Move Over MacGyver. Ive Got a Painting Studio Gadget for You!

I was on a studio visit the other day to artist Daniel Baltzer's place in Harlem and the first thing that grabbed my attention—even before looking at his paintings (!)—was this cool little contraption he had in the middle of his studio, with brushes sticking out of it and an inset groove on the tabletop surface to hold his glass plate palette.

Reacting to my interest, Dan told me that the table was actually one of those bedside tables you'd see in a hospital room. You know the ones—where you pull a lever under the tabletop and you can adjust its height. Dan got his from another artist and customized it with his painting supplies for the small studio in his home.

Daniel Baltzer's repurposed hospital table makes a great transportable palette, storage container, and brush holder. All in one! Daniel Baltzer's repurposed hospital table makes a great transportable palette, storage container, and brush holder--detail of inset groove for palette..
Daniel Baltzer's repurposed hospital table makes a great transportable palette, storage container, and brush holder all in one.

Essentially it is a portable art case with everything he needs to work with in a day of painting: brushes, painting palette, paper towels (in a dispenser made by the artist at the base of the table) and rigged out with a few drawers for the rest of his supplies. Plus it is still on wheels, so it can be pulled wherever it needs to go.

Dan and I got to talking about how in a home studio, you've got to be creative with just about everything associated with how to paint—storage solutions, painting solutions, handling solutions—and that problem solving seems like the underlying trait that allows an artist to meet all those challenges. And it is well worth it because, in Daniel's case, his studio is conveniently located in his home so he can take care of his infant son while still being just a hallway down from his studio.

Inside the Art Studio features artists from all across the country not only sharing their working methods and painting processes, but also sharing the nuts and bolts of how they work day to day. And that covers a lot of interesting, informative territory. Enjoy! 

And if you have a great studio solution you want to share, leave a comment and let me know!

P.S. If you like peeking inside a fellow artist's studio as much as I do for ideas and inspiration, check out The Best of My World–a free eBook from Southwest Art on artists and their creative spaces.

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

6 thoughts on “Move Over MacGyver. Ive Got a Painting Studio Gadget for You!

  1. I have one studio you may be interested in…I live in a motor home many months a year. We removed one of the couches out and had an art center/studio built in. I do watercolor, photography, and a few fun fiber creations. This year we will be traveling from Michigan to Florida. Trish Lamar

  2. The hospital “over-bed table” is a great tool, I’ve used them for years, and they’re very versatile in a studio setting.

    My wife is a nurse, and one year the hospital where she worked decided to have a “garage sale” of sorts, selling off a lot of outdated or surplus equipment, which included quite a few over-bed tables, at ridiculously cheap prices. She bought about 4 or 5 of them. I’ve used them for many purposes, including holding glass-plate palettes, tool holders, slide projector table, “fork-lift” for raising a large TV to slide into a tall media cabinet, sewing machine table, etc.

    You might check your local hospitals or nursing homes to see if they’re having a “sale” or with hospital supply companies. A really useful item.

  3. I got an old fashioned typewriter table from an office supply recycling place and and recycled an old window, removed the glass, treated the edges with tape and put it on top of the table, which is on wheels and has a shelf underneath. It makes a large surface palette on wheels.

  4. i personally would like some closeup shots of this portable table and how he has jerry rigged it. i might be able to get my hands on an old hospital cart to try this out. can u post some more pics? cindy

  5. Mine are studio solutions that deal with aesthetics, and creating the right atmosphere in which to work. Since I paint portraits from the Revolutionary War thu Civil War Era, I remodeled the studio in my Post-Victorian farmhouse using Gothic details, from the trefoil fretwork on doorways and windows, and iron candled chandelier, to wood paneled walls and tudor arch for the fireplace. It all helps to set the tone for my daily journey into history. You can take a look at the Gothic treatment to my studio on my website at

  6. Hey Courtney! Thanks for your great articles! I recently designed a custom taboret table with unique features for painters. I couldn’t find what I was looking for in a taboret so I decided to design my own…

    Check out the site I put together for it–

    I’ve gotten a good response from people for this studio solution, but please let me know what you think!