In the James Cameron interview on "Fresh Air," when talking about dreams he also said that surrealists directly translated their dreams onto canvas. That was their goal.
This makes me want to go back and give surrealism another try. I've never been a big fan, really. I'm not one of those people that argues surrealists paint such wacky images because they can't paint realistically. It's just that, generally, that style of painting has never appealed to me.
Who sees clocks melting in the sun in their dreams? For me, the reason dreams are so strange is because of the elements only I know are out of place. That whole, "Okay, so it started out in our house. But actually, it wasn't anything like our real house. It was bigger and the furniture was all different and we lived in California. But in the dream I just knew it was our house." But if I tried to paint that (putting aside the issue that I have no talent for painting whatsoever), it would just look like a big house in California. Out of my personal context, the weirdness just wouldn't be there.
On the other hand, I do really like Magritte's work, and he is also considered a surrealist. To me, his work does a better job of emphasizing the surrealist aspect of dreams. The fact that, in a dream, everything seems perfectly logical. It's only after one wakes up and tries to describe the dream that one realizes how odd it is to have an eye in the middle of one's crepe.
Image credit: Wikipedia