The new line of ultra-flat, matte paints
By Samantha Williams-Chapelsky
About three years ago, Golden Artist Colors, an acrylic paint company out of New York State, embarked on a journey of developing a super matte, ultra-flat acrylic paint. By 2021 Golden was ready to release SoFLAT – a low-viscosity, highly pigmented, flat acrylic with some unique characteristics.
The viscosity of this paint is similar to that of nail polish, which is quite unique in the acrylic world. It’s available in 2 oz, 4 oz, and 16 oz wide-mouth jars. The new line boasts some unique pigments and colors inspired by Williamsburg Oil paints (another brand under the Golden umbrella) as well as some colours traditional to Golden’s other acrylic lineups. What makes the 40 available colors unique is the opacity level. SoFLAT paints have a semi-opaque to opaque finish, meaning light can’t pass through them. Golden achieved this, either by adding more pigment and matting agent or in some cases adding titanium white to the color itself. This is noted on all jars as pigment PW6. Even the fluorescents, which as a pigment are a dye themselves, traditionally very transparent, achieve borderline semi-opaque.
Working with SoFLAT
SoFLAT paints are known as thixotropic because of their unique leveling quality. As you work with the paint itself, by stirring, brushing, etc. the paint becomes smoother and easier to work with. Golden recommends stirring the paint before use, as some components can separate slightly on the shelf.
Unlike acrylic gouache, SoFLAT is not water sensitive. Once the film of the paint is dry, it is a solid acrylic film, which gives these paints a bit more versatility for alternative support uses like birch panels, canvas, and paper. Golden recommends not adding more than 15% water to these paints as this will create some water sensitivity.
As an artist, I am always on the hunt for something new, and what really caught my eye about SoFLAT was the opacity and the pop palette. I have been working on a series of mountain landscape paintings and have really enjoyed incorporating some of the SoFLAT palette and paints into my series alongside some of my more traditional Heavy body and Fluid acrylics.
Taking advantage of SoFLAT’s matte finish
In terms of retaining the super matte finish, it’s important to use mediums and pastes that complement this sheen. Products such as:
- Super Loaded Matte Medium
- Light Molding Paste
- Fiber Paste
- Pumice Gel
- Crackle Paste
- Pastel Ground
- Color Pouring Medium Matte
SoFLAT can be used like a gesso, so both as a base or in mixed media.
How matte is SoFlat?
Lastly, that matte, matte finish – it’s quite a unique finish. There is a rating system in place for the sheen of an acrylic paint called the Glossmeter. Acrylics are measured in gloss units (GU). Typical Fluid acrylics measure between 8 – 99 GU, Heavy Body acrylics measure 13 – 100 GU. SoFLAT measures between 0.4 – 2.8 GU. WOW. These are about as flat a finish as you can get in an acrylic. The sheen will be affected if they are mixed with another acrylic that is not as matte. Also, with varnishing options limited for that level of matte finish, again it is worth trialing your finishing products before putting them on your final masterpiece. The matte finish doesn’t lend SoFlat paints to outdoor use.
Give them a whirl, add a color or two to your repertoire or buy one of the available sets and try your hand at a super pop art painting style!
ABOUT ARTIST SAMANTHA WILLIAMS-CHAPELSKY
Born paintbrush in-hand, at the ripe age of five Samantha won an Emily Carr young artist award for her work, ‘The House’. Since then – through her extensive education, experience and years spent studying Italian art in Tuscany – she has emerged as an internationally exhibited painter and sculptor. Currently a visual art instructor, Samantha teaches painting and sculpting methods in all mediums. From India to Italy, Scotland to New York, numerous galleries and more than 55 exhibitions have featured her vibrant collections
Learn more about Samantha at samanthawilliamschapelsky.com
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