Tim Barraud • Watercolors

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About Tim

Oregon Coast by Tim Barraud
“Sun and Cloud on the Oregon Coast”
by Tim Barraud
Painting came to me later in life. Like any creative pursuit, painting requires a great commitment in terms of time and energy, and for many reasons, I was not able to commit to it for many years. Instead, I dabbled infrequently, almost always during the heart of a vacation, and any success was easily dampened by my harsh inner critic. However, the impulse to pick up paints and paper never completely faded, and when I was in my late sixties, more opportunities came my way. Painting slowly became what I most wanted to do on vacation, but as soon I returned to everyday life, the painting would stop.

Tim Barraud
The incongruity of denying myself the one thing that gave me the greatest satisfaction started to haunt me. I was also haunted by the words of a psychic who had told me during my forties that my not painting gave her concerns for my heart. During a workshop involving soulful choices, I committed to creating a studio and spending time there every day for 30 days in a row—and I did it.

An even more important step was relocating my urge to paint from the bottom of my “to do” list to the top. Painting became a habit and an easy choice, and I was rewarded by the steady growth of my ability. Painting for no other reason than the way it made me feel was a triumph of soulful choice over duty. I now take daily pleasure in seeing my paintings take shape and hang on a wall.

Between the influence of genetics and the examples of elders, an artistic impulse and talent have appeared in many generations of the Barraud family.

His Majesty
HMV Emblem by Francis Barraud
My ancestors were Huguenots who fled oppression in France by migrating to England in the seventeenth century. Many were artisans who established themselves as clock and watchmakers and as painters of animals in the south of England. William and Henry Barraud were brothers who collaborated on their paintings of horses, dogs, and livestock; their paintings have long been collector pieces. Perhaps most famously, Francis Barraud immortalized Nipper, his white-and-tan Jack Russell terrier, with his head cocked, listening to his master’s voice through a phonograph. This painting became the emblem adopted by the record company HMV, His Master’s Voice.

My great-great-grandfather, Charles Decimus Barraud, tenth-born of twelve children of William Francis Barraud and brother of William and Henry the animal painters, migrated to New Zealand early in the nineteenth century and established himself as a pharmacist in Wellington, the capital city. There he painted prolifically, recording early New Zealand life while traveling extensively on horseback. His paintings and lithographs of Maori life and early New Zealand landscapes can be viewed in museums and galleries. His son Noel, who founded an early stock and station agency called Barraud and Abraham, was also an artist. Many of Noel’s landscape paintings of New Zealand and Europe have survived and are valued as collector pieces.

The Remarkables, C D Barraud
“The Remarkables” by C D Barraud
One afternoon, my son Ben, head of design at the Te Papa museum—an imposing building on the waterfront of Wellington harbor—took me down into the chilly, climate-controlled archives below the Te Papa, where much of New Zealand's past is stored. With the assistance of a manager, we pulled out paintings by C. D. Barraud and viewed many of his original works of art. I felt the thrill of deep heritage and family history.

There were other Barraud artists in New Zealand who descended from C.D. Barraud, one of them being my father, John Slingsby Barraud. He graduated from Elam Art School in Auckland before being swept away to fight in World War II. After the war, he made his living as a portrait photographer in Wellington and later as a cultivator of quality carnations, which he shipped all over New Zealand for 20 years. On weekends and holidays his easel and painting gear were never far away, and occasions such as picnics found him staring off into the distance and then back at his easel as he created one of his many landscapes painted in oils and water colors.
The "curse of the Barraud's" is how my grandmother referred to the artistic talent and where it landed, she was referring to the difficulty of using this talent to make a living and also raise a family. However my youngest son, Ned Barraud, came into the world with this talent and was busy drawing whatever was in front of him or created in his mind, from a very young age. I warned him of the curse and how he needed to broaden his options in terms of career but off he went to art school. Today he and his wife Niamh are raising a delightful family of three and Ned is very much the artist. During the day he works for Sir Peter Jackson at Weta Studios in Wellington where he has been integrally involved in the creation of many movies, including the Tolkien Trilogy: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. At night he stays up late and illustrates a wonderful and successful series of children’s books that bring to life the flora and fauna of New Zealand. His books can be viewed at www.nedbarraud.com.
As a growing boy, I was inescapably influenced by this family history. In the different houses in which I grew up, my brothers and I looked up at reproductions of C.D. Barraud’s paintings hanging on our walls as well as at our father’s landscapes and a few scenes of horses and hounds painted by earlier ancestors.

I often wondered if my family’s gift of art would be visited on me. But it was my older brother Arnaud who seemed to have the motivation and the skill, so I looked for other talents and pursued my love of animals, which eventually led to my career as a veterinarian.

Lake Ferry, Tim Barraud
“Lake Ferry,” Southern New Zealand
by Tim Barraud
However, one experience involving art lodged deep within me and led to my current pursuits. When I was 15 years old, we were on a family holiday beside a lake on the South Island of New Zealand. One afternoon, I put together some paint brushes, borrowed watercolor paper from my father, and found my way down to the lakefront. Here, in total isolation from family and other humans, I stared across the lake and applied paint to paper, seeing a primitive image of lake and sky and mountains take shape. I became totally absorbed and lost within the experience.

From this occasion I have retained the memory of a warm and transcendent union with nature, brought about by the act of creation.

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