Thomas Kinkade Reveals the Inspirations Behind 10 of His Iconic Works
Park West’s Founder Albert Scaglione once called Thomas Kinkade the “perfect vehicle to bring people into the lifelong pleasures of collecting art.”
His masterful technique and uplifting messages connect with art lovers in a truly powerful way. The success he achieved during his lifetime was incredible and, even today, millions of collectors around the world proudly hang Kinkade’s artwork in their homes.
Kinkade became so famous, in fact, that many of his designs have become iconic in the art world. Works like “Carmel Sunset on Ocean Avenue” or “San Francisco, Lombard Street” are instantly recognizable as Kinkade creations.
Fortunately, Kinkade loved to write about what inspired his art, so, here are the stories behind 10 of Thomas Kinkade’s most famous works—told in Kinkade’s own words.
“San Francisco, Lombard Street”
“San Francisco has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. When I was a small boy, the City by the Bay was the city for me—my visits here taught me what big city life was all about. I was captivated by its color, its energy, the bustle of its crowded streets, its breathtaking vistas. I still am. So I return time and again to enjoy old haunts and explore new ones.
There are so many intriguing nooks and crannies in this exotic town; there are also stunning spectacles that simply take my breath away. ‘San Francisco, Lombard Street’ celebrates one of the latter—a sweeping panorama that takes in city, bridges, and bay.
This is a golden evening. The warm glow of sunset banishes the mist and paints the busy street with its cheerful light. On Lombard Street, on an evening such as this, life is a gala celebration of the endless possibilities of city life.”
“Stairway to Paradise”
“In the most important ways, my life has been a progress. I have been blessed to see my love of painting grow and flourish, my relations with family and friends deepen and mature. There are earthly places, living moments that speak to the deepest part of my imagination. They offer a glimpse of paradise on earth.
In ‘Stairway to Paradise,’ a classic stone stairway embraced by climbing roses and shaded lavish flowering plum and dogwood trees, is such an emblem of the eternal. Won’t you join me in stepping through that luminous passage?”
“In ‘Lamplight Manor’… the brook quite unexpectedly takes us to a rustic treasure hidden away in England’s quaint Cotswolds—a manor house so magnificent that it stands as a proud proclamation of our instinct for elegance. We tie our skiff to the landing and climb the stone staircase to marvel at the wonders that await.
Indeed, a Celtic cross adorns the massive chimney, while a sheltered old gazebo provides a tranquil retreat for worship. Here we can anticipate the delights that await the children of God.”
“Garden Beyond Spring Gate”
“I would say that, as much as I love a manor house, I am more pleased by the extensive gardens that wreathe these stately homes in natural splendor. ‘Garden Beyond Spring Gate’… illustrates my belief that gardens are truly the loveliest imaginable settings for civilized life.
Imagine taking tea at the gem-bright reflecting pool, the perfume of blossoms washes over you, and the rustling breeze in the dogwood trees mingle with the tinkling of falling water in the fountain. Now that is my idea of a visit to Eden. Perhaps you can take a moment to enjoy a cup of tea in this imaginary garden.”
“Garden of Prayer”
“I feel like this piece has been with me all my life. I am drawn to it. For some reason, it was now that I was called to put it on canvas.
The seven pools were not calculated, they just happened. Perhaps in a garden, we are closer to our creator. We certainly are more close to His creation. My prayer is that this painted garden will be a meeting place for many that would speak to their God in the silence of morning. Or the silence of evening. Or any time in between. In our imagination, we might picture his presence at our side. Or is it just imagination? Do we see in the distance a gentle visitor approaching the gate?”
“The glory of wilderness extends beyond the domain of daylight. In my first two collections celebrating the majesty of mountains, we rejoiced at the beginning and the end of a perfect day. Now, as we bid a fond adieu to the twentieth century, we move on, appropriately, to savor the pleasures of evening.
‘Evening Majesty’ is truly majestic in its scope; perhaps that’s another connection the painting has with the turning of the millennium. To my mind, this would be the perfect place to spend New Year’s 2000, curled up by the fire. And by the way, the little Labrador puppy waiting there is Toby, the first male beside myself to join the Kinkade family.”
I think that, in my Hometown Memories collection, I’ve established—at least to my own satisfaction—that you can go home again. Perhaps not with a boy’s innocence and enthusiasm, but certainly with an adult’s fond memories and deep appreciation for the gifts of community, of belonging, of shared values and dreams that are the essence of the hometown experience. ‘Hometown Morning’ is the sixth and final look at the hometown of my boyhood—and, I hope, at some of the things you remember most warmly about your hometown as well.
“Perhaps a family is like that garden, each child a delicate rose… How like that gardener am I, who daily plants love and encouragement in the rich ground of a child’s heart, and who, with the kind hands of compassion, guides the rose to fill the trellis.
Our newest little ‘bloom’ is our daughter, Everett, with whom God blessed us on June 18th of 1997. On her first birthday, I present this garden, and this cottage, in her honor!”
“Sea of Tranquility”
“How true is it that we often sail to distant shores seeking that which lies hidden in our own heart; our own home. The Sea of Tranquility is not a place; it is all places, for it is buried deep within all people. Inside each heart is a private refuge; a place of serene rest which Christ referred to as, ‘the peace which passes understanding.’ I picture this inner sanctuary as a golden ocean of light—both warming and refreshing—a place I like to call The Sea of Tranquility. Won’t you join me for a sail?”
“Carmel Sunset on Ocean Avenue”
“This painting is overflowing with the kind of details I love to paint: the old mission bell in its stone portico, the stately Monterey pines that shroud the avenue, and the bustling people that are so much a part of the ambiance of Carmel.
My romantic vision of Carmel is also enlivened by many vintage cars and the charming buildings of the seaside town—the lights of which reflect, jewel-like, in streets moistened by the passing of ocean mists. And, of course, a luminous sunset bathes the entire scene in a warm glow, as though a tranquil moment has been frozen in time.”
To collect works from Park West’s Thomas Kinkade collection, just contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 or firstname.lastname@example.org.