In art, in music, in film, in fashion, swimming pool blue can’t stop inspiring our cultural landscape. Watery blue is associated to childhood and light and innocence, but also to emotional vertigo: a complex colour with a dream-magnifying power.

Anything Blue review – Innocence and Nostalgia: Swimming pool blue

From a shiny turquoise with lagoon blue accents to a magnetic teal with dreamy, dampy hues, watery blues oscillate between innocence and nostalgia.

Greenish blues also evokes holidays, escape and far away destinations: a remote island, a white beach, anything close to a lost paradise.

Watery blue has invaded our cultural landscape. A blue pool scene is a cinematographic must-have, plastic or graphic arts – think of erotic thriller Swimming Pool by François Ozon (with Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier, 2003) or David Hockney‘s Californian pool painting series.

Meanwhile in literature, aquatic hues can be found in Shakespeare (Ophelia), a Round Table’s fairy (Viviane), or more recently in Carol Mavor’s Blue Mythologies, Reflections on a colour or Maggie Nelson’s lyric essay Bluets.

In an article published on in March 2016, Ana Kinsella shares her thoughts and research about the pool blue phenomenon. Our favourite extract below.


‘The blue of the swimming pool, laid out in a rectangle in a backyard or a cold tiled hall in the sports centre, can be read as a way to define a small part of the sublime and bring it into the domestic spheres of our lives.

Swimming pool blue @AnOther Mag - Anything Blue

Swimming pool blue – artwork by Beth Hoeckel @AnOther Mag – Anything Blue

Watery blue can spell freedom, leisure and play, those things so essential to the child but often difficult to find a place for in adulthood. And yet it can also suggest emotional depth.

Maggie Nelson’s book-length prose poem Bluets, published in 2009, gives blue its full weight.

“Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color,” it begins,

and from there the author takes us through desire and grief and loss to position the colour as it stands in our emotional life: a long-standing symbol of what we long for and what we may not ever be able to have.’

Love it? Read the full article in Colour in Context: Swimming pool blue, 14 March 2016 by Ana Kinsella @AnOther Mag

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