Have you ever thought about skies and how they represent so many things to the human psyche?
Even an alien landscape with a sky unlike anything in nature will activate hidden emotional associations for most people...
An artist will be aware of this on a conscious or unconscious level and use this to their advantage when creating an image. It is a very effective mechanism for reaching people non-verbally and it is the inherent symbolism that allows it to work.
A wintry sky will feel cold and unwelcoming to the viewer, even if the other elements in the image are beautiful and stimulating.
It can evoke a loneliness, a feeling expressed very effectively with minimal subjects within an image.
This is because that over the years, the sky has developed a symbolism in art and literature that it is pretty well impossible to separate it from.
This is something that an artist has to think about in a conscious way. If they are trying to project a certain emotional impression in a piece, they can totally destroy the desired mood by putting the sky into the wrong cast and activating subtle emotional associations.
A wide open sky will elicit many emotional reactions and associations to the audience, that it is one of the most powerful symbols that is guaranteed to have a sure-fire impact.
Think about it, a windy sky will give a feeling of lonely, endless vistas that leaves the viewer with a wistfulness.
A photo taken of the from above will actually make the audience think they are looking at water...
Years ago, trying to capture this effect, I took a photograph from the top of a mountain in the interior of British Columbia, a place called Mount Lolo. The photograph was showing something I had seen previously when I was in the air force and serving at a radar station on Mount Lolo.
You literally felt that you could sail away over the clouds in the sky, they looked so much like water...
It had a freedom to it that stuck in my mind for years, a strong symbolism that I felt compelled to travel back to capture after the fact. This watery sky was so strong in my mind, that it lasted, and I think it might qualify as a type of universal symbol that can bridge language boundries.
Images: 1. Photo by Teresa Young - near Mill Village, NS, 2. Alien Rotations by Teresa Young, April 2001, 3. From the top of Mt. Lolo - Teresa Young, 1997, 4. Mahone Bay, Teresa Young, 2009, 5. Edmonton Sky by Rick LeBlanc, 4. From the top of Mt. Lolo - Teresa Young, 1997.