social_facebook_box_blue social_rss_box_orange social_twitter_box_blue




Welcome to my blog


I am a visual artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I incorporate my own poetry into my artwork, sometimes collaging it into pieces, sometimes writing about paintings and sometimes inspiring paintings.

By jillashforth, Aug 11 2017 01:48AM

I was delighted to discover that I am able to use the music of Steve Mason as originally intended for my video poem Let Her In, Let Her Out. Domino Records are allowing me to feature the track I Let Her In from the album Boys Outside with the understanding that they may choose to place ads on the video. I feel the music, which resonated so greatly with me, complements the video beautifully.

You can view the video poem on my YouTube channel:

By jillashforth, Jun 23 2017 12:35PM

My video poem Spirals is a moving video poem about life morphing into death in never ending cycles. The dead flowers left on a bench to commemorate a loved one and the dead bee stranded on a Henry Moore sculpture as if placed on an altar, are poignant images.

The walkways of the Waters of Leith, where the video poem is set, is a beautiful part of Edinburgh's green spaces. The other day I came across a young couple resting against a tree trunk by the water's edge. The boy dangled a ukulele from one hand whilst the other hand craddled the girl who clung to his waist. An idyllic image.

My video poem Edinburgh Reflections is a love poem to the city I was born in. I got up early in search of a cloudless dawn so I could capture Edinburgh reflected in its shop windows. Without people or traffic, Edinburgh at dawn feels like it belongs only to you, discovering its secrets for the first time. Wonderful.

By jillashforth, Jun 21 2017 11:00PM

I made a film for assessment for my Video for Artists course at Edinburgh Art College called Self Portrait 2.

This extract from the Learning Journal I kept as part of the course explains how the film came to be made.

My first week of filming involved shooting footage of some shop windows at night then adding shots of me getting onto a bus, going upstairs and sitting at the front seat with a view out onto the street below. I knew I wanted the film to have a dark, gothic feel to it so many of the clips were treated with the Film Noir effect.

I called this film Night Shops.

I liked the initial establishing shot of the antique window, some of the dummies dressed in wedding dresses and a close up of a drain. These remained next week when I added some footage given to us by our tutor to give the film a nightmare feel. More Film Noir effects were added along with Gaussian. I cropped parts of the film and speeded up footage of the dog running.

I called this film Night Shops Nightmare.

Next I added some footage of a fellow classmate looking out of the window and peering through the glass of a door along with footage going downstairs and through a door. I called this film Reflections.

I liked the random nature of these close ups so they remained but I wasn't sure about the movement clips - perhaps they didn't work as they seemed laborious and I wanted the pace to be kept very lively, almost erratic at times to evoke a sense of disorientation. I also added footage of the light show at the Botanics and the bus journey home with opacity shots of the house in the Botanics.

I called this film Colour Nightmare.

I added text next which was taken from a couple of my own poems about depression. I also added the soundtrack taken from Tindersticks' album Ypres plus footage from Stirling Castle and a firework display. I did also edit out some of the movement shots going through a door and downstairs. It seemed to work better this way.

I called this film Self Portrait 2 First Version.

After some thought and discussion with my tutor and fellow students, I added some shots at the end which were not treated with any effects to suggest a change in my health as I became well again.

I called this film Self Portrait 2.

By jillashforth, Jun 17 2017 03:58PM

These are links to my three self portrait video poems. I find them compelling, but at the same time difficult to watch. They make me feel naked, and yet I want to show the world what it is to be me.

The first was completed on a course at Edinburgh Art College, compiled from footage I had taken during the summer of 2015. It was a time when I was painting, writing and filming a great deal. I was desperately trying to sublimate my illness. The film has a jazz riff bleeding into the sound track through out the film. This is to represent my journey to health which is meant to blossom at the concert. I've since reworked the sound but this is the original version.

The edited version has a combination of the sound track from Self Portrait 2, the original sound track, and a slowed down version of a jazz riff which appears at various points through out the film until it reaches a crescendo at the end. I used the sound track from Self Portrait 2 to suggest that I was out of time, out of step and going too fast. This is the updated version with the sound reworked.

The second film was made a year later when I repeated the same course at Edinburgh Art College. This was a time when my mood was low and the film was an attempt to express how I felt. It was also a journey, heading towards the safety of home, whether represented by my parents home, or my own flat.

The third film is the most recent one and is a montage of my past films. It represents an acceptance of myself. It shows my life going through phases of light and shade, an ebb and flow that is natural and will always be so. This is part of who I am.

By jillashforth, Jun 16 2017 11:13AM

I sometimes wonder what provokes a creative phase in me. I feel it is, as always, a question of balance. I love the light, crave the light. Often at night I would imagine myself stuck in a deep, dark hole, reaching for the light. It always came, eventually. It always does.

When I try to paint in the winter, I can't. My senses seem to hibernate, along with my emotions. Come spring, I try to paint but I find myself stuck, limited and tight. It takes the sun and the light to free my thoughts and feelings and then I can paint. Sometimes my work is quite sombre, with only flashes of light, but it is always full of energy. My work when I am ill, such as back in 2015, is full of light and energy, wayward at times, but beautiful. I reworked some of it, destroyed some of it, but I still have photographs of the paintings and I made poetry books from some of the writing. The unpublished videos are still there too. I keep them because they are a part of who I am.

The reason I still include footage with Portrait orientation in my films, deliberately, not accidentally as I did when I was inexperienced, is the lack of light, the broad, black border on either side of the footage represents my inner thoughts. The slither of light, which is the film, is my blinkered view of life, peering out, with sounds and light overwhelming me. Sometimes this is because I am not well. Sometimes it is a memory, blinkered by time. The lack of light can be a good thing too because it represents an inner life, full of reflection. Sometimes I need space to be dark and thoughtful, but, yes, I crave the light. It energises me. Balance is everything for me. I strive for equilibrium but rarely achieve it.

RSS Feed

Web feed