Sarah Rowan doesn't want to be known for her illness or the crippling pain it can put her in, but if telling her story can help at least one person then it's worth it, she said.
The Helensburgh "speed painter" was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic inflammatory disease, twelve years ago.
At the time she was juggling a newborn and a toddler, but the swelling in her joints and the pain because so excruciating she could barely open her children's milk bottles.
"A lot of women neglect to take care of themselves," Mrs Rowan said. "When I started to feel the inflammation I ignored the signs and tried to push them away and focus on my children and I just kept getting worse.
"I think a lot of women put their health on the back burner."
It was a long nine-months until diagnosis, of which Mrs Rowan could no longer work. And even after the doctors had figured out what was causing her body to spasm, some days she would need to tape brushes to her hands or use her mouth if she wanted to paint.
Everyone's going to have s*** that hits the fan in their life and I think it's important for them to pick themselves up.Sarah Rowan
These days she is managing her condition by working part-time and resting when she needs to, having "learnt how to pace herself", and being true to herself.
But Mrs Rowan is also proud she did not give up her painting, her dreams or her life.
"I don't want to sound like a woe is me, pity-party victim," the artist said.
"I want my kids to be able to look at my life and go 'wow she accomplished her dreams despite everything that's going on'.
"Everyone's going to have s*** that hits the fan in their life and I think it's important for them to pick themselves up and do what they can with what they have."
Mrs Rowan continues to speed paint at corporate events, fundraisers, nursing homes, and festivals - "performing" for as little as five minutes to an hour to create a portrait, mural, landscape or abstract.
If she's having a bad day she won't cancel a job, but instead alter the way she paints, such as smearing the colours with her forearm.
She has also become an ambassador of Advantage Hers, a campaign to inspire women with chronic conditions not to give up on their dreams.
"It is kind of odd being my age with RA because I've only met a couple of people as young as me with it," Mrs Rowan said.
"But I get inspired by being in a world where so many people are in chronic pain, and they're just putting their chin up and taking life as it comes."
One of her latest giant murals can be seen at Sydney Domestic Airport, terminal 2 near Gate 49.
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