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Colored-pencil artist triumphs despite health adversities - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Colored-pencil artist triumphs despite health adversities

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RICHMOND, Vt. -

Corrina Thurston is at peace when she's drawing. She's a colored pencil artist. Wait -- stop yourself there -- She knows what you're thinking. 

"Oh okay, that sounds like third grade, but okay," Thurston said.

She makes detailed drawings of animals that sometimes look more like photographs. "There's just something about animals that makes me feel happier," she said.

There's so much more to them than meets the eye, just like Thurston. Today is a good day for the 26 year-old. She's spent the last eight years doing pretty much nothing but lying in bed. "When you're stuck in bed you can't watch TV, you can't use a computer for five minutes at a time, you can't read -- there's nothing else to do but focus on my pain," she said.

Thurston has Lyme disease. Bitten by a tick in high school, her symptoms didn't start until her first weeks of college. It took six more years to get a diagnosis. "From that tick I got Lyme disease -- Bartonella, Babesia -- which I found out last week -- and two types of pneumonia," she said.

For years Thurston had vision problems -- couldn't sleep, walk, or live a normal life. "There was no rest from the pain. When that happens and they put you on medicine after medicine and it makes things worse, you get depressed. I became suicidal, she said.

With no light at the end of the tunnel, something made Thurston reach for a Number 2 pencil in her closet. "Eventually there was like a switch," she said.

She started sketching her cats.  "When I was sick stuck in a bedroom with nothing to look at, nothing to do, what I wanted to see was animals,"Thurston said.

What might be the most shocking, Thurston had no idea she could draw. She still sees snow over everything, and is on a long-term treatment program. She takes 50 medicines a day -- down from 65. 

Art is her silver lining in this eight year battle. "I can't tell when I'm going to be able to do what," Thurston said.

Her health may be unpredictable, but art is her constant -- and her job. She uses the money to pay for medications. Each detailed piece can take between 15 and 120 hours. Thurston sometimes documents her process for her website

"The best part is when I tell them it's colored pencil and they say, what?"

Dealing with the unthinkable with Made in Vermont art. 

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