Clouds in Art and Daily Life, ‘Their Contemplation Benefits the Soul’

At designer Pamela Hovland’s instagram, we were stunned by this image of a wall of “cloud studies”.  To learn more about them, we googled her hashtags — #Kode #Bergen #johanchristiandahl — to discover Johan Christian Dahl, one of Norway’s greatest landscape painters. The Kode Art Museum and Composer Homes in Norway has a cluster of 35 clouds —”skystudie”.

There is something very moving about Dahl’s cloud studies: the careful noticing, and working to translate the ephemeral material he saw onto canvases, each one unique.

Skystudie by Johan Christian Dahl; photo by Dag Fosse / Kode Art Museum

He is not alone in his enchantment. We are reminded of artist Wendy Mark’s ethereal, modern 89 Clouds done in collaboration of poet Mark Strand.  And of the Cloud Appreciation Society, whose manifesto reads, in part:

WE BELIEVE that clouds are unjustly maligned and that life would be immeasurably poorer without them.

We think that they are Nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them.

We seek to remind people that clouds are expressions of the atmosphere’s moods, and can be read like those of a person’s countenance.

We believe that clouds are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul.


As we go about our day, we will take a moment here and there and LOOK.


Thanks again Pamela.


5 Responses to Clouds in Art and Daily Life, ‘Their Contemplation Benefits the Soul’

  1. Alison Harris 05.06.2019 at 8:24am #

    Thanks so much for posting this magnificent display of clouds. Wonderful to discover Dahl’s work. Clouds have an amazing capacity of touching us all in their ephemeral every changing way.
    Alison Harris
    A Window on the Sky

  2. Pamela 05.06.2019 at 8:57am #

    I love the cloud manifesto! If anyone is interested in yet another artist who looked intently at clouds, check out the British painter John Constable’s lovely series housed in the British Art Center at Yale University.

  3. Kim Hoppie 05.06.2019 at 10:19am #

    Several years ago my husband retired. His friend, a neighbor, had retired a couple of years earlier. This neighbor jokingly suggested that my husband undergo an apprenticeship in “retiring”. Cloud study was included. Even now, ten years later, they are still contemplating clouds.

  4. Sally Schneider 05.06.2019 at 10:27pm #

    That is just the best activity for retirement I’ve heard of. SO great! Thank you.

  5. Sally Schneider 05.06.2019 at 10:30pm #

    I recommend everyone checking out Alison Harris’ marvelous skyscapes, that I wrote about here.

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