“Isolated Chaos”

Well, outside of some other projects here and there, I’ve finally finished work on one painting that has been sitting on my art board for quite some time (ok, let’s be honest, 2 years!) This piece is titled “Isolated Chaos”. Originally, through my sketches, my plan was to create a piece using a medium I don’t use all that often, gouache, and to put several different elements in it that tend to be a struggle for me. Stone, building structures, multiple overlapping forms, etc. It began as just a frivolous piece to experiment with and let myself loose on. Not over thinking.


However, as I began sketching, mind-mapping and creating buildings, I realized that certain themes for the buildings kept coming up naturally. Particular buildings held hope, or ideas or even confusion and were in and of themselves, isolated. The elements around them only reflecting those ideas. The isolation of these buildings on a small and delicate mass of earth felt like a reflection of my individuality.


(Sorry for some of the varying picture quality here)

So, by the time my sketch reached the final paper, buildings had attained more depth and clarity as to why they were there and elements began to fall in naturally as I went ahead and gave myself permission to not over think, but just work.

The first building in the foreground represented the present for me. Small and not much to look at, but making the best despite its form and its almost claustrophobic surrounding elements. A brightened exterior and details such as the hanging plant show that despite its surroundings and modest look, it’s doing its best with where it is at and still trying to grow and make itself known, in any way possible.

Yet, the large stones, while in a way create a feeling of security, keep it locked in and don’t even allow the door to be fully accessible. A mailbox in the front lawn, filled with scattered mail that never went anywhere, reminded me of the feeling of miscommunication and not being able to keep up with standard expectations. A railway track runs closely from behind but quickly ends. Showing a hope, though shortsighted and ultimately unable to progress further or to escape.

The next two buildings which are on a similar level, are a skyscraper and a farmhouse. Both to me represented competing desires. One to live in a city and the other the country. The skyscraper is considerably stunted and crowded back. Often as I see the city. With plenty of busyness and modern energy which I enjoy, but with limitations. Yet the largeness of the city and “success” seem alluring. The farmhouse, meanwhile has the comforts of openness and growth. It also communicates a sort of peace and calm to me. The land producing much. Yet isolated and separate. The farmhouse large, yet empty feeling.

And finally, the house on the hill. There’s a lightness, openness and hope in it for me. It’s not overwhelming, yet not suffering from some of the limitations as the others. It’s set for potential. Whether it’s a home, a shop like my mom and I had always talked about or both. It’s the only building with a sign of life, with the smoke rising from the chimney and birds above. There’s natural growth around it and the room for growth structurally. Connected to the others, yet its own identity entirely.

The greenness and natural growth around everything throughout the painting brings a sense of peace and that hope and contentment can be found anywhere. However, things like broken electrical wires, tracks that go nowhere, a leaking pipe and the disproportionate forms showing that things are not all functioning or in their proper place or alignment.

So, I’ll end that there. I’m terrible at ending outside of wanting to awkwardly say, “ta-da!!”

Now I’ll leave the piece up to you. Maybe it says something different to you or nothing at all. Either way, it exists and is finally finished.


And yes, Sherlock approves this painting. I know you were concerned. He just wanted to let you know.


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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Awake!2013 Halloween Illustration

Like this illustration? Buy the print here —>  http://society6.com/BessAYontz/Awake-q0O_Print


I would first like to share that I finally got my personal website up and running! So, feel free to check out bessyontz.com! Same portfolio, just a cool look. Another update is that I’m playing around with various details on my blog right now. So if things on here appear different in some way or another nearly every-other day, that would be why.

One of those changes will eventually be my logo in the top corner. I feel it needs to be either revisited or simply get a whole new look.

In other news, to keep you updated on random work I’ve been doing, below I have a quick alien concept sketch I did, (very rough), and also a study of a mourning dove I did to help with the development of a client project (also pretty rough). Below that, is the long lost set of Halloween illustrations I forgot to put up!

The Shy Alien (quick concept sketch):Shy alien concept sketch

Mourning Dove Study:Mourning Dove bird study

Out of several illustrations I did this past Halloween, I selected three for framing to add to my Halloween decorations for next year:


And below is one of the last Halloween illustrations I did but didn’t get a chance to post. The final one of the set, “The Notorious Black Cat”:

 The Notorious Black Cat

Thanks for following and I look forward to the upcoming projects for this new year to share!



I’m still wrapping up this years Halloween illustrations, (sorry if you tried to move onto the next holiday already, I’ll get caught up soon)! Here’s the next Halloween one! There will be at least one more yet that I’m finishing up. I’m hoping to make these into a nice set of three with the mummy portrait, the spiders, and then another portrait to put in some nice black frames to decorate with for next year. I was put back in schedule on these by some traveling.

I will also be having some more sketch/study pieces coming along for your viewing in the next month as well. I have a list of areas that need improvement in my work, so I am going to begin trying to focus on one of those points a week and do a few sketches/color studies.


Also, here is a quick shot of some of the sketches that led to these fuzzy little spiders:


Something New at the End of the Semester

To begin, this has been the busiest, most exhaustive semester I have ever faced, so I have been unable to post much recently. However, I am about to not only finish another college semester, but will graduate from my undergrad in illustration exactly a week from now!

The end of the semester always means a new pile of work to view, so I will be doing my best after the next week’s upcoming finals to post some of that work for all to see. Although, I feel like even though I have been working harder than ever that I really don’t have too many pieces to show for it. But I will put up what I have along with some reflections about the work and process I’ve gone through this past year. Feel free to keep an eye out for that post in the next week and check it out if that sounds interesting at all!

As I’m about to enter my final three days of my undergrad, I have 8 illustrations to go! I ordered gouache for the first time about a month ago and was hoping to use it on these  8 illustrations. However, I didn’t get to work with gouache until tonight and after an experimental piece to try it,  I realized I needed a considerable amount of more practice before using this on an actual project. I attempted to do a quick little cat drawing for fun to try out the gouache and you can see it below. Well, I tried…hopefully, after much more practice I can utilize this as another tool. I’m just surprised I’m finally trying gouache at the end of my college career. I kept meaning to try it and never did. I’m glad to have something to experiment with after graduation though and I find continuing to explore materials so beneficial to me mentally and freeing to my work to just play. I have been unable to just play with my work here at college for several reasons.

So here is my first gouache painting ever, just a quick little thing and I hope to see progress soon as I continue to experiment with the material after graduation.