Painters often use a maulstick to steady their hand when working on details. The Dutch word “maalstok” means “painter’s stick”. The traditional maulstick has a bulb on the top covered with leather or cloth, and it rests on the edge of the canvas. Some people stick a tennis ball on the end of a dowel. There are two problems with this approach.

First, you must continually be aware of the location of the ball, being sure it does not slip off the edge of the canvas, or slide into the painting. Second, when you stop to rest or observe your work, you must find somewhere to place the stick. The solution is easy.

Just use a walking cane. A walking cane will hook over the top of the canvas or easel, and the curve of the handle will keep the cane away from the paint. When you need a rest, just let go and the cane will stay in place. The bottom of the cane will rest on the bottom edge of the canvas – you don’t have to hold it up with your hand.