Clarkson artist Cat Cronin finds relief from chronic pain in painting

Cat Cronin of Clarkson. Photo: David Baylis
Cat Cronin of Clarkson. Photo: David Baylis

CLARKSON artist Cat Cronin is preparing for a solo exhibition, So Alive 365 – Flight From Pain, telling the story of how art helped her overcome chronic pain.

The exhibition at the Kidogo Arthouse in Fremantle from September 14 to 19 will showcase her best works and tell of her journey through chronic pain using art, mindfulness, movement, diet and holistic therapies.

The exhibition will include more than 60 impressionistic scenes from nature, figurative works and sketches that strike the balance between chaos and calm.

Cronin, who has been a full-time artist since leaving art school in Ireland in 2006, uses acrylic and watercolour on canvas as well as chalks charcoal and glazes on paper.

In January 2011 she was in a car crash that changed her life when she was sideswiped by another driver and left with severe disabling pain caused by spinal injuries.

“Financial, emotional strain and the frustration and inability to plan for the future in areas like family or a career made me feel I would lose hope,” she said.

“I wanted to escape my body by any means possible.”

Four years into rehabilitation and recovery, Cronin started getting some relief as she drew lying down, then progressed to painting standing up at an easel for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

She would meditate, then paint in frenzy and lie on the floor and repeat this process until she couldn’t stand.

“I committed to make art every day for a year and share it on social media,” she said.

“This is where ‘So Alive 365’ was born; I created a habit that changed my entire life forever.

“I leave my body when I paint; I feel invincible and every time I land back in my body I am healed a little more.

“I wrote my own prescription of art, then it rolled over into fitness, lifestyle change and more painting and art.

“I still struggle with flare ups and pain management daily, and some days it beats me – but I am fully alive 365 days a year and resilient, grateful, present and full of hope.”

During the Fremantle exhibition she will do painting sessions daily in a pop-up studio and invite people to join her for ‘creative energy workshops’.