This post comes from and article I came across titled, "Incorporating Symbols of Nature in Your Painting, Writing or Filmmaking" by Timothy Sexton. My inspiration for posting is directly related to me having time during the summer to watch more movies. I noticed that there is a thunderstorm in just about every movie-- some storms seemed appropriate, but some seemed a bit misused. Perhaps I was just missing the symbolism? I came across this article that helped link visual art with writing and filmmaking.
Infusing symbolism in art and literature can mean the difference a painting or work of fiction that is mere entertainment and creating a classic and timely work of art that transcends the medium to become a cultural phenomenon. One of the most time-honored methods of incorporating symbols into a painting or story in order to lend a more profound depth is to utilize unconscious reactions to objects that exist in nature.
The sun, like so many other terrific symbols, can resonate with a host of implications. The sun is, of course, the giver of life without which the earth itself would be nothing but a small, cold speck of nothingness. The presence of a sun symbol in your writing or painting can become a shortcut to the undercurrent of energy or liveliness. The course the sun takes through the sky each day that begins with a sunrise and ends with its setting in the west is a perfect symbol for birth and death and, of course, resurrection due to the fact that it is a ceaseless cycle. You may also be tempted to use the sun to represent omnipotence because of its association with the all-seeing eye of god in several ancient civilizations.
If the sun represents masculinity, then the moon usually symbolizes all things feminine.... ...It is also worth noting that men have long considered the female to be a mysterious and dark creature, usually attributing evil and deviance to her sex, and therefore the moon is often used to symbolize the shadows world of the unknown. Because the moon goes through its cycle of waxing and waning, this heavenly body is regularly exploited by artists and writers to symbolize death and rebirth. The absence of our cold, rocky neighbor during the New Moon phase adds a special element to this idea.
Clouds are an especially useful symbol for artists because they appear in nature in so many different ways. The unique quality of clouds means that they can be so easily utilized to represent obscurity and hidden meanings. They are nebulous creatures that come and go and so make an east shortcut to introducing the concept of veiled meanings and inscrutable mysteries at play within the painting. A filmmaker should also pay special attention to using clouds within the composition. Manipulating cloud effects through CGI or other special effects would be especially useful in thrillers to compound the subtext that what may appear obvious on the surface won't necessarily seem so by movie's end.
Lightning and thunder often symbolize the wrath of the god of your choice. Lightning also makes an apt symbolic accompaniment to justice in the form of retribution. At the same time rainfall makes for a fantastic symbol of the cleansing away of all that is dirty and filthy and rotten. The combination of a lightning and rain within a thunderstorm provides a self-contained little story within itself that is especially useful for kinetic artistry like writing and film.