The Painter of Light - he of the sin-free world of religious fantasy - artist, Thomas Kinkade, born January 19, 1958 died suddenly at his home this month age 54. in California. He died alcoholic and bankrupt despite the extreme success of his work. Poor Thom. Like all of us, he dreamed of home. He needed a dream home more than others. As a child he came home to an empty house and his dream was a warm welcome light and a mother at home.