Art, Culture, Entertainment

Lady of the Rainbow

Lady of the Rainbow” – original water colour by Val McDowall (1984)
Abundance awaits at the end of your rainbow!

I painted this water colour piece when I was at high school in 1984, I think I was around 15 or 16.  I remember being influenced and loving the surrealism art style and famous painters that were popular at that time.  I liked the idea that aspects of surrealist pictures are painted quite realistically but often put together in an unexpected or whimsical manner, often containing symbolic images.

If you are not familiar with the art style, check out this website to view 10 examples of surrealist painting. You’ll probably recognize more than you think. I think most people of heard of Salvador Dali, a famous Spanish Surrealist artist (probably the most famous in the style) who painted from 1929 to 1937. While I quite liked some of his famous pieces, I don’t think I’d hang any of it on my wall. It’s a little ‘dark’ for my liking.  Art is such a subjective matter. They say that surrealism is a glimpse into the sub conscious mind, well my mind is much more bright and airy!

Me and my big hair (1986)

I became fascinated with checkered floors back then (I still love them), rainbows, eyes and of course hair.  The 80’s was a great time for hair and makeup as far as I’m concerned. “More is more” was definitely my mantra as I piled on the black eyeliner and reached for my tail comb and can of Insette extra hold hairspray to raise my hair to extraordinary heights.  At the time I painted this piece, much of my artwork and paintings reflected the same elements.

My “Lady of the Rainbow” painting definitely has a dreamy quality about it, including a double rainbow if you count the her hair and the checkered clouds on either side … another 80s fad with the blue and pink colours. I recall wanting to paint the hallway in my first maisonette (two-storey flat) in the same checkerboard effect with blue and pink clouds. Thank goodness I didn’t in the end!


Things look immediately brighter when a rainbow appears!

In western art and culture, rainbows are frequently depicted as a sign of hope, the promise of better times to come appearing after thunder or a heavy rainstorm when the sun comes out. I love seeing them in the ‘wild’ so to speak and take photos whenever I can.

The photos above were taken in the fall last year (2021) as my husband drove along Lougheed Highway, Coquitlam heading towards the Port Mann Bridge. The sky was very dramatic that afternoon which really sets off the vibrant colours of the beautiful rainbow.  I love how the colour is captured in the raindrops on the windscreen and reflected in the puddles on the road. 

As if to illustrate my point of hope even further, the photo on the right taken on the same trip also captures the van of a local company called Phoenix Restorations.  And what are mythical phoenixes best known for doing?  Well, they rise from the ashes, emerging from a catastrophe stronger, smarter and more powerful. They are renewed after being destroyed. If that’s not a message of hope I don’t know what is!

Inspired, I conducted a quick search on the ‘phoenix’ and found the following which I think is very apt for rainbow messages as well:


The phoenix brings good luck, harmony, peace, balance, and prosperity. This magical creature symbolizes fire and passion – the flames of true inspiration. The phoenix is also the firebird symbol. It is also one of the symbols of rebirth.

So, the next time you see a rainbow, think of the glorious phoenix and how it might ignite your passion and inspiration. How would you like to blaze your own trail and rise from your ashes?


Rainbows are symbolic of other things. The elusive crock of gold that the leprechauns of Ireland bury at the end of the rainbow for one. Of course, the closer you get to the end of the rainbow, the further away it appears to move. Even though I can never get my hands on the leprechaun’s actual gold, I still think of the rainbow as a sign of good luck and prosperity. Perhaps we simply have to define what the “gold” or goal is for ourselves and reach for that instead.

See a rainbow, make a wish as I always say, then go chase your dreams!


The rainbow is often used to represent equality with its bands of bold colour merging size by side in unity. This symbolism has been used to represent many different movements for change. It has been a symbol of peace protests, social movements, and also pride in many political and global movements. In modern society, international LGBTQ+ societies use the rainbow symbolism to demonstrate equality and community by the unification of colours on the rainbow. Gilbert Baker, an artist and drag queen, first created the rainbow flag in 1978, and it has since been used extensively to depict pride, defiance and also hope for acceptance, respect and equal rights for this marginalized group.


Rainbows in many cultures and religions are considered to be gateways, paths, or portals that connect two realms or earths. In Greek and Norse mythology, a rainbow connected two worlds and was a path that connected the human to the Gods. These paths were seen as ways to communicate or send messages and would often be associated with a specific messenger. In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow and traveled them to act as the messenger of the Gods.

In modern times, perhaps it is this idea of a gateway to the heavens is the reason we say that our beloved pets have “crossed the rainbow bridge”, where they wait until we can be reunited with them in the meadow in heaven. This symbolism is supposed to bring us some peace and ease a bit of the pain of loss.


Rainbows can also symbolize peace for a number of reasons. Rainbows commonly appear after a storm and, for a brief moment it give us the feeling of peace and tranquility following the turbulent atmosphere that came before it.

Rainbows appear when the clouds break and the sun shines through and many interpret this to be a message or a sign that everything is OK and peaceful times can resume.

Rainbows can symbolize peace after death. As mentioned above about being a gateway between the realms, rainbows appearing at funerals are thought to be signs that the soul is now at peace.


A double rainbow is considered a symbol of transformation and is a sign of good fortune in eastern cultures. The first arc represents the material world, and the second arc signifies the spiritual realm. A double rainbow forms due to an optical illusion when sunlight enters a raindrop and creates two internal reflections before the rays exit the droplet.

Many believe that the appearance of a double rainbow signals a time for reflection and observation. A double rainbow is also said to be a symbol of good luck. Since they are a rarer occurrence than a normal rainbow, people have interpreted them to bring twice the luck.

In a single rainbow, sunlight spreads into a spectrum of colors from red to violet, however, in a double rainbow, the colors are inverted with red appearing on the inside and violet on the outside. According to Chinese mythology, red represents the feet, and violet symbolizes the head. Therefore, a single rainbow signifies a human descending from heaven to earth. A double rainbow, due to its reversal of colors, represents the movement from earth to heaven and is considered to be a sign of future success.


Thank you for reading my blog today.

Whatever a rainbow means to you, may this “Lady of the Rainbow” bring you much peace, good luck, prosperity, abundance, positivity, hope, equality and acceptance.

Until next time!

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