Collection: Thomas Kinkade Art


Art Center Gallery's inventory features Thomas Kinkade Disney Dreams, Canvas, Prints, and Giclees. Thomas Kinkade’s portfolio of Disney artwork captures the beauty of Disney fans favorite movies and theme parks capturing the timeless magic of classic Disney stories and their captivating characters through the style of “narrative panoramas.” Each painting tells the entire story of a Disney film in one image. Taking inspiration from art, sketches and other historic documents from the Disney Archives.

Personal History

Few contemporary artists are as well known as Thomas Kinkade, whose paintings can be found in more than 10 million homes worldwide. Born in Sacramento County, California on January 19, 1958, Kinkade knew from an early age that he would become an artist. He grew up in the town of Placerville, where at the age of 12, artist Glenn Wessels began mentoring Kinkade.

Kinkade attended the University of California at Berkeley in 1976 and later transferred to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Despite not graduating from either school, Kinkade still found work in the art industry. He co-authored a book about drawing and worked as a scene background artist for a movie studio.

Inspired by the skills he developed as a background artist, Kinkade began exploring the use of light in his own artwork. This led to the development of the signature style collectors have come to love; idyllic depictions of cottages, gardens, streetscapes, and churches infused with whimsical pastels and an ethereal sense of light. Kinkade used his artistic gift as a way to communicate and spread life-affirming values. He wanted his art to be accessible to anyone and everyone, regardless of their artistic background or faith. It was his dedication and focus on the ultimate goal of Sharing the Light™ that made Thomas Kinkade, the most-collected living artist of his time.

Style & Influence

Recurring features of Kinkade's paintings are their glowing highlights and pastel colors. Rendered in highly idealistic values of American scene painting, his works often portray idyllic settings such as gardens, streams, stone cottages, lighthouses and Main Streets. His hometown of Placerville (where his works are omnipresent) was the inspiration for many of his street and snow scenes. He also depicted various Christian themes including the Christian cross and churches.

The “Painter of Light” nickname (which Kinkade trademarked) went beyond his paintings. In 1980, Kinkade became a born-again Christian and attributed God as a source of inspiration for his work. He proclaimed that his goal as a self-described “warrior for light” was to bring light to all people, regardless of their faith or creed.

For example, the light emerging from his homes represents family values, while the overall presence of light in his paintings symbolizes God’s guiding influence. Even the light posts found in his paintings represent the need for all of us to “share the light” and to be welcoming to friends and loved ones.

If people viewed one of Kinkade’s half-finished paintings, they would have been surprised to find dark and gloomy elements. This is because Kinkade painted multiple layers of dark glaze across his canvases as the first step. According to his book, “Lightposts for Living,” Kinkade believed these dark layers were necessary.

“Dark layers are what will give the work its depth. They will make the windows and the streetlights and even the sun seem to glow from within instead of being dabbed on the surface,” Kinkade wrote. “Because of the darkness, the light I add has more impact.”

Thomas Kinkade Art

Kinkade’s artwork proved to be so desired that, at the time, he sold more canvases than any other artist in world history. According to some accounts, he has sold more canvases than Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Rembrandt van Rijn, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Pablo Picasso combined.

Due to his immense success, Kinkade became a popular artist who was sought after for many important commissions. Kinkade painted milestone events like Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary, Walt Disney World Resort’s 35th Anniversary, the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s purchase of Graceland, the 25th anniversary of Graceland’s opening to the public, the 50th anniversary of Daytona 500, and Yankee Stadium’s farewell 85th season.

Thomas’s biggest 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. Despite his success, Kinkade’s mission was simple: He wanted to make people happy. "I share something in common with Norman Rockwell and, for that matter, with Walt Disney, in that I really like to make people happy." - Thomas Kinkade