Ava Free 2/10

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  • From a limited edition of 10 archival photographs + 3 proofs
  • Signed and numbered by artist A. K. Nicholas
  • Image: 40×26.7 inches/102×68 cm
  • Paper: 42×28.7 inches/107×73 cm


Ava floats freely, surrounded by sparkling blue water. Tiny waves and droplets turn the water into a jewel-like surface. Notes of Swiss and London blue topaz dominate the palette. The nude woman’s warm-tone, rosy body stands out against the cool hues. The blues of the water are saturated with an almost velvety texture at its most intense. The contrast fades gently at her edges, where she sinks. This swimming pool artwork is an allusion to joy, freedom, and indulgence.


The composition is alive with references to flowing serenity. Water splashes gently where the woman’s knee kicks through the surface. The surface at her sides in a mix of ripples and reflections. Her hair floats weightlessly beneath her arm and hand.  Each action is slow and restful.

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this design, rivaling the kicking leg, is the nude woman’s face. Her head is lifted out of the water, turned slightly away from view. Our vantage is from above: she is moving towards us.

The cropping of this image is intimate. The viewer occupy the immediate vicinity of the the swimmer. We share this experience with her, hovering rather than viewing from a distance.

Compositional Elements

The composition contains curiously vertical and horizontal alignments. The easiest to recognize is the portion of her arm that is above the water. This forearm is positioned at a remarkably horizontal angle, aligned to the bottom edge of the frame. A straight vertical can be drawn down from the center of her raised knee.

Other Swimming Pool Artwork

A swimming pool artwork with a nude figure draws comparisons to David Hockney’s paintings, and the many that have been inspired by them. However, before A Bigger Splash, Henri Matisse explored dancing ribbons of blue and white. The intertwining of blue and white has been a fascination of visual artists for some time and continues to be.

Swimming is luxurious and indulgent. Swimming pools are the domain of the economically comfortable. Although this image has all the trappings of innocent joy, there are undertones of sensuality. Swimming pools are hedonic. The skinny dipping character disowns decorum and cedes to primal nature.

From a limited edition of 10 numbered photographs at full size, two artist’s proofs, and one small printer’s proof.

Contrast this with other nude swimmer artwork that shows the figure in a horizontal orientation.

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