Wednesday, July 30, 2014

El Dorado County girl wins Young at Art competition

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

From page B5 | March 01, 2012 |

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 in Sacramento.

Sophie is a seventh grader at Miller’s Hill School,in 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 a local art instructor in El Dorado Hills, 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.

Sophie’s work is impressive. She 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. The 2011’s card, which depicted a young deer, a snow-covered Christmas tree and Nativity star is very impressive. 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 x 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, her parents Greg and Suzanne and her younger brother, Zach, were thrilled when the judges at the competition selected Sophie’s work as the Best in Show for the 2012 competition.

Sophie’s piece was voted unanimously for Best of Show by all four of the art teachers and the artistic director at St. Francis High School.

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,” she said.

E-mail Susan Laird at





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