Growing up in Richmond VA, The River City, Shaylen Amanda Broughton used The James River as her therapy, inspiration and an important ingredient in her pour paint recipe. Having always felt a connection to Denver and our great outdoors, Broughton made the big move out west last October. Broughton has quickly made Denver her home, substituting river water from the South Platte for The James, joining RiNo art communities, snowboarding all Winter, hiking all Summer and letting the colors of Colorado fill her canvas.
What is your background as an artist?
“I have been a painter my whole life. My grandmother was a professional portrait artist and taught me how to paint. I went to The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2011 to study interior design. After working in that field for two years, though, I wanted to make a career out of my art. I started with landscapes but was feeling some anxiety and depression at the time. A friend suggested I paint for therapy so I started doing abstract watercolors by the river. I was so in love with the full movement of the water and how it made me feel. I could get into it deeply without thinking too much.”
When did you start pour painting?
“In 2015, I started working on big canvases, wanting to give my fluid paintings a more solid home. Back then, pour paint was not as popular so I was mixing all of my own paints with other mediums to increase the viscosity. I still use my own recipes today even though there are lots of products on the market now. I paint both by the South Platte River and in my studio because I like to put a little river water into my mixture to bring nature’s energy into the piece. I don’t like to plan my work ahead of time. Instead, I meditate daily and colors will come to me.”
How do you determine the theme for your series?
“A lot has to do with the colors I am feeling and my mood. Blues, greens and purples resonate with me the most. Rising Tides was my first large-scale flow series. I really felt like I came into my own and connected with the work. But my series, Where The Light Comes In, was during a transforming time in my life where my vibe was different—I felt very deep colors, in particular gold. When I released the series, the pandemic broke out a week later. I could sense the energy shifting. Some things you can just feel coming.”
What do you have coming up?
“I am working on another series. The colors will be different but I haven’t pinned down the scheme exactly. I also don’t know what it will be titled yet. I never know that until I am deep into the process, almost inside the series. I have upcoming shows with the RiNo Showcase at Number Thirty Eight on July 17 and August 27 from noon to 11 p.m.”