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The Audience Appeal of a Thomas Kinkade Sunset

June 09, 2002|MARK EHRMAN

More popular than the Egg McMuffin, more colorful than a pack of Skittles, the inspirational renderings of trademarked "Painter of Light" Thomas Kinkade have captured the hearts, minds and wall space of millions. Alas, Kinkade doesn't part with originals. (The faithful can purchase lithographs transferred to canvas and "enhanced" with oil paint to the tune of $660 to $10,870.) However, a touring motor home carrying a dozen or so original sunsets, cottages and other tableaux lets fans gaze upon their hero's actual brush strokes, displayed to maximum effect by dimmer-switch-operating representatives of Kinkade's Media Arts. Some reactions at the "Traveling Museum of Light's" stop at the Thomas Kinkade Gallery in Monrovia.

Jerry Bride, retired supermarket executive

Eunice Bride, housewife, Arcadia

Do you own any Kinkades?

Jerry: "Teacup Cottage" and "Evening Majesty."

Why do you think he's popular?

Jerry: Because of what he can do with light in the paintings.

Any other artists you like?

Eunice: That's all I like.

Jerry: Not really.

Do you do the dimmer-switch thing at home?

Eunice: We're getting that put in this week.

Georgina Murray, registered nurse, Ridgecrest

What interested you about the show?

I like the way they dimmed the lights, you can see the brightness of his paintings really stand out.

Which one did you buy?

"Perseverance." I've been looking for a painting with not much but waves and storm. It's something that I can look up at. If you were a nurse, and I'm a nurse manager, perseverance means a lot.

What other artists do you like?

I've been to the Louvre, and there are a whole bunch of artists that I like, but I can't think to name any right now.

Christian Medina, cook, Monrovia

Grace Medina, student, nurse

What brought you here today?

Christian: We happened to walk by and see the pictures.

Do you own any of his work?

Grace: I own his calendar. I got it as a present. I love it.

Why do you think Thomas Kinkade is popular?

Grace: Because he's the painter of light--the American Dream of beautiful country houses. He even makes the city look warm and comforting.

Do you have a favorite Kinkade work?

Grace: I'm not sure what the name is. "Country Cottage"?

I had a cottage in the back of our house that looked exactly like it.

Tom Janetzke, TV editor, Arcadia

What brought you here today?

I received a flier in the mail. I love Thomas Kinkade's work.

Do you own any Kinkade pieces?

"End of Perfect Day II." It's a canvas print.

Why do you think he's so popular?

I think there's a little bit of traditional style in his paintings and also the aspect of being able to dim the lights.

Do you have a favorite piece?

"Days of Peace." He's got some Native American Indians in a big valley with the sun setting behind it. I put a bid on EBay but the reserve wasn't met. I was the only bid.

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