By Kim Minugh and Hudson Sangree
Famed Placerville-raised painter Thomas Kinkade has been arrested for allegedly driving drunk outside Carmel, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A Monterey County sheriff's deputy initially pulled over Kinkade's Mercedes Benz for a vehicle code violation Friday night, said CHP Officer Robert Lehman. After making contact with the 52-year-old Kinkade, the deputy suspected that he was drunk, Lehman said.
The deputy called the CHP to assist, and an officer performed tests to determine that Kinkade was impaired, Lehman said. The CHP officer arrested Kinkade just after 10 p.m., Lehman said.
Kinkade was booked into the Monterey County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor drunken driving, Lehman said.
The arresting officer reported that Kinkade was "very polite" during the exchange, Lehman said.
Kinkade did submit to a blood test, Lehman said; however, the CHP is not releasing his blood-alcohol level.
Kinkade, dubbed the "Painter of Light," is the most-collected artist of modern times and likely the best-selling in history. Millions of his paintings are displayed in homes across the nation.
His specialties are light-filled scenes of cottages, lighthouses and chapels, and seaside and pastoral landscapes.
A nationwide network of art galleries specializes in his brand, and officially endorsed Web sites sell Kinkade-themed goods.
Kinkade was born in Sacramento and grew up in Placerville.
He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.