When my daughter was very young, with a very serious face she asked, “Daddy, why do you hold a big stick in your studio?” To a child, the most question-provoking thing about the studio was my homemade maulstick.

You can see my maulstick in this photograph. It’s resting against a 40″ x 52″ painting (the unfinished painting titled The Fair) to give you a sense of scale.

Yep, it’s a broomstick handle with a rag fastened to the end. Big paintings require big tools.

So what is a maulstick? Painters use it as an arm support. This prevents the arm from rubbing against wet paint and spoiling the painting. The end is soft so it doesn’t scratch or tear when resting on the painting surface.

It also provides an armrest when working on the painting edge.

Believe it or not, I use my giant maulstick when I work on smaller paintings too. It works just as well and I rest it against the edge of the smaller-format works.

It’s multi-colored now from numerous paint smears, which, I swear!, I’ve no idea how they got there.

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