Tag Archives: gel medium

Hiding Secrets in Your Journal

For years, when I wrote morning pages, I sat, wrote, and shredded them. They were too dismal and painful for anything else. Then I began to keep them and read them every now and then. To my relief, I was getting less angry, bitter, disappointed. I was, in fact, showing gratitude. Amazing. And then again, my writing began to improve. Reason to keep writing.

Occasionally, I do morning pages in a journal. Sometimes it’s because I’m brave and think I want to remember that specific morning, at other times, I have an insight I want to keep for further development.

My goal is to keep my writing unedited, just as it comes out. After trying out some Sakura pens, I discovered the clear gel pen in the Gelly Roll Glaze series was perfect for writing morning pages with. You can’t see what you are writing. Not looking at my writing made me write more boldly, effortlessly, and soulfully.

When it was dry, I could see the writing if I tilted the page. To obliterate it, I painted gesso over it. Great texture, and the words were no longer visible.

Then I tried gel medium in semi-gloss. This is an experiment worth working on–I’m going to try tinting the gel medium, or letting it dry, then glazing it. Some of the words are semi-visible. (Sorry, the photos didn’t turn out. I need direct sunlight.)

Journal page, written on in clear pen, washed with watercolor.

Then I decided to cover the whole writing with a watercolor wash. Doing that, I discovered meaning in the word “resist.” The clear gel pen acted as a resist, drying up through the watercolor wash, allowing me to read what I had written. (The page is more clear than above, I deliberately made some of it unreadable–TMI.)

I resist what I need to know, resist claiming what I need to claim, even resist showing up in the world the way I want to. And the pen showed that. No matter what you wash over yourself, you always show up as yourself.

Dive into your own morning pages–clear pen or not. You will find ideas you resist and ideas that you can wash over.

Quinn McDonald is a raw-art journaler whose book, Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art contains a whole chapter on hiding your secrets.

Gel Transfers for Art Journaling

Note: Two exciting teaching days in California means I got home very late last night. Today’s post is a quick tutorial on gel transfers. Tomorrow, I’ll share some impressions of the classes.

Gel transfers are not only fun, they add a lot to the pages of your art (or raw-art) journal. Joyce Bank, president of the Calligraphic Society of Arizona,  sent out an interesting summary of YouTube tutorials in various gel medium transfer methods. In each section, the link is followed by a list of interesting points covered in the video.

Golden makes a huge variety of gels, glazes, and mediums

Instead of gel medium, this artist uses a sculptural gel to make transfers.

  • he uses a sculpture gel—a very thick acrylic medium instead of gel medium
  • replaces brush (which can leave marks) with a  plastic palette knife applicator to spread the gel
  • Instead of a laser-print image, he uses a National Geographic magazine image
  • He wets the image so that it will dry together with the acrylic medium
  • He burnishes the image when he applies it

This artist used a soft gel gloss medium

  • a brayer to burnish the image
  • a magazine image rather than a laser printer or photocopied image
  • emphasizes that the darker areas of the photo would show up better
  • lets the transfer dry thoroughly before applying it
  • uses a piece of sandpaper to get the rubbing process started
  • uses a spray water bottle to moisten the back of the paper while she’s rubbing it off

This artist transferred a laser photo image to a piece of tempered glass. Once dry, the image is lifted from the glass and stored on a piece of wax paper until it is used. The glass method allowed him to observe the drying process and yields a smooth surface image.

Quinn McDonald drove across the Sonoran Desert in the dark last night, and was amazed at the experience. She liked being amazed.


Making Acrylic/Gel Skins

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Acrylic skins are made with acrylic paint and gel medium. Why not just mix the paint and gel medium on your journal page? Because creating a skin is more versatile. The skin can be cut, stamped, printed, or stenciled. It … Continue reading


Gel Medium Transfers–Easier with Videos

This gallery contains 1 photos.

Gel transfers are not only fun, they add a lot to the pages of your art (or raw-art) journal. Joyce Bank, president of the Calligraphic Society of Arizona,  sent out an interesting summary of YouTube tutorials in various gel medium … Continue reading


Collage Background 2 (Tutorial)

Not all collage backgrounds have to be smooth, even, or one color. Here are some techniques to try to get a variety of backgrounds. (No pictures because my paints are packed.) Common sense warning: wear an apron, cover the floor … Continue reading


Glue Tips

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Whether you use PVA glue, acrylic medium, or methyl cellulose, wet glues have their own problems and their own great uses. I always wanted to use glue sticks, but I just don’t have luck with them. They aren’t precise enough, … Continue reading


Gel Medium:Coating the World

This gallery contains 2 photos.

[Note: You may also enjoy reading More on using glues.] Gel medium is the magic potion of the art world–it’s a glue or a sealer; it creates a matte or shiny surface, it thins acrylic paints and makes them more … Continue reading