Mahl Stick

Winston Churchill painting with a mahl stick.
When I started painting in 2009 my dad gave me his Winsor & Newton mahl stick and it has been an invaluable tool ever since. It's designed to be long enough so that you can support your hand while painting to avoid smudging freshly painted areas. I use mine constantly.

Unfortunately in the move it disappeared and I struggled without one for the past couple of months until I came to the point where I couldn't successfully continue without the aid of this handy tool. I had a look online but all you can buy is a nasty piece of wood or metal with an untidy ball at the end; joyless creations built economically with utilitarianism in mind. 

I happily spend the greater part of my life in front of the canvas in a Victorian room I am filling with treasures. To me it is not enough that something works, I want it to be beautiful too. To that end I decided to try to make a mahl stick my own way and this is the result:

This mahl stick is composed of a broken parasol handle of varnished wood and what I can only suppose is bakerlite or possibly bone, tipped with engraved silver. I've made a leather ball from my leather craft supplies and finished it off with antique ribbon and leather cord. It's light, and as I picked up the broken parasol in a little English bric-a-brac store ten years ago, surprisingly cheaper than buying an online version and makes me happy to look at and use everyday.


A Delicate Confusion

My latest finished work 'A Delicate Confusion' is a miniature commission in the style of works from my last exhibition. It was a real pleasure to paint this piece, it makes me want to make more!