Annie Lawrinson has always been fascinated by the faces of older people. She loves the character and experience you can find in a face. Annie’s father was diagnosed with early onset dementia when she was 15 years old, and painting portraits of him became her coping mechanism.
Annie said, ‘Even though he had become so different, there was still something about painting him that showed who he really was.’
Annie has started taking commissions and recently completed a portrait of Bob Kucera.
‘There’s lots of character in his face and I think the painting shows that. It’s always nerve-wracking showing the final portrait to the subject, so I was relieved that he loved it,’ she said.
As former Minister for Health and Seniors, and through his own family experiences, Bob is familiar with the affect dementia can have on families. He says he was delighted to be a subject of her art.
‘Annie is a delightful young woman, she is skilled and sensitive, making it a very pleasant and remarkably quick process,’ he said. ‘They are striking portrayals. My family have selected the smiling Bob, but I tend to favour the more serious one.’
Annie likes to meet her subject and get to know who they are before starting a painting. She will then take photos of her subject and paints from those photos back in her studio.
Annie has also started sharing her experience of dementia with other young carers. She spoke at a national dementia conference late last year and at LoveFest Perth in May.
She said, ‘I really like talking to other people, because it might help with what’s happening to them.’