Spalding artist who deals with her pain through painting opens exhibition at Ayscoughfee Hall
Artist Cheri Lancaster has suffered from chronic pain since childhood.
For years, her pain was undiagnosed and it was not until she was in her late 20s that doctors told her she had a condition known as Fibromyalgia.
But by picking up a paintbrush and throwing herself into her art, the Spalding artist found that she 'felt a lot better'.
She has put that passion into powerful artwork called 'Wonders of Nature' which she will be showcasing at Ayscoughfee Hall Museum in Spalding from January 9 until 31.
Cheri, who turns 38 on January 30, said: "I just found that doing paintings of nature and landscapes makes me feel a lot better. I can appreciate the beauty of nature, the calmness and the stillness of the scenery.
"What is fantastic is the deep rich colours."
And she works these strong colours onto canvas using acrylic paint to bring to life the stillness, or mood, of both seascapes and landscapes.
Cheri has a BA Honours degree in fine art and also recently joined the Spalding Arts and Crafts Society.
Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
Among its symptoms is increased sensitivity to pain, extreme tiredness, muscle stiffness and difficulty sleeping.
"I can have some bad days and some times are rough," Cheri added. "Nobody knew what was wrong with me for years and I was called a hypochondriac. Sometimes it's easier to say where the pain isn't than where it is.
"Doctors used to say 'you haven't felt pain until you've broken something'. I was hoovering one day last year and fell down the stairs. I broke my left arm and I thought 'this is nothing.'
"I've had chronic pain since about the age of 11. I had days of really bad, searing pain and they thought at first it was linked to my menstrual cycle or could be Endometriosis." Endometriosis is a condition that affects the womb, ovaries or fallopian tubes.
"When I was younger I used to express my anger through my painting. I think this was related to the pain and it was just really difficult."
Cheri lives with her husband Darren and mother-in-law Dawn. They moved to Spalding in May last year from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.
"It was always our dream to live in the countryside and we love it here," she added. "You can see the sunrise and sunsets and you can see the stars at night. We didn't get that before."
She has also exhibited her work in Tottenham in London but this is the first time she has exhibited in Lincolnshire.
The exhibition is free and is open every day at Ayscoughfee Hall from January 9 until 31 except Mondays and Tuesdays when the hall is closed.