Meaning of Clouds in Dreams & Paintings

meaning of clouds

What is the symbolic meaning of clouds?

There is far more significance than discovering a horse, fish, or unicorn hidden in a puffy cloud! Interpreting meaning of clouds in dreams and paintings has been a fascination of mine for decades. Joni Mitchell sings about clouds in her 1967 classic, Both Sides Now.

"Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way"

Discovering ourselves and enriching life makes the fairy tale real.

meaning of clouds in dreams and paintings
Bright New Day, oil

Bright New Day

Meaning of Clouds

Can you feel the uplift at first glance? Warm highlights on clouds draw your eye heavenward. Deep blue shadows immediately pull your eye down into the V in the foreground.

This V-shaped cue suggests 'being a vessel' for the Creator.  The wide horizon indicates clear, open waters ahead.

Looking again, I notice the counter-clockwise spiral of the clouds. The V shape and foreground grasses spiral in the opposite direction, clockwise. Is this not how the alternating currents of divine and human function?

I began this painting two years ago as a plein air sunrise on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Revisiting a childhood haunt, I had difficulty getting the values of the painting correct. I reworked the canvas several times. Then abandoned it.

This week I saw something new in the clouds. Or perhaps I saw something new in myself. A clearer, more dramatic contrast between warm and cool, light and shadow.

In a journal exercise, I was asked to write three things I like about myself each day for a month. The first thing I noticed was that I couldn't think of anything! I could make a list of all the things I don't like about my art/paintings. I noticed that my method of painting was to identify what was wrong and fix it.

I took a deep breath and started anew.

I wrote three things I like about each painting. The next day I wrote three more. The following day I wrote three things I like about myself.

In the process, this canvas came out of the junk pile and received her final brush strokes. I'd given her up as a lost fairy tale ~ yet here she is, as real as she can be!

In her I found the courage to speak the truth about my art.

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meaning of clouds in dreams and paintings
Walk at Daybreak, oil by Dorothy Fagan

Meaning of clouds   Meaning of clouds   Meaning of clouds   

Walk at Daybreak

Meaning of Landscape

The same day, I painted a second canvas looking in a slightly more easterly direction. She too gave me difficulty. I abandoned her as well. Some years back I realized that every landscape I paint is actually a self portrait. Speaking of my paintings as she, opens my eyes and allows me to see the truth of myself.

This painting focuses on foreground. Earthly issues and the light and shadow paths of life present questions. Sky and clouds appear serene and muted. A clear horizon stretches from bright light to deep shadow.

Two figures poised at the threshold, where shadows break into the light, appeared only as a finishing touch. Reclaiming two abandoned aspects of myself in these paintings, makes everything feel real, indeed.

Writing about my art in this way walks hand in hand, divine and human. I accept 'both sides now' of myself. It is safe to speak the truth of my shadow side, my fears, abandoned paintings and dream unfulfilled. And it is human to accept the divine in my heart. We all have it. Is it not the purpose of an artist to point to the Creator in all of us?

Many Blessings!

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Want more?

Dorothy Fagan's first book, Joy's Garden Embrace the Mountain will take you on an artist's journey to the heart and France. See the world with artist's vision. Learn Dorothy's secret for discovering courage and inspiration in the most unlikely places.

Joy's Garden

Joy's Garden

Joy's Garden