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Painter of light Thomas Kinkade: 'I really like to make people happy.' (+video)

Artist Thomas Kinkade, who died Friday, produced idyllic scenes that became a huge commercial success. 'I'm trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel,' he said.

Thomas Kincaid, prolific 'painter of light.'
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Artist Thomas Kinkade once said that he had something in common with Walt Disney and Norman Rockwell: He wanted to make people happy. And he won success with brushwork paintings that focused on idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches – highly popular works that became big sellers for dealers across the United States.

The self-described "Painter of Light," who died Friday at age 54, produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes in dewy morning light that were beloved by many but criticized by the art establishment.

Kinkade died at his home in Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area of what appeared to be natural causes, said family spokesman David Satterfield.

IN PICTURES: Thomas Kinkade

He claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist, and his paintings and spin-off products were said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales, and to be in 10 million homes in the United States.

Those light-infused renderings are often prominently displayed in buildings, malls, and on products – generally depicting tranquil scenes with lush landscaping and streams running nearby. Many contain images from Bible passages.

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