Sophie Hill, 12, is the Best in Show winner of the 2012 Young at Art completion, held at St. Francis High School in Sacramento. Here, she holds her winning entry, a pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor painting of a preening crane. Photo by Susan Laird

Spotlight Columns

Art makes Sophie Hill happy

By From page B2 | February 29, 2012

El Dorado County girl wins Young at Art competition in Sacramento

Sometimes, what it takes to succeed is the willingness to step out into the deeper water.

This is what Sophie Hill, who lives in Shingle Springs, did on Feb. 1 when she showed her artistic talent at the annual “Young at Art” competition at St. Francis High School.

Sophie is a seventh grader at Miller’s Hill School, which is part of the Latrobe School District.

“I entered the competition because I read about it in ‘Village Life,’” she said. “I read that there was a chance to win a scholarship. I thought it would be fun to see different kinds of art.”

I should back up for a moment here and let readers know that Sophie is quite an artist in her own right. For the last four years she has studied under El Dorado Hills art instructor Linda Kissela.

Every week Sophie attends Kissela’s class at the Four Seasons Retirement Center. There, she works with watercolor paints on increasingly challenging works.

I asked Sophie if I could look at her artist’s portfolio.

The work she brought out for me was impressive. Sophie has an eye for line, shapes and color.

Sophie is quiet when meeting newcomers, but her eyes sparkle when showing her work. She is enthusiastic when sharing her craft and answering questions.

“I like watercolor because it is soft,” Sophie said. “It’s very flowing. It has no hard lines, and you can make it bright or dull.”

For several years this talented young lady has painted the Hill family Christmas card. I was most impressed with 2011’s card, which depicted a young deer, a snow-covered Christmas tree and Nativity star. Not only was the snow on the tree executed well, but there was a “fourth dimension” to Sophie’s work: a feeling of space, peace and tranquility.

“A lot of our friends put that card up on their refrigerators,” said Suzanne Hill, Sophie’s mom. “And now they are all saying that they don’t want to take it down. It makes them feel good to look at it.”

Sophie’s entry into the Young at Art competition was a 10- inch by 12-inch unnamed work in pencil, pen and ink and watercolor depicting a preening crane. As someone who has hung student art at competitions for many years, I can tell you that Sophie’s work could easily be mistaken for the work of a much older student — even a high school senior.

The Young at Art competition offered many prizes to students, including art supplies (sketchbooks, charcoal, paints and more) and gift certificates to local art supplies stores. The grand prize for Best in Show was a full scholarship to the St. Francis High School Summer Arts Workshop for Middle School Students worth $275.

Sophie attended the show with her parents Greg and Suzanne and her younger brother, Zach. They were thrilled when Sophie’s piece was unanimously voted for Best in Show by all four of the art teachers and the artistic director at St. Francis High School.

“Her artwork shows her sensibility to design and color,” said Elizabeth Danielson, artistic director. “She is talented artist.”

Now Sophie will have the opportunity to pursue her arts passion this summer with the direction of the Troubadour Art Department’s amazing faculty. She will make new friends and have an opportunity to explore her options for high school — a subject of much importance to her family.

“We are looking at our options, at what is out there,” said Greg Hill, Sophie’s dad. “There are many fine schools out there, including St. Francis, Oak Ridge and others. We are looking at what each school has to offer.”

In the meantime Sophie, who hopes to grow up to become a professional photographer, is focused on her love of art. Which is as it should be when one is just 12 years old. Even when taking great steps into the unknown she radiates the joy of the journey.

“I’m happy because art makes me happy,” Sophie said.

Submit your arts or entertainment event for consideration in Susan’s column by emailing her at [email protected].

Susan Laird


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