While working as an attorney for 30 years, LouCinda Laughlin didn't have much time for art. She took photos and sketched when she could, enjoying the simplicity of black and white. She stuck with the techniques she'd learned in her high school art classes.
When she and her husband Ken Freeman retired and moved to Auburn four years ago, Laughlin finally had time to dedicate to her passion. She began with black and white sketches, enjoying the challenge that capturing snow and ocean waves presented. She was hesitant to dip her toes into color as it had been a struggle for her in the past.
One day, though, Laughlin was ready for something new. She bought what she thought was a pack of oil pastels, but back at home she realized they were in fact chalk, something she'd never tried.
"I have not regretted that mistake at all," Laughlin laughed. "I went kind of color crazy."
Though she's never been interested in creating landscapes, Laughlin's work in pastels did begin with a more traditional style, portraits and pets in their elements. Eventually, her use of color exploded.
"I really push color," she said. "I layer the pastels until sometimes the paper won't accept any more color."
Laughlin's cityscapes and even her portraits are impressionistic, Kandinsky-esque, using flowing color and geometric shapes to create a sense of reflection. Sometimes the viewer has to stand back to take in the full perspective of a piece.
Laughlin's inspiration often comes from photographs, her own and those of her friends. It takes her about 30 to 40 hours to complete a piece.
"I will hole up in the house for hours and hours," she laughed. "I have no sense of time. I wake at 3 a.m. and work or I stay up until midnight."
When the art work presents Laughlin with a problem to solve, just like in her lawyering days, she discovers the answer in a dream. She wakes and sets to work, no matter the time.
"I tell myself there's no such thing as a mistake," she said. "Whatever happens, that's what my brain wanted to happen."
Laughlin's work will be available for viewing and purchase -- along with that of more than 15 other artists -- during the North Auburn Art Studios Tour, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 13 and 14.
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