After attending a painting workshop in Sweden, Melbourne-based artist and illustrator Belinda Marshall experienced a significant shift in her approach to life and work. The workshop was with Camilla Engman in Gothenburg. “The trip was so inspiring and liberating and when I came home it really felt like I was at the beginning of something but also there was a fearlessness in regards to what I could do,” Belinda says. “I was less afraid of making ‘ugly’ work and the more intuitive side of it came to life.” 

Belinda was born in Tamworth, NSW and raised on the north coast of NSW before going to Brisbane to study a Bachelor of Arts in the Humanities at Griffith University. “I spent most of my time in lectures decorating the edges of my notes and filled many sketch books with abstract pencil drawings,” she says. At the age of 20, she moved to Melbourne and did a Professional Writing and Editing Association Diploma of Arts at RMIT with the idea becoming a fiction writer. “I became obsessed with the small press publishing subject in this course as it was almost a design subject and combined visual elements with the writing,” she says. Editing became a way to make a living, however, Belinda steered herself towards graphic design, which she taught herself. After having children she has focussed on painting and is now based in Brunswick’s HomeWork Studios.

Which five words best describe you? Whole-hearted, colourful - pastel to neon, shy.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? It was a conscious decision to make painting my career instead of going back into graphic design. Just before my first son was born I immersed myself in painting, using those precious months to create for the process alone, without pressure. I gave myself the freedom to start and I loved it so much that I worked whenever I could while the kids were little. 

Having an online shop, connecting with other artists and designers both locally and online has led to customers and stockists finding my work and opened the door to some exciting collaborations. 

Learning along the way has been essential - being an artist also means getting a grasp of how to choose and use the tools and systems to run a small business. Gradually my art business has grown to include a collection of limited-edition boutique homewares and paper goods featuring select paintings. Painting is my passion but I also get excited by the possibilities of what can be made with the reproductions of the paintings. So many things!

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? The best things can happen in an “out of the blue” way and to trust in that.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Having a painting acquired by Göteborg Opera and featured in their 2014/15 subscription campaign.

What’s been your best decision? To move my home studio to a shared studio space. It’s really opened up my sense of freedom and my capacity to make larger works.

What are you passionate about? Colour. Being in the painting zone where anything feels possible. My kids.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? David Sedaris. Just to listen to him chat.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I’d love to take my kids to Spain, Portugal and Scandinavia, and actually I’d like for us to move to Göteborg.

What are you reading? Leap by Myfanwy Jones.

images courtesy of belinda marshall