Two Tools for a More Productive Day + One Twist

"Solutions," photo by Mary Gow, applying the drawing app, Paper Artist
“Solutions,” photo by Mary Gow, applying the drawing app, Paper Artist

After hearing numerous endorsements from top bloggers such as Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Leslie Samuel of Become a Blogger, I decided to give Evernote a try.

To my delight, I’ve found it a tool too good to not write about. It reminds me of how I was using my address book to expound on various topics I wanted to find easily and instead Evernote calls these your Notebooks. A few things I enjoy about this software:

1. Whatever you write and save will be available on-line anytime.
2. Notebooks act like folders that can then add new notes inside of.
3. An efficient tool for composing a book or presentation since each new note can be like a new slide, section, or chapter.
4. You can sign on from any number of tools that connect with the internet, including your phone. Just remember to “sync” so your new content so it’s saved.
5. You can drag articles of interest into your notes.

Right now I’m using Evernote to store the variety of projects I’m working on. And it’s a place I can hammer out my new artist’s statement for a show I’m hanging at a coffee shop on Saturday, February 1st.

This like a virtual filing cabinet can create. Thank you Evernote for your superb product!

I Done This

Another tool I use is “I Done This.” I heard about it by tuning into one of the helpful workshops on Creative Live. As an aside, I hope you’ve discovered Creative Live‘s array of free workshops on tops for creative-types.

On The Art of Less Doing with Ari Meisel‘s workshop, he suggested many useful tools to help life flow more. That’s where I first heard about I Done This.

It was created by Walter Chen, Rodrigo Guzman, and Jae Kwon in 2011 in San Francisco, California. Walter and Rodrigo wanted a way to track their progress on their workouts. Now companies such as Zappos, Reddit, and Shopify use I Done This as a tool to increase productivity.

You can login at to record your daily dones or you can respond to an email sent to you (at a time of your choosing) each day. That email will also share with you some other days list of things you did – perhaps the day before or a week ago or some other day.

My Twist to “I Done This”

Another blog I enjoy reading is Early to Rise, edited by Craig Ballantyne. As a daily ritual he suggests ending the day with a gratitude process. See this blog post which has a YouTube video where he describes it.

Taking Ballantyne’s advice, I give thanks at the end of the day by writing out at least five things I’m grateful for. (There’s more to his routine than this). The twist I’ve added to IDoneThis is adding those five things at the end of what I’ve done that day.

There’s a myriad of other great tools available now, more than ever before, to get things done. At the same time, there’s more distractions that ever. I hope this helps you get more done even though tempting challenges are everywhere. It could be that the Universe is conspiring for your success.

Lessons from David Hockney’s “Bigger Exhibition”

"Light," by Mary Gow, using Paper Artist app.
“Light,” by Mary Gow, using Paper Artist app.

–iPad drawings printed on 6 sheets of paper and mounted on 6 sheets of Dibond.

-Inkjet prints from digital photographs of the original drawings.

-18 color laser copies mounted on 2 sheets of Dibond.

-Inkjet printed computer drawing on paper, mounted on Dibond. From an edition of 12.

Those are captions to various pieces in David Hockney’s show (that’s up through January 20, 2014 at the DeYoung Museum).

As soon as I got home I looked up “Dibond.” The New Traditions Art Panels’ website sells it and defines it:

Dibond is a sturdy archival aluminum composite material made of two lightweight sheets with a thermal plastic core. It is coated with polyester paint to prevent oxidation. This panel line is conservator recommended. These come in our standard 4MM thickness.

I like how Hockney embraces inkjet prints from digital photographs of the original paintings or drawings. One lesson from this show is to embrace state-of-the-art materials in addition to traditional ones. Why not make digital prints of your drawings, like three times the size of the originals, or gargantuan, like as high as the ceiling?

The “Bigger Exhibition” gives real-world examples of huge pieces of art that are composed of 6, 8 or even 18 panels that fit together. Many are mounted on Dibond.

There’s an alcove where you can see step-by-step how Hockney created some paintings using Adobe Photoshop, a stylus, and a digital drawing pad. Don’t miss it if you go.

I used to think if paintings and drawings were going to be enlarged, they needed to be sharp once blown up. From this show I am reminded that if they look right as your creation, then own it. That’s your own style. And it’s okay if it’s a really big style.

My Art at Center for Spiritual Living

"Venus Rising," acrylic on canvas, by Mary Gow.
“Venus Rising,” acrylic on canvas, by Mary Gow.
The sanctuary is an intimate enveloping space that’s been given an uplift by San Francisco architect, Travis Van Brasch, of Fong Brasch Design. I’m thrilled to report that artist and filmmaker, Marina Shoupe, and Van Brasch have selected my art and curated a show to hang in that space.

There’s a reception this Sunday, January 12, 2014, at the Center for Spiritual Living, at 280 Claremont Blvd., in San Francisco (zip 94127).

“Venus Rising” is one of the pieces in the show, along with a few others that were at the Cultural Integration Fellowship’s Fellowship Gallery from October to December of 2013. What’s different is the addition of some original paintings I’ve produced recently that are also semi-abstract landscapes with a touch of calligraphic brushwork.

If you know J.M.W. Turner’s work, there’s also a piece selected for this show that I produced with his work in mind. It has swiftly sweeping clouds at sea, with a bright yellow background that peeks through a hole and illustrates a steady inner knowing.

You’re cordially invited to the opening, which is from 12:30 to 2:00PM this Sunday, January 12, at 280 Claremont Blvd., in San Francisco. Light refreshments will be served. For alternative times when the sanctuary’s open, check the Center for Spiritual Living’s website.

An App for Digital Abstracts

"The Light," digital abstract created using Paper Artist app, by Mary Gow.
“The Light,” digital abstract by Mary Gow using Paper Artist app.
Happy New Year!

This photo was taken using the Paper Artist app ($2.99). See for more info. Developed by JFDP labs, you can turn any photo into paper art.

I love to make abstract imagery so snapping this photo of the lamp to my left created this image using the “Cadrega” style. You can modify an image in your photo library or use the camera that’s built-in.

There’s over 30 styles to choose from! Stay tuned for more abstracts created using them.