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February 12, 2010

This is BIG: Haverhill artist displays giant canvases at local coffee shop

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She hadn't painted in a long time and when she had in the past, it was on a much smaller scale. But the finally took the risk and just went for it.

"At first I was resistant, but then I thought, I'm taking a class. I might as well follow the teacher's lead and try something new."

The process became a freeing dance for Beaulieu, as she worked with a base of acrylic paint, some brushes, and oil bars, a medium she calls "crayons for grown ups." The broad strokes and large scale got her whole body involed.

"One of my classmates joked that I had an abstract expressionist somewhere inside," Beaulieu said.

Beaulieau is a certified art teacher and a certified special ed teacher. However, she recently learned she will be out of her current special education job following the school year due to budget cuts.

The cut came as a shock, but it may give Beaulieu a chance to delve more deeply into her art. She hopes to continue promoting the work of artists with disabilities, to teach more art, and to perhaps sing in a band. She also hopes to include more local places in her series of paintings, like her interpretation of the famous Skip's Hamburger sign in Merrimac. She also has a collection of photos of classic cars that she envisions as a similar large-scale painting project.

Many of her stone sculptures, of sea shells, wigs and hands, are on display at the Walsingham Gallery in Newburyport. But she has found that the Wicked Big Cafe is the perfect space to display her more abstract paintings. Her paintings will be on display at the Essex Street eatery until the end of February.

"I appreciate that Wicked Big encourages local artists to show their work here," Beaulieu said. "I think it's great. Every town needs a place like this."

For more information on buying art from Anne Beaulieu or about art lessons, e-mail beaulieu.stonesculpture@gmail.com.

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