Friday, April 13, 2012

Tribute to Thomas Kinkade & "Green Bean Casserole"

All you have to do is say “The Painter of Light” and mostly everyone knows that you are talking about the beloved Thomas Kinkade who died last Friday at the age of 54. (January 19, 1958 - April 6, 2012) I would love to share and write about Thomas’s life, work, and how his paintings have inspired me in my life. I am one of Kinkade’s biggest fans. I have collected over the years many of his prints of cottages, books, Christmas items, calendars, and so many other beautiful treasures too many to mention.

His artistry of idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches has been an inspiration to many people all across the USA. Thomas incorporated his work with faith as consciously as he did with light. His paintings often featured a church as well as a Bible reference and the Christian symbol of a fish with his signature. Kinkade placed emphasis on the value of simple pleasures and that his intent was to communicate inspirational, life affirming messages through his work. Thomas Kinkade credits the Lord, for both the ability and the inspirations to create his paintings. A self described “devout Christian” who gained his inspiration from his religious beliefs, said at one point his goal as an artist was to touch people of all faiths, to bring peace, and joy into their lives through the images he creates.

Kinkade grew up in Placerville, California. He attended college there and married his childhood sweetheart, Nanette in 1982. The couple has four daughters, Merritt-24, Chandler-21, Winsor-17, and Everett-15, all named after famous artists. Thomas creatively fills his paintings with “love notes” by hiding the letter “N’ in his paintings as a tribute to his wife. His daughters also find their own messages of love from their father as their name and images often appear in many of Kinkade’s paintings.
Thomas was selected to help celebrate many milestones such as, Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary, Walt Disney World Resort’s 35th Anniversary, and Yankee Stadium’s farewell 85th season in 2008. Kinkade also captured the historic mansion Biltmore House on canvas as well as the Commemorative Portrait of the 50th Running of the Daytona 500 in 2008. There were many awards that Kinkade received for his work, which included, “Artist of the Year”. In 2003, was chosen as National Spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, in 2004 he was also selected for a second time by the Christmas Pageant of Peace to paint the National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC. A self produced movie about Kinkade’s life was released on DVD in late November 2008 called, “Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage”. This story shows the motivation and inspiration in a semi-autobiographical story behind his most popular painting, “The Christmas Cottage”.
"Silent Night" by T. Kinkade
I was first introduced to Thomas Kinkade’s work when I received a calendar for Christmas one year. Those of you that are my readers know that I love Christmas, snow, and winter. I happen to see a picture of a Christmas cottage called, “Silent Night” on one of the months and I was hooked. This is my favorite among all of Kinkade’s paintings, even though I have many favorites, this one is by my desk all year long. When I gaze at this cottage, I imagine another time, peace, family, and love. It is warm and cozy, and I visualize a fireplace with all the Christmas trimmings inside. This painting just pulls me in and gives me inspiration that God is all around us and love is comforting me like a quilt on a cold winter’s night.

Thomas Kinkade said once that, “Of all the holidays rituals, the one that I prize the most is when we come together to share a meal with loved ones such as Thanksgiving. Giving to each other while appreciating what we have is universal and timeless.” He remembers, the baking of pumpkin bread by his wife and the sweetness of the bread filling the air for hours. His memories recalled other amazing scents that invaded the kitchen for example apple pie, green bean casserole, fresh warm biscuits, and the turkey. But it all ends with the family gathered together. You will be certainly missed, Thomas Kinkade, but I know that you are lighting up heaven with your paintings.

My recipe this week is to pay tribute to Thomas Kinkade with one of his favorites which was “Green Bean Casserole . Hope you enjoy this creamy and crunchy green bean dish which can be prepared for a holiday or any family dinner.

Green Bean Casserole

1 (10 3/4 oz) can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup of milk
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 (9 oz each) packages frozen cut green beans, thawed
1 can of French’s Original French Fried Onions

Mix soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup of French Fried Onions. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until hot. Stir, and then top with remaining 2/3 cup of French Fried Onions. Bake another 5 minutes until onions are golden. Yields: 6 servings

Till Next Time…….

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