade is portraying as Priscilla. Art is a projection of course; we will never have the opportunity to witness to Elvis leaving his mansion, unseen. Only through the imagination of an artist is it even remotely possible.

Which artists comfort you?



Filed under Inspiration, Self Discovery, Serene Saturdays

7 responses to “Serene Saturdays: Calm-as Kinkade

  1. I think Kinkaid was not widely received in the art world is because his art was meant to be a comfort, not necessarily artistic. The attributes you ascribe to his work are easily replicatable by just about any artist worth his weight. Sorry to burst your bubble. If you don’t feel comforted by abstract art you can still find representative art being made today. You may like the Impressionists, look for Monet on the Internet. Mary Casatt is another old school painter you might like too. Just some ideas.

  2. Yes, I had heard that before (the criticisms on Kinkade’s landscape work) and I do understand the argument. If his artwork was meant to comfort than it worked (at least for me) that’s all I was saying. Still he remained true to work, and like I mentioned in the post he built an unbelievable empire. There’s something to be said for that.

    Again though I definitely see truth in the criticisms…I still love his work though! I try to compare it to the literary world (which I’m much more comfortable with). There are always certain genres, hence, “chick lit” that gets a bad rap for not being “literary” when in reality, people read it, they get pleasure from it, and they learn from it–isn’t that whole point of literature anyway? I guess my point is that sometimes certain standards diminish the true nature of a creation. (Then again I wouldn’t read Fifty Shades of Grey if you paid me). Still, people love it, and from what I’ve heard, have been inspired by it.

    Thanks for suggestions on different forms of art though. I think I could get into the impressionists. I suppose I have a lot to learn, and this helps, thanks.

  3. There’s something to be said for a painting that you want to disappear into with all of your senses!
    Lately, I’ve been looking at a lot of digital art–fantasy landscapes, creatures, and machines. Maybe it’s because I want my imagination to become more real?

  4. Natylie Baldwin

    Thanks for this post discussing the comfort and inspiration of visual art. Kinkade’s work is comforting.

    I tend to like some of the impressionists (Renoir, Monet) and some of the abstract expressionists, particularly of the color school like Helen Frankenthaler. I love “The Bay” and “Blue Territory” by her. I love artists who can really do something with color that grabs me. One of Rothko’s last paintings before he died had a great effect on me. It wasn’t the series of repetitive shapes but the warmth of the colors used — reddish brown in the one I’m thinking of — and how the shapes melted into one another.

    • Sounds wonderful. I agree, colors are initially what strikes me. Though dramatic black and whites (esp in photography) always have the same effect. I like Monet as well. My personal journal has a Monet image on the front over. Thanks for your suggestions. I need to educate myself more on the world of art. I’m more of a “literary” type, but Kinkade always comforted me–not necessarily in an “art appreciation” way, just in a regular, soothing way…same as a cup of tea.

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