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Suffolk student’s art wins prize

If Heather Nygaard had realized when she took a picture of her fiancé wearing a plaid shirt and holding a kitten that it would soon become a work of art, she might have told him to wear a shirt with a simpler pattern.

Her work paid off, though.

Her pencil drawing of the picture won first place in school, city, regional and state competitions for the PTA Reflections contest and is now being judged for nationals in Washington, D.C.

“It took me three weeks to finish it,” Heather said. “It took me a longer time, because there was so much detail work involved. I told my fiancé, ‘I love that shirt, but it sure was terrible for me to draw.’ I poured my heart into it though, and the end result was definitely worth it.”

Heather is a senior at Lakeland High School and began taking art classes in the 9th grade. She plans to major in art.

Most drawings, she said, take her only a few hours to complete.

But when “Beauty Is…” was announced as the competition’s theme, “I instantly thought of the picture,” Heather said.

“At first, I thought the topic was a little vague, because there are just so many beautiful things in the world, but I remembered the day we spent at my aunt’s house,” she said. “There was stray kitten, and he picked it up. It’s those little moments — a person strong and powerful who could very easily, even accidentally, hurt such a fragile, weak thing — that are truly beautiful.”

While an artist can be his own biggest critic, Heather said she is happy with the final product.

“Getting it done on time was definitely an obstacle,” Heather said. “I was right at the wire, and it took a lot of patience to do it all. I’m not usually happy with drawings, but this one I am.”