As the sun sets, the sky erupts with bursts of color.
Oil artist Hilda Kilpatrick-Freyre captured the moment in her 30-by-40-inch painting, “Ventura Pier.”
“I think it’s very powerful. Sunsets are like that in California,” the former Summerland resident told the News-Press by phone from her home in Menlo Park, near San Francisco.
“The colors here are really stunning!” the artist said.
“I love putting color on the canvas and then stepping back and saying, ‘Wow, did I do that?'” said Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre, who enjoys painting South Coast beaches.
“What I love the most is when people look at them, and that makes me so happy,” she said. “I feel like I either brightened your day or made you smile, or you just enjoyed viewing it.”
The artist is displaying her oil paintings through July 27 at Panaro Brothers Winery, 4517 Market St., Suite 7, Ventura.
The Talara, Peru, native earned a degree, which is similar to an associate’s in the U.S., in international trade at Asociaci?n de Comercio Exterior in Lima, Peru, in 1980. She worked in banking there and studied Italian at the University of Genova in Genova, Italy, in 1993 and 1996.
She moved in 1998 from Peru to Ventura, part of the sunny Southern California that she loved. She lived there until relocating in 2016 to Summerland and in 2018 to Menlo Park, where she does office work and event planning for SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute).
After her move to Ventura, Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre created art — first pastels, then oils. She took classes taught by painter and sculptor Marcia Cummings.
Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre worked until 2013 as the office manager at the Ventura Visitors Bureau, where she found herself in the right place at the right time to turn her art passion into a career.
Cafe Bella, which was next door to the bureau, learned of her talent and invited her to have her first art show there in 2003.
She went on to show her oil paintings at various venues such as the Channing Peake Gallery in Santa Barbara, Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro in Montecito and the Palm Loft Gallery in Carpinteria. Her work has also been displayed at the Museum of Ventura County and Buenaventura Gallery, both in Ventura, and the Santa Paula Art Museum.
Some of her paintings are plein air works, and others are studio projects based on her photos.
Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyere talked about her paintings that are on display and available for purchase at the Panaro Brothers Winery exhibit. She said her prices typically range between $300 and $5,000.
Her 30-by-48-inch painting “Flower Field,” depicting a man working in a field, won several awards. Among them is first place in 2017 at the 80th annual Santa Paula Art & Photography Exhibit, presented by the Santa Paula Society of the Arts.
“I loved the hat!” Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre said about the man she saw in the field. “I loved the flowers.”
She also painted the Rosewood Miramar Beach resort. The 18-by-24-inch painting is called “The Miramar.”
“I really like that it’s very close to the ocean,” Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre said. “I love the contrast of the building with the mountain, and the clouds were coming toward the mountain. I also liked the reflection on the water of the people who are walking toward the Miramar.”
Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre’s “Palms” is an 18-by-24-inch painting of the palm trees she saw on her frequent drives on Harbor Boulevard in Ventura.
“I love painting palm trees,” she said, chuckling. “I like how they move when there’s a little bit of wind. I like how the light reflects in the palms. I like how they’re skinny and become very lush on the top.”
Her 16-by-16-inch painting “Summer Solstice” is of an area near Butterfly Beach in Montecito, where she took some artistic license.
“It’s with a few more rocks. The artist didn’t want to stop!” Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre said with a laugh. “I felt they made for a better composition.
“You can document what you’re seeing, and you can express what you’re feeling about the place,” she said. “What I like about the ‘Summer Solstice’ painting is how the waves move all the way up to the palm trees.”
Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre sees her art as a way to promote environmental awareness.
“I’m hoping they’re not only beautiful paintings, but that they show a feeling of trying to preserve this (scenery) for future generations,” she said.
“There’s so much pollution and plastics in the middle of the ocean,” Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre said. “We need to be more careful with our world. We don’t want to destroy it. My paintings show how serene a place can be without trash or plastic bottles or even people driving a motorcycle on the sand.”
Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre, whose paintings will be in a show with those of the late acclaimed artist Peter Holbrook starting in August at Marcela’s Village Art Gallery in Menlo Park, still feels an affinity for the South Coast. She plans to move to the Ventura or Santa Barbara area in a few years.
There’s still more to do on one of her 805 paintings: Stearns Wharf.
“I have a small one, but I think it still needs work,” Ms. Kilpatrick-Freyre said, chuckling.
“I like piers because I like their design, and there’s some romanticism about them: People walking on them, watching the sunset together.”
Hilda Kilpatrick-Freyre’s oil paintings are on display through July 27 at Panaro Brothers Winery, 4517 Market St., Suite 7, Ventura (654-1577). The winery is open 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.