Atomic Dream No. 7


On a recent visit to the Atomic Testing Museum in Nevada I couldn’t help but appreciate the surreal side of these monumental experiments nascent in the 1950’s. Considering the era it seemed an appropriate subject for my tribute to Yerka. It was a time of great scientific leaps, emerging freedoms and the end of innocence, but the first thing that struck me was the shape of the blasts. I find it miraculous how Nature can repeat the same form in so many different ways. I chose to work primarily from Yerka’s Jablkomania although there are extensive root/road structures in many of his works.

My painting was done entirely in Photoshop with an original size of 3840 x 2400 pixels. Comments and critiques most appreciated.

14 March 2009:

Hi everyone,

I would like to share some detail images of my painting. It is almost impossible to see them clearly on the final image size! I was very pleased with the way the clocks and ice cream turned out, and I was particularly proud of the root “vignettes” because I felt as though I was creating pixel art. I hope you will like them:


your drawing here has this real Mediterranean feel, that encourages that smooth fluid line you have. I think that the concept is nice because it offers a high contrast in terms of their nature. It’s interesting to compare an atomic bomb to a tree because one sustains life while the other destroys it. But I also think that the the mushroom cloud needs more work. It looks more like a tree than an explosion in my opinion and would be nice if it looked like both at the same time.


Hi caffeinedealer,

Thank you so much for your comments. I understand your points regarding the mushroom cloud. Initially I did have the entire cauli/broccoli/banyan as a more integrated unit in the whites. This didn’t feel right because of the duality it created with the woman - disparate elements plopped on the same backdrop… and the roots would just have looked like a weird bone yard! There was no relationship and I wanted to create the sense that she was more connected to the blast. I repainted the broccoli section to be an echo of her dress… Or was it that she came from the “broccoli”?

I hope that you will consider these points and take another look at it :wink:


The importance of the tree-explosion is obvious. I can see that you wanted to show how it reached high in the sky.

Since your tree-explosion transformation requires the use of color and shape to give its meaning I would question anything that would interfere with that. I would only add elements to it only if it would enforce its meaning or add to it. We can tell how high the tree/explosion is already by reference to the 4 other clouds. In my opinion the cloud on top of your tree-explosion is affecting the shape and its not adding anything else that is not already been said.

I could see a cloud on top of the tree-explosion to convey how the “scientific leaps” go even beyond the clouds and higher, but the cloud you choose is sitting on top like a hat… stopping it.

Maybe the other clouds could have more of a hint of an explosion shape/detail to them as well.

Anyways… that is just my opinion and I hope it helps.


Hi mexfogel,

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my painting. I had intended the cloud “on top” to suggest the second cloud expansion of the blast shape. By your observation, it seems I did not do enough to integrate these two elements, but I did not want this part of the blast to be too different from the clouds, either. I will certainly keep your comment in mind if I revise this piece. Thanks, again. :slight_smile:


Really nice work…Well presented…All the very best!


Hi hasansgrafix,

Thank you for visiting and for your kind words of encouragement. :slight_smile:


Color look like Miami in 1950 style. I like how yellow fabric feel blowing. What this colors in root is different?


very nice paint Lynda… love the way you created the root and woman figure… is it all paint was done in photoshop? the figure also?


Nice concept and nice picture. I like the color of the landscape. Congratulations.


Nice Work.i like it.:slight_smile:


Hello Photobug2010,

Thank you so much for your comments. I see your point about the palette, but it is inspired by Yerka’s Prairie House - with proportions being a little different, of course. Thank you for noting the fabric - that was a real challenge for me to get the lines I wanted while still trying to give it an organic feel. The root colors are an echo of the woman’s flesh with some lavenders from the mountains and greens from the broccoli, so they are still within the palette range. :shrug:

Hello terrifortino,

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Yes, this was entirely done in Photoshop. The roots are based on reference images of several banyan trees and the woman on a gymnast walking a beam. The roots are more textured than the rest of the painting because I wanted it to feel as though they just suddenly grew --like a “shockwave”. I am so please that you like them! :bounce:

Hello Beatrix,

Thank you for visiting my challenge page. I really appreciate your words of encouragement! :wavey:


Hello radkrish,

I am so pleased you stopped by. Thank you for taking the time to comment! :slight_smile:


hi linda,

I liked the way you visualise.
If i am not wrong, you showed some explosion in sureal form.
But i found lack of light and shadow in the composition, in comparison to your reach composition.

Why is the name given “ATOMIC DREAM NO.7” ?
Is there other composition like 1,2,3,4,5 etc ?


Hi Siddhartha,

It is great to see you here! :wavey:

Thank you for that amazing compliment --it means a lot to me coming from the creator of ACME! :blush:

You are right about the lighting. I was playing with the “surreality” of it by having shadows in some places and not others along the ripples of the yellow ribbon. But also I had a creative dilemma regarding the “candle power” of an exploding giant vegetable compared to the ambient light of a desert. I think it the shadow is fine for the woman, but I probably should have done more for the roots and the base cauliflowers of the explosion. Ironically, “time” was a factor since I only started this composition after the Steampunk Challenge. Given a little more time for reflection and self critique, I probably would have treated the lack of continuity. You are a good friend for calling me out on that point!

The title refers to the juxtaposition of my subject’s two worlds of and also the [size=2][color=#ffffff][size=2][size=2][color=#0000ff][color=paleturquoise]Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists [/color][/size][/color][/size][/color][/size]symbolic clock showing “5 minutes to midnight”. My rational for choosing “No. 7” is because I backed up the clocks to 7 minutes before midnight–since my subject was atomic testing and not nuclear war. In addition, Las Vegas is such a party town (the “Dream”) and the dichotomy of having the Atomic Testing Site so close by really struck me. There was gambling and world class entertainment (even at the time of the testing) right next to experiments that may very well have led us down the path to self-destruction. In fact, the Atomic Testing Museum displays photos of the scientists at dinners, going bowling, etc. – not that they shouldn’t have lived balanced lives – it just struck me as…well…surreal.


Hi. What I ask before about colors in root is different I see now the new picture. this is what I ask. sorry my english. before I dont see goodthe red door . thanks


Hi Photobug2010,

I apologize for not offering the answer you were looking for the first time- I misunderstood your query. In the little “pockets” created by the roots I chose to put some references to the locals and events associated with the testing. These were more free association than pre-planned and started with the idea that the yellow path would go through different areas that I associated with the events. The first connection that was obvious to me was the “yellow brick road” from the wizard of Oz. I wanted to create the Emerald City from spent uranium rods and then realized that the actual rods were rather unimpressive. Instead there are uranium dots on the sun clock and I included a small section of the (yellow brick) road. The red door you asked about symbolized going someplace we shouldn’t --opening the door to the unknown. The other vignettes refer to local geography and attractions and the streamers symbolize the bizarre spiraling clouds that appeared in the photos of the tests.

Thank you for your continued interest.

Kindest regards,



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