By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—She’s a talented artist who’s overcoming chronic pain by pursuing her childhood dream. It’s been a long, hard road for this mother of two.

Ron Matz reports her original art is amazing, and every picture tells a story.

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Laura Benson is a profile in perseverance, a multi-talented artist who’s been painting all her life.

“It’s kind of like a diary, not of just mine but people I’ve known, come across or observed and stories to share with people,” she said.

But Benson’s story is one of extreme pain now after receiving a contaminated steroid shot two years ago.

“I received that steroid shot that was from the contaminated batch with meningitis,” she said. “I was told I needed to get tested for meningitis. I went to the E.R., and they did a spinal tap. Evidently it wasn’t done right. The next morning I ended up in the hospital in intensive care for two weeks.”

But Benson did make it, and she’s created an extensive in-home gallery that includes about 500 of her works. Portraits of President Barack Obama and Mary J. Blige are among them.

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“This is a true blessing. It keeps me occupied. Maybe this is what the Lord did, slowed me down to follow my pursuit of art because if you kept moving as fast as you were you wouldn’t have done it. It’s kind of like one thing taken away to receive another,” Benson said.

She’s painting through the chronic pain.

“I can’t raise my arms above my head. My fingers are always in pain. The doctors are calling it unexplainable chronic pain. It shoots through me in different places,” she explained.

Benson’s first ever color pencil drawing won first place in the national arts program Maryland.

“I don’t mean to complain, but right now it’s fear. I’m just scared to death. These art shows are trying to help me not lose everything,” she said.

Benson will hold an open house at her in-home gallery in Pikesville this weekend. It’s Saturday and Sunday, both days from 2 to 8 p.m.

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