Artist Thomas Kinkade Paints Elvis Home

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Monday, September 25, 2006; 10:16 AM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Known for his paintings of cozy cottages, country gardens and churches, artist Thomas Kinkade has created a similar tranquil scene in his painting of Elvis Presley's famous home.

Kinkade, who finished the oil painting in about three hours on Friday, said he wanted to paint Graceland as if it were a brisk autumn morning with a fire in the fireplace. Kinkade described his 401st painting set for release as a "sketchy painting," a study that he will take to his California studio to refine it for a finished portrait to be released in March.

Prints of the study and the finished portrait will be for sale around the same time as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Elvis' purchase of Graceland, The Commercial Appeal reported.

Kinkade said his sister was an Elvis fan and that he seemed destined to paint the famous home: "When I was growing up, I had Elvis music in the house all the time."

The artist told the newspaper that in the final work he envisions "a likeness of Elvis somewhere in the painting and Elvis' Cadillac."

A California native beloved by some but reviled by the art establishment, Kinkade claims to be the most widely collected living U.S. artist. Kinkade's paintings typically include peaceful scenes of cottages, country gardens, churches, streams and lighthouses in dewy morning light. Many contain images from Bible passages.

Roughly 10 million Americans have a Kinkade painting at home. The wall hangings and spin-off products are said to fetch $100 million a year.

© 2006 The Associated Press