Monday, October 29, 2012


The smell of Brahadi's tobacco propels me instantly into the past.  I am 8 years old and my Grandpa Windross is coming from Calgary for a visit.  All the kids are excited - he always brings fabulous gifts - fancy dresses with crinolines for me, or once, a much-coveted Annie Oakley costume with fringed vest and white cowboy hat.  Always, there were jelly beans in his pocket and with a twinkle in his eye, he would pose a riddle, and if we got it right, we were rewarded with a handful of jelly beans.  Before gleefullypopping them in your mouth, you had to pick off a few shreds of errant pipe tobacco.  For he was never without his pipe - and the air would fill with the sweet, cloudy scent of Brahadi's as he regaled us with tales of his youth.

I have wanted to do a portrait of him for some time, so I'm grateful for this challenge.  I based it on a photo taken by my older brother John, who was interested in photography as a teenager, and Grandpa happily obliged him by posing for some pictures.  Grandpa lived to be 96.  He had hoped to make it to 100 to get a letter from the Queen, as he'd been born on the Isle of Man.  It was not to be, but fond memories live on in our hearts.

So here he is, pipe in hand, in a three-piece suit as he dressed every day.


  1. Mary, your work is absolutely amazing! Right down to the twinkle in his eye! I had a grandma that fulfilled that role - right down to the sugar cubes in her pocketbook! Love it!

  2. Oh Mary...I can *see* your grand-dad...and just smell that pipe tobacco. What an evocative piece and wonderful memory!

  3. What wonderful memories Mary and such a beautiful tribute to a much loved family member.

  4. This piece is beautiful. What a wonderful, vivid story behind it too. Fantastic work, Mary!

  5. Bravo Mary! I can smell your grampa's pipe from here.
    Your work always make me take a second look, and then a third.
    Wishing you continued success in all you do,
    LuAnn in Oregon

  6. I love the portrait, Mary! I have an uncle who used to smoke a pipe and I loved the scent. I used to sit on his lap and he would tell stories of when he "was a little girl"! Always made me giggle :-)