The Chemist replied, “In other words, what I believe is that things can be infinitely small just as well as they can be infinitely large…"
So begins a once-famous pulp adventure story written in 1919 and published in 1922 by Raymond Cummings, a New York author who was one of the first "pop" science fiction writers. In his book, "The Girl in the Golden Atom," a scientist - adventurer uses a magic chemical formula to shrink his size to subatomic levels. Inside the world of an atom of gold, he discovers entire civilizations and people including, of course, a beautiful girl he falls in love with. In the book the girl, surprisingly, has black hair.
The odd thing is, I've never read the Cummings book. I just did the picture because I liked the face and outfit of the girl. I added the "atomic" golden orbits around her head later. I made her a blonde because the fashion model whose photograph I used as a reference was blonde. I didn't have the Cummings story in mind at all. When I finished the picture I was told that it was a portrait of the daughter of a client couple of mine, who had commissioned "Domes of Fire" a few years earlier. Maybe she looked like that, but she had not sat for me and I didn't intend this to be her portrait. Well, archetypes live forever in fantasy art. Her parents bought the painting and it's somewhere in the same living-room as "Domes of Fire."
If you want to read the original 1922 text of "Girl in the Golden Atom" it is right here. Maybe I'll read it someday and make real illustrations for it.
"The Girl in the Golden Atom" is 7" x 10", acrylic on illustration board, fall 2000.