Gel Medium Resist from Art Journal Freedom

This tutorial was previously published in the book Art Journal Freedom by Dina Wakley, 2013; republished here courtesy of

art journal techniqueI love a good resist. With gel medium and stencils, you can make interesting patterns on your pages that will resist paint and ink. Sometimes I’ll go through a journal and add stenciling with gel on random pages. When I get to the page, it’s fun to start working around the stenciling that is already there. While this technique works with any type of gel medium, I have had the best results with gloss gel.

Try using this technique to add color contrast. I used purple and yellow, which are complementary colors in my background. The two strong contrasting colors add vibrancy to the piece.

Materials list
canvas (regular or panel)
smooth white cardstock
acrylic paint (Cobalt Violet Hue,
Medium Magenta, Cobalt Teal, Indian
Yellow Hue, Raw Umber, Bone Black)
permanent ink pads (black and yellow)
small manila tag
number stencil
gel medium (gloss)
lid from an ink bottle
palette knife
sewing machine & black thread

Step 1: Coat your canvas with a thin coat of white acrylic gesso. Let it dry completely.
Use a palette knife to apply a thin layer of gel medium through a stencil. Let it dry completely.






Step 2: Use a paintbrush or your finger, if you  want more control, to apply violet paint to an area of the canvas. Water down the paint a bit so it spreads easily.






Step 3: Apply teal paint to an area.








Step 4: Apply yellow paint to an area.









Step 5: Wipe any excess paint off of the gel medium with a rag. The colors may start to overlap a bit. A little overlap is the nature of the beast—it just sort of happens. Try to prevent too much overlap, though, so your colors don’t
make brown.



Step 6: Use a paintbrush or your finger to apply a small amount of Raw Umber paint to the  corners of the canvas and a little in the middle.






Step 7: Use a yellow ink pad and a stamp to  add some background texture to the yellow area of the canvas.







Step 8: Dip an ink bottle lid into black paint and add circles to the canvas. Let it dry completely.







Step 9: Water down some magenta paint and wipe it onto the side of the canvas with a paintbrush. Let the paint drip down the canvas. Add as much magenta as you’d like to create as many drips as you’d like. Let it dry completely.






Step 10: Stamp a focal image for your canvas with permanent black ink onto the smooth white cardstock. Cut out the image.







Step 11: Sew some messy stitched rows onto a small manila tag. Glue the tag and the focal image onto the canvas.






From Art Journal Freedom by Dina Wakley, 2013: courtesy of

To learn more about or purchase Art Journal Freedom by Dina Wakley, click here.

Watch Dina demonstrate another project from her book!




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