The movie Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage provides its audience with a glimpse into the personal life of the painter during his early development as an artist. The story opens with Kinkade’s return to his hometown during his holiday vacation. Upon his arrival he soon learns that his mother is in financial distress, with pending foreclosure proceedings looming in the background.
In an attempt to help save his childhood home, Kinkade accepts an offer to paint an outside wall mural representing his hometown during the Christmas season. Drawing upon the inspiration from an aging famous artist that lives next door, Kinkade discovers a true source of creative spark that has the ability to touch the hearts of others.
The Christmas Cottage
Studying to be an artist in Berkeley, Kinkade feels somewhat out of place and underappreciated around the people of the town that he grew up in. He takes comfort in his mentor, Glen, who has provided him with several insights about the art of creating and the life that must go into it. Suffering from a combination of depression over his wife’s death and aging ailments such as dementia and severe arthritis, the famous painter struggles to complete what he wishes to be his “last painting” before he dies.
Similarly, Kinkade struggles to complete his painting of the town mural that he has agreed to complete in order to receive some cash that he plans to put towards the back payments his mother owes on their cottage’s mortgage. Initially he finds that he doesn’t have the heart to complete the painting the way he feels an artist should, viewing it as more of a mechanical, practical task he must undertake. Through the darkness that surrounds his family’s financial situation, he comes to realize that despite life’s setbacks and struggles he must never give up on himself and always find a source of light to share with others.
Painter of Light
In the ironic sense that inspiration can sometimes work between mentors and mentees, Kinkade reminds Glen Westwood about the reason that art comes into creation in the first place-not because of how it’s done but why it’s done. On a Christmas Eve visit Kinkade reveals to Glen his gratitude for the inspiration that he’s given him, how his mother is about to lose the cottage, and why Glen shouldn’t give up trying to complete his last painting-because of the light.
The light that Kinkade and Glen find is that of the soul and the heart. It is a light that doesn’t extinguish, as Glen realizes that in order to honor Nicole’s memory he must celebrate her life, not his sorrow in her death. Inspired by Kinkade’s words, Glen paints his last painting entitled “The Last Leaf,” which he gives to Thomas’s family as a Christmas gift to sell so that his mother can pay off the mortgage on the cottage.
As Kinkade completes the painting of the town’s mural, the residents each come to discover what’s truly important in life as they each find their own source of goodness that can exist. In his art, Thomas Kinkade strives to honor the lessons that he learned from his former mentor, always attempting to reflect back the light that he received from his original inspiration. He sees that source of light as being love-a love that can only come from the heart’s joy in life.
The Christmas Cottage by Thomas Kinkade is a touching snapshot of the painter’s life and how he drew upon inspiration in order to not only overcome darkness, but develop his true potential as an artist. The story reveals the power that exists within each individual to bring about change and goodness despite what may exist. Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage is also a reminder of why art and inspiration get created in the first place-so that others can catch a spark of the light that exists within the creator’s eyes.