There are two kinds of painters out there - those who sit and those who stand while working. I fall into the later category. I suppose I kid myself into believing that this makes up for a daily exercise routine. No matter which you group fall into, you have to put your loaded brushes down sometime. I used to keep four or five charged brushes in my hand at once, fencing with the canvas and switching tools as needed. When I started painting on a smaller scale I found holding many tiny brushes confusing and unnecessary. Necessity being the mother of invention, I discovered the beanbag ashtray close at hand was perfect for holding wet brushes. For as long as I can remember I've smoked a pipe while I work, or at least while I step away and reflect on my work. A pipe is the perfect tool for artistic contemplation - just ask Norman Rockwell. I suppose if you don't smoke, you could put art supplies or candy or small change in the bowl. Another use it serves is a pin cushion. Why on earth do I need a pin cushion near my easel, you may ask? The answer is as near as the closest cat, and there are four in the studio. Forget analyzing the pigments to authenticate my work, the historians will be analyzing the cat hair. Siamese hair?...this must be from the 1980's or 90's, etc. Besides, beanbag ashtrays are back! Very mid-century modern.
They can be found on Etsy and eBay. Vintage ones just feel better so try and find an old one. Here's a sample link: Beanbag ashtray