Monday, August 30, 2010

Shedding Light On Emerald City: Thomas Kinkade's Oz Pt. 1

The Kinkade family may have had an inkling where Thomas’ future was headed when at four years of age he corrected the perspective of a roadway beside a house drawn by his older sister. Other children usually fuss for a bottle or a toy, but Thomas was best placated with a crayon. Thomas’ father had dabbled in painting and his work was displayed in the family home even after his parents separated. Thomas may have tried to emulate his father thereby forging a closer bond. As his proficiency evolved, it became evident he'd been set on his own pre-ordained path. The budding talent nurtured by family and friends would eventually blossom into America’s most collected living artist.

Thomas Kinkade hails from historic Placerville, CA, a scenic little town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. His mother struggled to support three children long before single parent homes were commonplace. Finances were meager, but love and faith were in abundance. Thomas persevered during these lean years, undaunted by his disadvantages and found solace in God’s love and his pursuit of art. He derived joy and beauty from every day simplicities, a trait he’s carried into adulthood and ingrained into his work.

Thomas contributed to the household by delivering newspapers. His own income also allowed for art supplies and he cleverly fashioned frames from discarded wood. The fledgling artist chose to forgo the usual adolescent past times, opting instead to hone his craft experimenting with a variety of styles and mediums. He sold his first painting when he was 11 and by the time he reached 13, Thomas was painting with oils at a professional level.

Thomas was blessed with two men very influential to him as artists and friends. Local artist and painter Charlie Bell instructed Thomas in the fundamentals of painting, teaching him to blend nature and imagination. Thomas accompanied Charlie on a painting excursion where he was introduced to plein air (open air) painting, a method Thomas immediately took a shine to and still employs heavily in his work today. Divine intervention struck when a famous artist/retired art professor moved in right next door. Glen Wessels had over 60 years experience as an artist, educator, writer, and world traveler. Thomas ran errands and tided Glen's studio barn. He became Glen's protégé and was thrilled to learn from someone with such vast experience rather than relying solely on books. Thomas says Glen "didn't teach him how to be an artist, but why to be an artist." Charlie's and Glen's combined tutelage taught Thomas the techniques and emotions of art.

When the time came for higher education, Thomas was awarded an academic scholarship and encouraged by Glen Wessels to attend Berkeley. The Berkeley faculty emphasized art should be all about the artist. Thomas disagreed, believing art should serve a higher purpose than oneself. He became disenchanted with Berkeley and after his sophomore year transferred to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Thomas possesses an energetic, intrepid spirit he attempts to appease with frequent travel. Always up for an adventure, he and friend James Gurney, creator of Dinotopia, embarked on a cross country trek aboard railway cars. Their exploits inspired The Artist’s Guide to Sketching. That book in turn led to employment with Ralph Bakshi Studios painting some 1400 background cels for the animated feature Fire and Ice. Fire and Ice proved an invaluable experience as it required ingenuity and creativity to create the fanciful realms. During production, Thomas learned some lighting techniques that would figure prominently in his works and endear him as The Painter of Light. Thomas developed the ability to seemingly pull light from the atmosphere to infuse into his paintings. Or perhaps it’s the love from his heart for his Creator and his fellow man that makes his paintings luminesce.

The film work and sales of his paintings provided enough financial security at the time for Thomas to take some big steps. He decided to focus solely on his own work and he felt confident enough to propose to his childhood sweetheart Nanette Willey, who he met on his newspaper route. Early in their marriage, they invested their hopes, dreams, and life savings into establishing Thomas as a published artist. Very few endeavors result in overnight success and Thomas Kinkade was no exception. At times, friends thought Thomas should consider a more reliable source of income, but Nanette’s devotion and belief in his talent never waned. She patiently endured the challenges of developing a new enterprise, working as a nurse until the business reached a steady incline.

Dawson – 1984
"Thomas Kinkade’s first published print This work depicts the famous Yukon town of Dawson during the height of the northern gold rush, around 1898. The era I depicted in Dawson must have been brutal indeed. Yet, with the hardships of survival, comes the exuberance of camaraderie. I hope I've captured both aspects in this work, one of the most detailed of my early career." — Thomas Kinkade

Thomas’ vision of producing beautiful artwork accessible by everyone has come to fruition. People of all ages
and all walks of life who have never made an art purchase are hanging Thomas Kinkade pieces in their homes.
The business that began modestly in the garage of their home has evolved into Thomas Kinkade Galleries in Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, the United Kingdom, and all over the United States. The Thomas Kinkade Company reached new heights after establishing itself as a licensing brand. The art was taken from the wall and cast in three dimension, inspiring a myriad of collectibles from giftware specialists such as Hallmark, Bradford Exchange, Dakin, Teleflora, and Hamilton Collection to name a few.

Thomas’ first award came in 1989 when he submitted Yosemite Valley – Late Afternoon Light at Artist’s Point for consideration to the Arts for the Parks national awards. The piece won the Founders Favorite Award, deeming it the official collector print for the National Parks Association. Yosemite Valley would later grace a $10 postage stamp. The 1990s brought many more awards from the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers. In addition to his art, the NALED also recognized Thomas’ humanitarian efforts. Above all, his greatest accomplishments are spreading the glory of God’s love while illuminating the lives of people all over the world.

Light of Freedom - 2002
Inspired by the response to the Sept. 11 2001 terrorist attacks, Thomas created Light of Freedom, one of two pieces to aid the relief efforts of the Salvation Army.

Among the many accolades, he has been honored with numerous requests to commemorate monumental events for posterity. Thomas has deftly captured the majestic pride of Salt Lake City, host of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and the revelous atmosphere celebrating the 2002 World Series. Stunning tributes to Disneyland, Disney World Resorts, the Daytona 500, Graceland, and the Indianapolis Mother Speedway followed shortly thereafter.

Disneyland 50th Anniversary – 2005
Thomas Kinkade has been the only artist granted permission to set up his easel on Main Street where he spent 16 hours on a study of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. The partnership with Disney continues with Thomas Kinkade’s Disney Dreams and Disney Discoveries collections.

Graceland 50th Anniversary – 2007
The beloved home of rock ‘n’ roll icon Elvis Presley from 1957 until his death in 1977. Graceland opened to the public in 1982 and next to the White House, is the most visited private home in the United States.

Other favored commemorative subjects are landmarks and historical locales such as Fenway Park, Yankee
Stadium, Times Square, Ellis Island, and the Hotel Del Coronado.

Ellis Island - 2003
"When I visited this great port-of-entry for some 22 million immigrants, I was profoundly moved by a new appreciation for the powerful promise of American freedom. The dream of a better life for themselves and their families prompted so many to attempt the perilous voyage. Seasick and heartsick, packed into the holds of overcrowded ships, our parents and grandparents bid farewell to the world they had known and headed bravely into an unknowable future.

For them, Ellis Island, neighboring The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, represented the commencement of that future." - Thomas Kinkade

Hotel Del Coronado – 2003
Pictured above on the Thomas Kinkade 2011 Plein Air Calendar "The Hotel Del Coronado - one of the grand dames of stately nineteenth century wooden hotels - is haunted by memories of gentlemen in top hats strolling the grounds, with ladies in long evening gowns on their arms." – Thomas Kinkade

Perhaps one of the elegant gents Thomas envisioned was none other than the creator of Oz himself, L. Frank Baum. The author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz frequented the hotel from 1904- 1910 sometimes staying for months at a time. At least 3 Oz books were penned during these stays and it is thought the descriptions of Emerald City from these works were based on the hotel’s grandeur.

Thomas Kinkade carved his niche painting scenes of spectacular landscapes and idyllic abodes that warm
one’s soul like hot chocolate in winter. He may have achieved fame faster had he chosen to cater to elite collectors, yet he found he preferred to reach out to a broader audience. His popularity and influence continue to rise as his repertoire expands. Thomas has weathered criticisms with grace admitting to his frailties and says people should look to his art rather than him for inspiration. Nonetheless, he’s a shining example the “dreams you dare to dream, really do come true.”

And so, let there be light.

Collectibles  Shown With Links if Applicable

Teleflora 2003 Sunday Evening Sleigh Ride Bouquet

Hallmark Ornament Victorian Christmas 1997

Dakin Plush Teddy Bear Stepping Stone Cottage

2011 Plein Air Wall Calendar Andrews McMeel

Midwinter Magic Snowman Bradford Exchange

Angel of Hope Pink Ribbon Figurine Hamilton Collection

Breast Cancer Support Hope Angel Figurine Hamilton Collection

Snow White Fabric Panel - David Textiles

Always In My Heart Pendant Necklace Ashton Drake

True Meaning of Christmas Bradford Exchange

Caring Companion Figurine Alzheimer's Research Support

Teleflora Santa's Workshop 2010

Links and Resources
Fire and Ice


Thomas Kinkade: Twenty-Five Years of Light
The Thomas Kinkade Story: A 20-Year Chronology of the Artist by Thomas Kinkade and Rick Barnett
The Artist in Nature Thomas Kinkade and the Plein Air Tradition
The Christmas Cottage - DVD
An American Artist - The Thomas Kinkade Life Story - DVD

Shedding Light on Emerald City Pt. 2

"You’re out of the woods, you’re out of the dark, you’re out of the night, step into the sun, step into the light……"

Dorothy Discovers the Emerald City begins our adventure through the land of Oz with Thomas Kinkade. Dorothy is the first of 8 pieces “celebrating great moments from the classic film.” The focal point is one of the most memorable moments in cinematic history, the first glimpse of the awesome Emerald City. The grand sight beckons the weary travelers to forge onward. Bolstered by the magnificence before them, Dorothy and friends are aglow with renewed hope and camaraderie. Even little Toto shares in the moment while keeping a wary eye on the Wicked Witch lurking nearby. Malevolence emits from the Witch who won’t rest until the ruby slippers are in her grasp. In the distance her henchmen stand by, ready to do her bidding.

This piece captures the spirit of the film, yet is irrefutably a work of Thomas Kinkade. The painting bears many of the Kinkade hallmarks such as the hidden elements, gentle hues, the soft light over the horizon, the double rainbows that arch over the spires of Emerald City, portraying the key elements from the whole film in one image, and his signature flora and fauna that line the yellow brick road. The scene is perfectly illustrated with the wonder and peril that lie ahead.

With the release of last year’s 70th anniversary DVD and Blu Rays, The Wizard of Oz was restored to its original glory. It’s hard to imagine the Wizard of Oz could be more luminous, yet under Thomas Kinkade’s hand the yellow brick road and Emerald City shine brighter and “prettier than ever!” His use of light and color beautifies Oz beyond MGM’s imaginings. The dazzling palate he’s chosen would surely make Technicolor envious!

Dorothy Discovers the Emerald City is the most stunning rendition of Oz yet. Please join us on this thrilling new venture as we explore the breathtaking visions of Oz through the eyes of Thomas Kinkade.

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Dorothy Discovers the Emerald City

The Wizard of Oz™ I
By Thomas Kinkade

"Like most children of my era I was intrigued by The Wizard of Oz during its annual presentation on our TV screen. This adventure provided the ultimate daydream for a young artist whose imagination yearned to “follow the Yellow Brick Road”.

To recreate my passion for Oz in visual form, I utilized my imagination to journey beyond what had been created for the original movie. As is the case with my Disney paintings, each Oz painting will be an attempt to capture the essence of the entire movie in a single emotionally charged image. In the first Oz painting we see Dorothy and friends as they view the fabled Emerald City for the first time. The familiar cast of characters is here – Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow -- as well as the Wicked Witch of the West, scary Winged Monkeys, and of course the Munchkins. We can even see Glinda the Good Witch floating in her transparent sphere of light, as though to bless the journey of the travelers.

I envision this painting as the first piece in what I will refer to as the “Oz Octet”, a collection of eight epic paintings intended to celebrate great moments from this classic film. The eight paintings in this collection will present a monumental challenge to my abilities as a story teller and picture maker. Yet like my Disney collection, I expect this collection to flourish as collectors discover that each painting builds upon the next. Dorothy Discovers the Emerald City is a panorama of the great places from the film. Though while watching the movie none of us can be entirely sure where the Wicked Witch’s Castle is located in relation to the Emerald City, I have placed it distinctly in the foreground suggesting a barren land that must be traversed to encounter the delights beyond. Like The Wizard of Oz film, my painting presents the raw emotions of myth and daydream as they collide with wondrous imagination.

For those collectors who are ready to engage my Oz collection, rest assured that Dorothy Discovers the Emerald City is the starting point of an epic adventure in a land “over the rainbow”. – Thomas Kinkade

Key Points

Dorothy Discovers the Emerald City
is the first work of what will become Thom’s “Oz Octet”.

Thom utilized his imagination to journey beyond the imagery of the original film and recreated how Oz might have appeared employing modern special effects.

In the painting, you’ll notice that Toto is the only character that reacts to the Wicked Witch, as the others are distracted by the awing influence of the Emerald City as they view it for the first time.

Dorothy Discovers the Emerald City
, as with Thom’s Disney collection, attempts to capture the quintessence of the complete film in one panoramic image.

Look closely along the Yellow Brick Road, to find the Apple Tree that said “Ouch”, when Dorothy tried to pick an apple off of it.

Look even closer to find a hidden toucan in the tree that the Wicked Witch of the West is hiding behind.

Thom has hidden 88 dedication hearts to embrace the love of his mother Mary Anne who celebrated her 88th birthday this year.

*** Stay tuned to the Curiozity Corner for a special offer for International Wizard of Oz Club Members. Representatives from the Napa Valley Gallery will be attending the Wizard of Oz festival in Chesterton, IN.

International Wizard of Oz Club
Wizard of Oz Festival

Wicked Ornament - Just Released

Now at Carlton Cards or stores that carry American Greetings. Retail $27.50. Plays a clip from Defying Gravity. This ornament is first in a series. Wicked ornament can be ordered online for 20% off plus shipping from Long Island Treasures.

Wonderful Bandeez of Oz!!

Remember the rubber bracelets from the 1980s? They've been kicked up a notch and made a comeback! The latest children's craze are silicone bracelets that come in a variety of shapes and colors that retain their shape when removed. They're small, inexpensive, durable items that are fun to collect and trade. They've been around for two years now and they are everywhere! Some Hallmarks have them displayed on their counters. Schools have deemed them too distracting and banned them from the classrooms. They retail anywhere from $3 to $5 a pack.
Bandeez has just released the Wonderful Wizard of Oz bracelets. A second set is coming soon. They are available on Amazon for $2.95 plus $1.00 shipping.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Party Like It's 1939!!

I don't know about anyone else but I'm certainly inspired to start planning a 75th anniversary bash!

Wicked Witch, Toto, and Dorothy Cake Toppers
Storyland Collectables also has other assorted Oz party supplies and check out the new birthday train from Westland.

Found this balloon on eBay. Cute!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Watch

Bradford Exchange 70th anniversary women's watch. Accented with Swarovski crystals and packaged in wooden keepsake box. Watch reverse is etched with 70th anniversary character silhouette logo.

$149.00 plus $9.98 shipping payable in installments Order #108384001

Order by phone - 1-866-907-3607

Mail - Bradford Exchange
9333 Milwaukee Ave.
Niles, IL 60714

Email -

Friday, August 13, 2010

Magical Land of Oz Masterpiece Globe

New 8 " tall globe from Bradford Exchange Edition of 5000

Interactive features including characters that rotate around the Emerald City as the Wicked Witch flies overhead, light up crystalline Emerald City and plays "We're Off to See The Wizard"

Item no: 01-10355-001-B1 Priced at $125.00 plus shipping. Payable in four installments.

Order by phone - 1-866-907-3607

Mail - Bradford Exchange

9333 Milwaukee Ave.
Niles, IL 60714

Email -

Photo and info courtesy Louis Berrillo

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tonner Dolls Fall 2010

The Tonner Doll Company continues to push the envelope with re-inventions of the Wizard of Oz characters. We've seen many different visions of Dorothy, Glinda, and the Wicked Witch, but now we have the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion re-interpreted as female fashion dolls. Jasmine Becket-Griffith was the first to do Dorothy's companions as female characters for Ashton Drake. Now the Tonner Doll Company follows those up with a BANG!!! It will be interesting to see how these dolls are received among Oz collectors, but I think they're fabulous and expect them to do very well.

Each doll stands 16" tall and is an edition of 500. For more detailed information please see

Beauty and Brains $199.99

Heart on my Sleeve $189.99

Hear Me Roar! $199.99

2010 has been an outstanding year for Wizard of Oz dolls. We have the vintage Barbies and sassy Dorothy from Mattel, the toddlers from Adora, the Adventures in Oz collection from Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Halloween dolls from Madame Alexander and now the Fall 2010 intros from the Tonner Doll Company. Simply amazing introductions this year. I can't imagine what could be in store for the future. It's an exciting time to be collecting Oz!!!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Miss Dorothy Gale

Dorothy has been re-interpreted as a blithe coquette high of heel and short of skirt as 2010
couture dictates, yet she's also youthful spirit and charm.

Her sidelong glances and mischievous smile seem to indicate she knows her ruby stilettos and matching handbag will be the envy of all in Oz.

Some are a little too envious, but with her loyal companion tucked safely in her purse, Dorothy journeys onward braving the perils of Oz. She knows you can't go wrong with cute shoes and a feisty dog.

After vanquishing her competition, she's ready to conquer the boutiques of Emerald City.

Dorothy's favorite girlish hairstyle has been updated with a sophisticated sweep to the side and tied with red bows. Her skirt is tucked into two tabs in the back of the box giving it a sweeping motion. Her peasant blouse bears beautiful stitching and the sleeves are accented with blue bows. Blue bows also adorn the thigh high stockings which are tucked into her hard won sparkling red heels. She comes with a COA and a doll stand.

*quote is not mine. It's been on plaques on eBay lately and I thought it was appropriate for this entry*

Miss Dorothy Gale is en route to Karen Owens. She has the vintage Barbies in stock as well. Check out her other fine collectibles while you're there!

Bradford Exchange "Treasures of Oz" Jeweled Box Collection

Each metal Limoges styled box is beautifully crafted and painted by hand. The shiny enamel finish is enhanced by hand applied simulated jewels. Dorothy's ruby slippers have over 120 red, glittering stones. They measure approximately 2 1/2" to 3 1/4" long.

#1 Dorothy's Ruby Slippers
#2 Scarecrow's Diploma
#3 Tin Man's Heart
#4 Cowardly Lion's Medal of Courage

Each issue is $39.99 plus $7.99 shipping

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