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Vermelde kunstenaars: Willbur Reaser.

An Artists' Nook
By Isabel C. Barrows.

Here, not far from the quaint old city of Rotterdam, is a
quiet, sleepy nook that has been found out by artists and
art-students, who come in small flocks from Paris and
other cities to spend the summer months. During the
three hot months of June, July, and August, when Paris
was baking in the fervid heat, this restful place knew only
one uncomfortably warm day. While many parts of the
Continent were dripping with rain, the sun shone uninter-
ruptedly on this favored spot, with a clearness and serenity
uncommon in Holland. What wonder that that outdoor
lover, the landscape artist, finds here solace and hope!
The skeleton round which nature has hung so much
beauty is a village built many a year ago on the banks of
one of the innumerable rivers that flow lymphatically
through Holland. Some of the houses were built two
hundred or more years ago. One of those comparatively
modern bears the figures, significant to Americans, 1776,
in wrought iron upon the walls, each figure acting as a
brace to the bricks, as well as recording a historical fact.
Canals and sub-canals intersect the land so that roads,
paths, waterways, and bridges are picturesquely blended.
The long lines of trees, willows and elms, that shade the
roads are reflected in the parallel streams, and one walks
'twixt a heaven above and a heaven below, for no stream

in Holland is ever in too much of a hurry to stop to reflect
any object of beauty that looks into its serene waters.
The houses are all built of the tiny bricks common to
Holland, and are roofed with the peculiar wavy tiles which
gleam warm and red through the tree-tops. The barns
remind one of New England in their capacity, often look-
ing down with scorn upon the smaller dwelling-house. At
first one wonders what they can contain, since the barnyard
has its ricks of close-thatched straw and hay. But as load
after load of well-cured flax drives home from the fields in
the September twilight, it is evident that this precious crop
must be safely housed. It is hard to imagine that the
immaculate linen of this country is hidden away in those
bundles of dry black sticks. In winter it will come down
from the barn lofts, be soaked in the half-stagnant side
canals, hatcheled and made ready for market. Early
summer is the time when flax looks best, when the fields
are blue with blossoms, in dainty contrast to their pun-
gent neighbors, the mustard-fields in golden yellow.
The barns are mostly thatched with the flags that grow
in tropical grace and profusion in the river margin. The
older thatches are covered with thick green moss, and, as
the thatch follows every dormer window, every undulation
of the roof, the effect is sometimes like the mossy banks of
a New England wood.
Here and there between the dikes are flocks of sheep,
and herds of black-and-white Holstein cattle, browsing in
the "sweet fields of living green." In the sluggish canals
and river, boats of various kinds ply back and forth—flat-
bottomed craft made to slide over the water by means of
the dark red sails if there is wind enough; if there is too
much, they drop a swinging board at one side or the other
to steady the boat, a sort of a lateral "centerboard," if
such a bull may be allowed. When there is no wind, the
boats are propelled by poling, which is a much faster
means of locomotion than would at first seem possible.
Here we have the various elements necessary for an
artist's- pleasure—land, water, picturesque houses and
stables, trees, bridges, cattle, peasantry in snowy coifs and
wooden shoes, with bluer blouses than one ever dreamed
of, a wide horizon, an uninterrupted sky flecked with bil-
lows of clouds, and in and through and over all that inde-
finable thing that artists love—an "atmosphere " which
intoxicates like love's young dream.
The village inn, that sits half in and half out the river,
and the comfortable farm-houses of the neighborhood, open
their doors willingly to this sympathetic guild, and during
the past summer they have been there by the dozen—hus-
bands and wives, mothers and daughters, and even little
children who have as yet known no other life than that of the
atelier and the summer painting-ground. Many Americans
are among them, from New York, Boston, Chicago, and
other cities. They scatter in September for their various
Continental studios. Mr. Wilbur Reaser, of California,
still lingers, loth to tear himself away from scenes which
since last April have furnished scores of charming studies
to his facile and industrious brush. He catches the spirit
of the place with wonderful success, and his sympathy with
the life of the people is delightfully reproduced in his peas-
ant sketches. It is not strange that the fascination of
such a place is attractive after the fever and hurry of San
Francisco life—an air that, to artists, is pestilential. To
rock idly in a boat beneath the high willows where the
stork's nest hides, to drift lazily past gardens where roses,
asters, dahlias, and gillyflowers are all ablaze in the mellow
autumn sunshine; to watch white-aproned little girls and
white-capped mothers scouring pots and pans, cans and
kettles, till the round cheeks and blue eyes look back out
of these homely utensils; to hear the gentle wind sigh
through the rushes as Moses heard it in the papyrus rushes
of the Nile; to watch the sun sink in grandeur in golden
clouds, and the purple twilight steal down through the
willows and clothe all the land in royal colors—who could
help feeling the artist's delight, though helpless to express
the feeling? Happy those who can see it all and transfer
to canvas the delights of this bit of Holland for the bene-
fit of those who cannot come hither! We who cannot
wield the brush, but who have shared for a little this beau-
tiful nook, drink to their health and prosperity in a glass
of foamy milk fresh from the ki that feed on the meadows!

Rijsoord, Holland, September, 1892.

New Outlook 29 oktober 1892 (volume 46; pagina's 781-782)