The Painter of (Christmas) Light
It’s hard to think of an artist more closely associated with Christmas than Thomas Kinkade.
The holiday seems like the perfect subject matter for the “Painter of Light.” Christmas gave Kinkade the opportunity to create works filled with nostalgia, warmth, and good cheer—trademark qualities found throughout his entire body of work.
Thomas Kinkade’s imagery can now be found on Christmas ornaments, decorations, and holiday cards. There is even a holiday movie, “Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage,” based off one of his paintings, starring Marcia Gay Harden and Peter O’Toole.
Kinkade evoked the spirit of the holidays in many of his paintings, so, in celebration of Christmas, we’ve collected 8 of our favorite Kinkade Christmas paintings along with Kinkade’s own commentary on each one. Enjoy!
KINKADE: “In ‘Christmas Memories,’ first in my series celebrating the joyous festivity of an earlier and more gracious era, one of California’s great historic houses shows its festive holiday face. Colorful lights spill out from the huge Christmas tree, as tethered horses await the close of festivities.”
“Victorian Christmas III”
KINKADE: “In ‘Victorian Christmas III,’ I touch the quiet heart of the holiday itself. Bowered by stately evergreens and blanketed in new snow, this golden house is aglow with the spirit of Christmas.”
“Christmas at the Ahwahnee”
KINKADE: “I can’t think of a better place to celebrate our Savior’s birth than Yosemite Valley, one of God’s most awesome creations. The Ahwahnee Hotel is located in the heart of the valley and has been there for nearly one hundred years.”
“Christmas Tree Cottage”
KINKADE: “When I think of the glory of Christmas, I think of the radiant sunsets that set the snowy world aglow at that time of year. The luminous golden color of the sunset in ‘Christmas Tree Cottage’ is a vibrant reminder that the glory of the season truly comes from God alone.”
“A Christmas Welcome”
KINKADE: “Many elements of an earlier and simpler time survived in my boyhood hometown. Rustic scenes like ‘A Christmas Welcome,’ where horses wait patiently at a split rail fence while their riders enjoy holiday festivities in a rustic stone cottage, are treasured memories.”
“Memories of Christmas”
KINKADE: “Christmas is the Season of Light, and the hue that permeates ‘Memories of Christmas’ is the rosy glow of sunset. The nostalgic vision of life is often described as ‘seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.’ This celebration of community, set in simpler times, is perhaps best viewed through such tinted lenses!”
KINKADE: “In ‘Village Christmas,’ I have tried to capture a Christmas of a simpler time, where street lamps glow with the warm light of a natural flame and the townsfolk use a leisurely stroll to church as the opportunity to stop and chat about the joyous season.”
“A Holiday Gathering”
KINKADE: “Of all the holiday rituals, the one I prize the most is the coming together of loved ones in shared celebration. Even if our family circle is small, the Christmas season can become a benchmark of friendship, a time when we pause to savor traditions of comfort and joy.”
And one of our favorites: “Victorian Christmas” This is used on our Facebook cover and we LOVE IT!
We love Kinkade’s work so much that we have one of our Christmas villages done by him:
All Thomas Kinkade quotes are taken from the book “Thomas Kinkade” by Park West Gallery.