Taking a quick look back into history it is surprising to find that in fact clouds and the sky have been excluded from pictorial representation both "East" and "West" in most cases. I was wondering about this because for most "cultured" or "advanced" societies, art making was a central occupation and the representation of nature at the core of it. Animals, birds, insects combined with plants, mountains, lakes and rivers became the subject matter of often exquisitely detailed pictures and objects. Portraits and genre painting seem to have filled in the other areas of focus. Yet, the sky paintings/objects are missing, with the majority of focus apparently on essentially earthbound subjects. If you do happen to find an artwork with sky in it then you'll find the sky is a narrow piece of mist serving only as contrast or outline to the subject which was usually mountains and rivers in China and genre or religious scenes in Europe.
It's apparent that clouds were not "seen" or considered worthy of the attention given to highly visible geographical features. This absence in painting continued unabated for thousands of years until the early "renaissance" when suddenly the "window" approach to painting by the Italians begins to include and occasionally highlight "sky" in certain paintings. The 1st century Romans had painted mostly drab skies in their murals and "frescoes" depicting "mythological" scenes but they were merely backdrops to the foreground figures in the drama. In the early to mid 15th century there are suddenly brightly coloured skies with clouds appearing in pictures by Southern painters like Mantegna, Fra Angelico and Bellini in Italy. In the North, painters such as Jan Van Eyck, Hans Memling, Robert Campin and Rogier Van Der Weyden also began to paint in beautiful skies that although still only background fill, nevertheless seem to be initiating a groundswell of attention back to the heavens. The outstanding example of a stand alone sky painted by Palladio in 1585 simply as a "sky with clouds" in its own right, is in the "Teatro Olimpico" in Vicenza. Prior to this amazing event, sky and clouds really took a distant back seat for the most part in the making of an artwork.
It's encouraging to see such widespread interest in these magical sentinels that sweep overhead moving to the Earth's pulse because as long as we look up there is the constant reminder that everything "must" change and there is a comfort in this complicity of clouds and men!
Here is a bit of my favourite "cloud" sound.