For many of us, staying organized and productive is about drawing sharp divisions—this goes here, that goes there. But for abstract artist Marta Spendowska, it can be as subtle as the line between two shades of blue. Marta’s vibrant, atmospheric art and design are all about the interplay and harmony of color. Off the canvas, she brings the same notions of interplay and harmony to a creative organization system built in Evernote.
“I can honestly say I use Evernote 10 to 50 times a day,” Marta told us in a recent interview. “My life and work happens in Evernote; it’s my own personal encyclopedia.”
“My life and work happens in Evernote; it’s my own personal encyclopedia.”
Marta’s life is a dance between detailed structure and spontaneous expression. As she says on her website: “As an illustrator I know my exact steps: research the topic, collect references, decide on palette, respond to the client’s requirements. But as an artist, I am at the mercy of beauty and spirituality… I have come to recognize them as twin sisters.”
“Small miracles” captured over time
Evernote allows Marta to merge her drive towards order with the fluid abstraction of her art.
Working in watercolors, acrylic paint, and ink—all water-based media that can do unexpected things on canvas—Marta often comes across surprising combinations. “I tend to discover happenings on canvas I haven’t intended,” she said. “These are small miracles I possibly would like to replicate. The only way for me to remember it for the future is to create a reference in Evernote and describe it while the paint is drying, making notes of the ratio of pigment to pigment.”
In the note shown above, Marta documented a striking effect she discovered while exploring mixed blues. She photographed it and noted exactly how she got there:
“Here: teal blue/water, white powder w/water, after dry a bit, swamp green w/white spirits.”
All these snapshots go into a “Process Art” notebook, where Marta records every stage of her work in progress. Later, she can go back to her notes and see how an individual work evolved over time.
A spectrum of notebooks
Keeping her process documented in Evernote is just the beginning. “I use IFTTT to stream my Instagram posts right to Evernote,” she says. “This way I have all my blogging and social media images under one roof. And anytime someone mentions my name online the posts are collected in a ‘Mentioned’ notebook. That’s useful for PR.”
Yet another notebook, called “Color Trends,” is used to save Pantone swatches, scraps of paint, and examples of current design thinking. Marta turns to her notebooks when discussing commissions with clients, to cross-reference artworks with galleries, and even to record her dreams through audio notes.
Marta’s process notes link to the high-resolution images she stores on Dropbox, and she also adds note links to her to-do lists in OmniFocus. The result is a tight web of ideas where inspiration and reference materials are always close at hand.
“Without Evernote, I’d have to keep all these documents with embedded images, detailed notes describing what is stored where… this would mean two things—inefficiency and wasted time,” she says. “Evernote is a powerful virtual assistant, keeping me organized and fast at work. I’m discovering new ideas for using it every day.”