Hills attended Olivet College, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. After her schooling, she worked for Arthur Wesley Dow. Hills traveled in Holland and England, attended the Academie Julian and studied with John Noble Barlow. After returning to the United States, Hills traveled to the west coast and she switched from interior figures to impressionist landscapes. Hills settled in Laguna Beach, California where she opened a studio and taught. Besides her painting, Hills was known for community activism. She was involved with the Presbyterian church and ran the Sunday school. For six years, she was president of the Laguna Beach Art Association. As president, it was Hills' strong advocacy that led to founding the Laguna Beach Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California in 1929.