American Painter Thomas Kinkade died yesterday (April 6, 2012), at the age of 54, in his Los Gatos, California, home. Reports are that his death appears to be of natural causes.

“Thom provided a wonderful life for his family,” said his wife, Nanette. “We are shocked and saddened by his death.”

Kinkade once described the relationship between his art and his faith: “Paintings are the tools that can inspire the heart to greater faith. My paintings are messengers of God’s love. Nature is simply the language which I speak.”

He referred to his paintings as residing “halfway between a memory and a daydream. I try to produce a re-creation of the past without the hard edges.”

It was that perspective that Joe Carter, among others, found problematic—something of a lament documenting the move from serious artist to a producer of pop culture for the masses. Obviously many evangelical consumers disagreed with Carter’s perspective, finding something attractive and reassuring about this popular art.

Christianity Today has run a number of pieces on the man, his work, and the controversies:  “The Kinkade Crusade,” “Darkness Looms for ‘Painter of Light,'” “Gallery of Accusations,” and an obituary.