The Bombardier Dash 8 sliced through the overcast to reveal Edinburgh on the horizon. The wheels screeched on the damp autumn tarmac promptly at ten in the morning. The judder of the plane reassured our excitement for Andrei’s first opening of the anticipated UK Tour. We allotted ourselves a few days to roam around the historic cobble streets of Edinburgh. We dined in a 600 year old pub, climbed Arthur's Seat, ate some haggis and visited a few of the many incredible museums of the city. The weather was on our side and the clear skies would allow us the most unforgettable views of the old city. After a couple of days in Edinburgh we set off for our first show scheduled in Aberdeen. The train ride was one of the most scenic we had ever been on; it careened along the breathtaking eastern Scottish coast.
Enid Hutt Gallery: The first show
The first show was in the beautiful downtown gallery in Scotland’s coastal city of Aberdeen on Sunday, November 5th. Named the “Granite City" and formally "The Silver City of the Golden Sands" because its downtown is build completely from granite stones. Furthermore, it is said that Aberdeen's granite facade shimmers in the evening when the sun dips below the coastal cliffs. Enid Hutt's Gallery owners Kevin and Clarke Hutt were gracious hosts and welcomed us very well. They booked a local scotch and gin tasting at the affair, too; one can never go wrong with such an activity! The gallery was spacious and provided a fantastic venue for Andrei’s paintings. It truly was a great opportunity to share the night with some of Andrei’s biggest Scottish collectors. Andrei produced an enormous and spectacular original specifically for this opening show. He spent nearly the whole year prior producing the “Kilted Caber”, the centerfold of the show at Enid Hutt. This remarkable piece features a Scotsman hesitant of tossing a caber after seeing a gorgeous damsel perched playing the bagpipes a top. Dramatic, for a lack of better words, is the describe this romanticized story that unraveled on the 72 x 48 inch canvas. Walking past the Kilted Caber one would not miss the forty plus other originals and limited editions feature in the solo show. Thank you to all the wonderful people who came out and enjoyed the evening in Aberdeen with us!
Greater London was surprisingly more brisk than Scotland when we landed in the evening at the Luton Airport on Monday, November 6th. We only had a couple days to recharge for the next five shows throughout Lilibet’s kingdom (Great Britain) in the following weeks. Our tour schedule consisted of two legs of shows grouped together with a brief break in between; Aberdeen, York-Pocklington, Salisbury, short break, London surrounding shows and finally Market Harborough in the Leicestershire. Six shows doesn’t seem like a lot but the exhaustion is quite deceptive, we learned. Believe it or not, it was an excruciating task to sight see the Square Mile on the days off. But, we persevered and actually covered a lot more ground than we initially anticipated. We saw “French Impressionists Living in London” at the Tate, cringed at old mummies at The National British Museum, ate the best tikka masala, supported the local community theater, drove some golf balls into the English countryside, hung out in neighborhood pubs, a lifetime of fish and chips, bangers, peas and mash, Uber’s that drove on the wrong side of the road and observed high tea in the Shard. Truly, an unforgettable trip to say the least. That is why we decided to document our trip and its highlights of Andrei’s shows and share it with his fans, collectors and aspiring artists.
The second show was scheduled at the Acorn Gallery in Pocklington just outside of York. We packed the car with artwork, a change of clothes and a positive attitude. Ate an English breakfast, brushed our teeth and took off. Thanks to Ray Loud, Andrei’s business partner, friend and most gracious of hosts drove us. Typically, the drive is about 4 hours from London on the M1, although, we took the M6 to visit some Andrei’s collectors at the Hepplestone Gallery just North of Liverpool and Manchester in the village of Heskin. Thankfully, the unpredictable British traffic did not stump our trip an hour’s East to Pocklington. We arrived to the show with time to spare, settled-in and checked-in to our hotel.
The Acorn Gallery: Show 2
The Acorn Gallery is a cozy two story venue that is in the heart of downtown Pocklington. Although, there is not much I can say about Pocklington since we only spent one night there but judging from their high street and neighboring roads, it seems like a quaint town with nice boutique retail stores. Andrei’s collector base and popularity has been growing in Pocklington and York the last three years. That night some of his collectors finally got to meet him and enjoy some nice conversations. Diane and John were gracious hosts and served nice fare and Andrei’s favorite: champagne! It truly was wonderful to see the passion from the owners and their incredible relationships with their clientele. Thank you to everyone who made it to that pleasant evening.
To our surprise the hotel we stayed at was a golf resort so I suggested we have a moment of R&R before our four hour drive back to London and hit a few balls on the range after breakfast. The beautiful landscape made it hard to look down at the ball. The rolling hills of the English countryside were spectacular. This was a lovely way to break up our trip and also do something that was unrelated to art and unwind a little bit.
Gallery 21: Show 3
Seeing Old Serum (The former name for Salisbury) on the horizon from the top of the spire of the Salisbury cathedral was awe inspiring. The old cathedral truly is an incredible medieval architectural feat. It apparently took centuries to build. Seeing the three hundred sixty view of Salisbury and its surrounding countryside was truly breathtaking and serene. The show at Gallery 21 had built excitement in the coming weeks for Andrei and was truly going to be one of his best venues. Their two thousand plus square foot gallery space in the main square of Salisbury always draws a wonderful crowd of people. The show was also scheduled on Remembrance Day marking the hundred year end of the Great War. Due to the soldier parades and salutes in the park Salisburians were already out and enjoying their national holiday. This made for a wonderful turnout at the gallery.
Consequently, we really want to thank all of the incredible collectors who turned out at the exhibit and all the wonderful people who came out that Sunday afternoon to meet Andrei and receive their specially signed souvenir brochure. Gallery 21 marked the end of the first leg of our 22 day trip to the UK. The ride was refreshing knowing we would have a couple of days to unwind before doing the London and East Midlands shows.
Being the hard working artist that Andrei is, he actually took the time to do some new work at the Buckingham Fine Art studio. The first three shows did quite well and sold some of the smaller pieces. Never short on ideas, Andrei decided to work a couple days on newer smaller pieces the other venues. In the meantime, we also visited London for a day or two to see some museums and absorb the local scene. London is truly a remarkable city.
Montagues Gallery: Show 4
The Montagues Gallery would host our first show of the last leg. The gallery is located in Kings Langley just outside the ring in greater London. Kings Langley is a quaint suburb on the edge of London just north west of the city. It’s off an old main road heading out of the city. It was replaced by the modern highway system but also serves as an alternative artery to the suburbs. The gallery used be an old hardware store and after its recent remodeling they decided to preserve the beautiful old woodwork that frames the facade. We were anticipating this show. The galleries clients were primarily from the surrounding greater London area. In addition, some of Ray's friends who he had acquainted us attended too. This made the show very endearing and comforting to see familiar faces. The show drew a nice crowd of people, a lot of whom waited months to meet Andrei and find out what inspired him to paint he pieces they had on the walls of their homes. Thank you to all the wonderful people who came to the show and the wonderful gallery staff for hosting that memorable evening.
Images in Frames Gallery: Show 5
The Images in Frames gallery is just a couple blocks from the Wanstead underground stop so it gave us an excuse to experience the city once again. This time we wandered from the streets of Soho to the beautiful Covent Gardens. London was jumping with excitement as all the small shops were dressing their storefronts with Christmas decorations and sales promotions on this mid-November Friday. Surprisingly, it was also a sunny day where typically it would chilly and wet. People were in a good mood. Street artists were on overdrive and it made walking the streets that more enjoyable. An incredible atmosphere in the anticipation of Andrei’s last London show later that evening.
The owners of the Images in Frames Gallery, Michele and Elton, were incredible hosts and are very fond of Andrei’s work. They invited their incredible clients and patrons to meet Andrei. It was an exciting night of hors d'oeuvres, moscato and Andrei’s gorgeous paintings. The unique gallery featured all of Andrei’s newest work. They also had a wonderful wall with back lit LEDs that featured one of Andrei’s larger originals, “Out of Focus.” We took that idea back home with us. After a wonderful Friday night art show, we closed the evening with fine dining at a great local Italian restaurant. Truly a night to remember and thanks to everyone who had come out and shared the magnificent moment with us.
Wingates Gallery: The Last Show
Our last show was at Wingates Gallery in the town of Market Harborough in the East Midlands region. It was about a two hour drive Northeast of where we were staying. The town was bustling on the Sunday of the show. It was a medium sized town with small bridges over a canal waterway that divided the town. The cute cobble market center. was bustling with Sunday activity: strolls, shopping and fancy coffees. There were Christmas vendors, people chatting on the backdrop of a couple of Romanian accordion players. In Britain, Sundays are typically the best days to host art shows as people are out and about walking around town enjoying their day off. Although the turnout for the show was great, it seemed more earnest as we were saying our goodbyes to the tour and to the wonderful country of England. Thanks to the wonderful host at Wingates Gallery and the support of the collectors and art lovers of East Midlands, we had another pleasant and successful show on our tour.
Lincoln, the hired pianist at Wingates Gallery, lightly hammered the keys of his piano and played Beethoven's “Moonlight Sonata” as the last clients were getting their special dedications and signatures on the backs of their new paintings. We sipped our last glasses of dry red wine and made our way back to the United States in what seemed like at one fell swoop. The tour came to a close. Thanks to the great team effort of Buckingham Fine Arts, everyone involved and Ray Loud for his accommodation and coordination; this truly was one of the most memorable times in our lives.
Written by Dennis Protsouk