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From colored pencils to award winning watercolors

By Patte Smith; photos courtesy of the Potter family

Photo of Olivia Potter’s patriotic rendition of the Statue of Liberty

Olivia Potter’s patriotic rendition of the Statue of Liberty received a top 10 award by the U.S. French Embassy.

Olivia Potter is 16 years old and a very busy Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) student and artist extraordinaire. Potter fell in love with art at very young age, and when she attended elementary school at American Academy, that love grew deeper – eventually joining the school’s art club. As Potter has progressed through middle and high school, she has continued to explore her passion for artistic creation and expression across all mediums. As an artist, she’s hooked and creates both in school and on her own.

“I started with Crayola colored pencils, and in middle school I got my first set of Prismacolor colored pencils,” Potter noted. Wanting more in-depth instruction, she watched YouTube videos. Perfecting her craft, she continues to explore artistic techniques as she experiments with other mediums.

When her RCHS French teacher, Mrs. Savas, mentioned the Vive La Liberty art contest, it piqued Potter’s interest. “I love art and believed I could do well in the competition,” said Potter. “One of the prizes was a Statue of Liberty LEGO set, and who wouldn’t want that?”

The U.S. French Embassy launched the contest to celebrate freedom and the French-American friendship. A 9-foot-tall, 1,000-pound “mini” Statue of Liberty was on display at Ellis Island for July 4 and then was installed outside the French Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. on July 14 – Bastille Day. The mini replica, little sister to Lady Liberty, was crafted from the original 1878 plaster model that is on display in Paris at the Museum of Arts and Crafts.

Potter used colored pencils to draw the Statue of Liberty and watercolors to paint the colors of the French flag in the background. “I wrote the last part of Emma Lazarus’s poem ‘The Colossus’ on the background; it is also featured on the bottom of the Statue of Liberty in New York.” It signifies the importance of the gift to both countries, Potter explained.

Chosen as a top 10 finalist, Potter’s art is featured on the French Embassy’s Instagram page, @franceintheus.

“When notified by the French Embassy that I was in the top 10 nationally, I was very excited and so surprised,” Potter exclaimed. “I am proud of myself and want to keep working hard.”

Photo of Olivia Potter, artist

As stunning as her artwork, Olivia is successful at many endeavors at Rock Canyon High School and throughout her life. Smiling and happy, she is optimistic with a will to succeed.

Potter’s artistic talents do not stop with drawing and painting. She also performs in theater, dance, and is active in several clubs at RCHS. She is also part of a production team that writes and produces songs. Academically, Potter shines as well; she is in the French National Honor Society, National Honor Society, and Science National Honor Society. Potter also participates in volunteer work throughout each school year.

Living with her Castle Pines family of five – six if one counts her dog, Bentley, Potter enjoys her family and her cousins down the street. “My sister draws Disney characters with me, and my brother and I play Mario Olympics and Minecraft. My family loves pizza and movie night on most Fridays.”

Full of energy, Potter exudes confidence, spirit and a positive attitude and does not “let grass grow under her feet” – if she did, she would be drawing it.



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