On Sunday, Nov. 5, the Claremont Museum of Art presented the 14th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta at the historic Padua Hills Theatre, in the picturesque foothills above Claremont, California.

The event combined an arts and crafts sale, art exhibition, live music, film screening and art demonstrations. The clouds of the damp fall morning eventually gave way to a postcard perfect blue sky with fluffy scattered clouds. Afternoon sunlight poured through the olive tree canopy warming the guests as they strolled the weathered brick patios and decks.

Ceramic pieces by artist Kim Hau. Photo by Doug de Wet/SAC Media.
Ceramic pieces by artist Kim Hau. Photo by Doug de Wet/SAC Media.

This year's Fiesta featured an exhibition of the vibrant watercolor landscape paintings of artist Milford Zornes, who moved to Claremont following World War II where he quickly became an integral part of the local arts community. According his biography, "Zornes was a much-admired instructor, having taught at several institutions, including Pomona College, Otis Art Institute, and Pasadena School of Fine Arts."

Premier screenings of the new documentary film on Zornes, "Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection," were presented inside the theater, which now serves primarily as a wedding and event venue.

The art sale featured the works of 25 local artists. Jewelry, glassware, functional and decorative ceramics, paintings, clothing and accessories were all available to purchase as were a variety of art and design books.

Artist Richard Martinez and watercolor painting. Photo by Doug de Wet/SAC Media.
Artist Richard Martinez and watercolor painting. Photo by Doug de Wet/SAC Media.

The influence of Zornes could be seen in the bright, flowing watercolor paintings of retired Claremont High School art teacher, Richard Martinez, who was participating in the art sale on the front patio. Martinez, who still teaches ceramics for Claremont Adult School, said the ability to paint brings him joy, and he considers himself lucky to have the opportunity to express himself through art.

Guests on the front patio could also view the functional ceramic stoneware art of Kim Hau, its smooth, curving lines and earthen colors complemented the warm outdoor setting. The finely detailed polymer clay jewelry of Meisha Barbee and the hand-blown glass of Paul Brayton, and the richly textured ceramic forms of Barry Vantiger were also on display and finding many admirers.

Ceramic pieces by artist Kim Hau. Photo by Doug de Wet/SAC Media.
Ceramic pieces by artist Kim Hau. Photo by Doug de Wet/SAC Media.

Ceramic artist and instructor, Lenny Larson, founder and former owner of the Clay Yard ceramic studio in nearby Ontario, California captivated children and adults alike with a wheel throwing demonstration on the Sunset Terrace patio behind the main theater.

An acoustic duo provided the soundtrack for the scene as Larson formed a large bowl out of a block of several pounds of red clay on a spinning potter's wheel below. Behind Larson, the hillside dropped away to form a view of the sprawling valley landscape, not unlike some of the soft rolling valleys featured the paintings by Zornes inside the buildings above. Above Larson, a decorative wrought iron arch framed the scenery in the distance.

Ceramic artist Lenny Larson throwing clay. Photo by Doug de Wet/SAC Media.
Ceramic artist Lenny Larson throwing clay. Photo by Doug de Wet/SAC Media.

Guests were also able to purchase a variety of refreshments, including Mexican food, fresh baked goods, coffee and ice cream. Many relaxed with their selection at the shaded tables around the property, while other munched on their treats as they roamed the grounds.

For information on future events and exhibitions, visit the Claremont Museum of Art's website and follow them on Facebook.