Calif. artist Thomas Kinkade dies at age 54


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- California artist Thomas Kinkade, known for his scenes of cottages, country gardens and churches in dewy morning light, died Friday, a family spokesman said.

Kinkade, 54, died at his home in Los Gatos of what appeared to be natural causes, David Satterfield said.

Kinkade's sentimental paintings were beloved by middlebrow America but reviled by the art establishment. They generally depict tranquil scenes, such as country homes with lush landscaping and streams running nearby. Many contain images from Bible passages.

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. He claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist.