About Julia Ball
Julia Ball, painter, has been sitting in the same spot in the Fens for 30 years, week in week out; hour after hour after hour, she contemplates her subject. Her long study transforms the detail she observes into the radiance of her subtle, quiet, comforting abstract work. "What may seem boring is really very complicated and therefore interesting," she says. "There's a myriad of greys through to most purples and blues there." She has scrutinised her scene so minutely, the form has dropped away and the colour only is left; marvellous tranquil, dreamy colour. The result is a feeling of sinking into a strong, subtle visual field charged with infinite possibilities. I stayed in the Fen Ditton gallery for hours. I drank a large cup of tea and wandered around the winter Fen scenes in a kind of trance. I read later that the poet Wendy Mulford has described Ball's painting as "the visual equivalence of meditation". That is it. Drifting around Ball's work is a spiritual experience, a cheat's way of achieving bliss. Looking at these paintings drained all the jangling, near-death, motorway hype out of my bones. It was a fast track to peace, almost too good to be true.