"Painter of Light" Battled Alcoholism

By May Wilkerson 04/13/12

Thomas Kinkade's brother says the painter of serene scenes died from drinking.

Art doesn't always imitate life. Photo via

The brother of Thomas Kinkade claims that the painter of angelic scenes battled demons. The 54-years-old's death last week allegedly followed a relapse, after a long struggle with alcoholism. Known as "the painter of light," Kinkade's bucolic nature scenes and quaint pastorals adorn dentists' offices, coffee mugs and calendars across the country. But the serenity of his paintings seems to reflect a reality far from his tormented personal life. Despite fetching up to $100 million a year in sales, Kinkade's syrupy works were openly despised by the art world. And he suffered under the contempt of his critics, says his brother Patrick Kinkade, a professor at Texas Christian University. "As much as he said it didn't bother him, in his heart deep down inside it would sadden him that people would criticize so hatefully his work and his vision." Patrick says his brother battled alcoholism over the past half-decadein 2006, the LA Times reported that he drunkenly assaulted a woman at a book-signing, and urinated on a statue of Winnie the Pooh at a Disney Hotel. Kinkade had supposedly been sober for some time but is said to have relapsed shortly before he died at his home in Montesereno California last Friday. "Apparently he's been drinking all night and not moving," a dispatcher is heard saying on a recording from the day of his death. Kinkade's girlfriend, Amy Pinto, offers a contrasting account, claiming he "died in his sleep, very happy, in the house he built, with the paintings he loved, and the woman he loved.”


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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.