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Courage Cards Announces 2008 Fine Art Holiday Greeting Card Collection

Courage Cards Celebrates its 50th anniversary this holiday season

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Courage Cards, part of nonprofit Minneapolis-based Courage Center, announces its new 2008 Courage Cards fine art holiday greeting card collection. This season, Courage Cards is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a holiday card company!

We are proud to announce our 2008 Courage Cards artists:

Bonnie Bahr-Schneider, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. -- Nature's Peace, an original watercolor.

Bahr-Schneider was inspired to create this painting as she watched different birds at her feeders "come together and work it out." She says, "Peace is always a theme for me, but in an unsettled world, I feel the need for peace even more strongly." Bahr-Schneider is a special education aide who works with children with disabilities. "I get great satisfaction from knowing my art will help others."

Shirley Bell, Jamestown, R.I. -- Dressed For The Holidays, an original watercolor.

Bell has been painting in watercolor for more than 25 years. She is continuously inspired by her natural surroundings on Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay. In 2006, Bell launched her own company called Shirley Bell Designs. She enjoys being a busy artist and keeping up with the growing demand for her art, giclees and gift items. Her originals can be seen in galleries and gift shops throughout the country.

Jeanne Bonine, Scottsdale, Ariz. -- Holiday Blossoms, an original watercolor.

Bonine is a self-taught artist known for her soft and lush, larger-than-life floral paintings. "In my quest as an artist, I have immersed myself in the painting of nature. In its beauty flows the eternal heartbeat of natural law and order ... of reason and passion ... of harmony and love. Embracing this awareness, my watercolors strive to heighten the viewer's desire for beauty and enhance their sense of peace." Bonine's watercolor images can be found in galleries and collections around the world.

Wendy Brockman, Edina, Minn. -- Botanical Wishes, an original watercolor.

Brockman is a self-taught watercolor artist who has been widely exhibited throughout the United States and England. She attributes her development as a detailed observer to a childhood spent in the rural Midwest. Brockman has created an impressive and extensive portfolio of work, which explores her interest in both art and science. She has received numerous awards and her paintings are in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation.

Carolyn Cardle, Edina, Minn. -- At Christmas, an original watercolor and pencil.

Cardle has always loved to paint, taking a brush and paints with her wherever she goes. Her artistic inspiration comes from her passion to "portray the real meaning of the first Christmas, that glorious, hope-filled event when God sent a Savior for the world." Carolyn has seven grandchildren who she loves to weave into her illustrations hoping to capture the innocence of children and create something that brings joy to others.

Nancy Carney, Minneapolis, Minn. -- Chicago Dazzle, an original mixed media.

Carney graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a degree in Art Education and taught elementary school art. She also worked as a freelance artist and did design illustration and advertising. Today, Carney enjoys pen and ink illustrations of houses, wood-cut prints and watercolor painting. "I draw upon my imagination, dreams and life experiences for inspiration. The artistic journey is an ever-changing, expanding and creative adventure."

Vicky Enright, Andover, Mass. -- Ribboned Ornaments, an original pen and ink.

Enright has worked as a graphic designer, calligrapher, wallpaper designer, greeting card artist and children's book illustrator. Whether it is a logo, a children's book or a greeting card, Enright tries to cause the viewer to pause and look for a moment longer and to see some beauty. "I like to communicate joy, fun and laughter or at least to provoke a smile."

Andrew Evansen of Vermillion, Minn. -- Night Lights, Minneapolis, an original watercolor.

Evansen began painting watercolors in the mid 1990s and is largely self-taught. "I strive for a convincing portrayal of a landscape with an impressionistic touch. There's just something about city lights that draws me. Minneapolis has a gorgeous skyline -- throw in the snow and it's magical." Evansen recently won an international competition for his artwork and he has a featured article in American Artist's Watercolor magazine.

Lisa Fertig, Arden Hills, Minn. -- Rejoice, an original watercolor.

Fertig works in watercolor, acrylics and oils and paints in two distinct styles, abstract and representational. "Whether the inspiration comes from within or without, the destination remains the same. My art affirms my belief in the oneness of body, mind and the world in which we live." Lisa's artwork is held in numerous private collections, businesses and corporations and is shown in galleries throughout Minnesota.

Susan Fink, St. Louis Park, Minn. -- Blue Frost, an original watercolor.

Always a lover of the outdoors, Fink expresses her appreciation of nature through her watercolor painting. She says, "Painting keeps me focused on the beauty of the seasons and nature. Watercolor painting reminds me that there are things you can't control and sometimes it's the surprises that give the most pleasure." This painting captures the enjoyment of cross-country skiing through the pine trees with fresh falling snow.

Katherine Renee Huggins, Enid, OK -- Time Honored Tradition, an original colored pencil.

Huggins has been a Courage Card artist for more than 20 years. In addition to her artistic endeavors, she is also a Public Fire and Life Safety Educator. Huggins, along with her service dog, Willow, teach firefighters rescue procedures. The training of service dogs has become a real passion in her life. "My disabilities don't define me. I define myself by my abilities. Through my art, I hope to instill the concept that one can achieve goals in spite of obstacles."

Lavona Keskey, Plymouth, Minn. -- Birch Grove and Winter Fun, Minneapolis, original watercolors.

Keskey's interest in art began as a child with encouragement from her mother, and later evolved into her profession. As an award-winning cake decorator, Keskey is best known for her portraits and scenes on cakes using airbrush painting and elaborate frosting techniques. Her many artistic interests include figure sculpture, watercolor and oil painting.

Patricia King, Waukegan, Ill. -- Four Seasons and Nature's Offerings, original watercolors.

King first began painting as a child. She took many art classes in college and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education with a minor in Art from Northern Illinois University. Today, she enjoys teaching art to young students while also participating in summer art shows in the Chicago area. For King, painting is a connection with nature. "It is my joy to express the beauty in our world!" Her paintings hang in many private, nonprofit and corporate collections in the United States, Ireland and Australia.

Maria Langell, Albany, N.Y. -- Peace Among Nations, an original paper collage.

Langell was born in Budapest, Hungary. Her love of art began at a very early age. She always dreamed of becoming a professional artist and that dream came true in the United States. Langell studied illustration in New York and made her career in fashion illustration as a layout artist for newspaper advertising. Today, she is a free-lance artist and enjoys the freedom of creating images that have a contemporary look. Langell likes expressing her feelings with art: "I want to express the hope that the holidays bring joy and peace to all!"

Amy Larson, Park Rapids, Minn. -- Quiet Holiday, an original watercolor.

Larson received her Bachelor's Degree in Art Education from Illinois State University. She moved to the Twin Cities where she and her husband raised four children. During that time, she taught art in the metro area and also showed her work at many art fairs and galleries. Today, Larson continues to paint her watercolors of the beautiful landscapes and city scenes of the Upper Midwest.

Kairong Liu, Eagan, Minn. -- Frosted View, Minneapolis, an original acrylic.

Liu was born in China and came to the United States when he was 23. He received a Master's of Fine Arts Degree from the University of South Dakota. Since then, his art has been exhibited in many shows and collections throughout the Midwest. He says: "Beauty can be found in the most unexpected places. My paintings are my feelings and appreciation of what I see. I like to paint things that are very ordinary but beautiful in an artistic way."

Pam Peltier, Detroit, Maine -- Northern Lights Magic, an original gouache.

Peltier has been a freelance illustrator with children's books and greeting cards for more than 30 years. She enjoys creating art of all kinds including masks, jewelry, and fine art. When not creating, Peltier also enjoys dancing, hiking and especially spending time with her grandchildren. She says: "Creating art is like music to my ears and makes my heart sing!"

Thomas Rebek, Boston, Mass. -- Reflections, Time Square and Moonlight Skaters, Chicago, original watercolors.

Originally from Wisconsin, Rebek earned his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and his MFA from the University of Illinois. After teaching art and design at Cornell University, he moved to Boston. Rebek portrays his love for city life in his warm watercolors. "My works reflect the human celebratory events of the city. I hope to convey each scene with a sense of allure, charm and fascination."

Deborah Ronglein, Eden Prairie, Minn. -- Festive Greens, Crystal Blue and Winter's Blanket, St Paul, original watercolors.

Ronglein is a professional artist who paints in several styles from realism to abstraction. "Painting is a spiritual experience where a partnership is created between an inspiration from within and classical design and composition." Her paintings reflect themes of Minnesota's landscapes and nature's beauty and express qualities of serenity, balance and beauty.

Kay Smith, Big Spring, Texas -- December Hideaway, an original drawing.

Smith is a nationally recognized and award-winning artist who has more than 370 original works in private and corporate collections. Brilliant use of pure color is a hallmark of her loose painterly style. She also teaches art classes and conducts workshops in her own studio, Brushstrokes, as well as across the Permian Basin and Great Plains.

Hal Sutherland, Bothell, Wash. -- The Sunshine Committee, an original acrylic.

Sutherland followed his childhood dream and became an artist. He has enjoyed a successful career in animation and received many awards for his work. Hal enjoys being an artist because "an artist gets to participate in things you may not have dreamed of doing. It is a wonderful sensation to paint a bit of sunlight into the shadows of someone's dream."

Diana Thomas, Columbia, Penn. -- Pinecone Greetings, an original drawing.

Thomas developed her artistic talents through the encouragement of her father. She attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and has been involved with art ever since. She enjoys art because, "painting and drawing give me a way to capture a moment or an idea to share with others. It is a good outlet to express my love of fine detail." She especially loves to teach drawing and loves the moment when someone new to art realizes that they can do it! Besides art, Thomas keeps busy with her family's activities, gardening, and volunteer work.

DiAnne Tracy, Loudonville, N.Y. -- Silver Stream, an original watercolor.

"Art is my life and my passion. Painting gives me a tremendous sense of freedom and lets me escape into it. The creative process brings me so much joy and enhances my life," says Tracy. An award-winning artist, Tracy has been painting with watercolor for nearly 15 years. Her artwork, Silver Stream captures winter's beauty at its best -- a peaceful woods where there is a quiet hush and one can hear the sound of snowflakes falling.

Persis Clayton Weirs, Penobscot Bay, Maine -- Christmas Village, an original oil.

Growing up on an island off the Maine coast, Weirs developed her artistic skills through close observation of animals and wildlife that surrounded her home. At 23, she began to paint horses and pet portraits. In the early '80s she turned to wildlife art and began exhibiting in art shows and galleries across the country. As an artist, she hopes to share her respect of wildlife and the environment. "If my paintings can pass on just a fraction of the pleasure I find in nature, then I have succeeded."

Every year Courage Cards conducts a nationwide art search to find artwork for its' annual holiday card collection. If you are interested in submitting artwork, a copy of the Courage Cards Art Search guidelines may be downloaded from the Courage Cards website. The deadline for our 2009 art search is October 31, 2008. For more information on the Courage Cards Art Search, please e-mail or call 763-520-0211.

To view the full 2008 Courage Cards Collection, or purchase Courage Cards visit All proceeds from the sale of Courage Cards benefit Courage Center.

About Courage Center

Courage Center is a nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center that advances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. At Courage Center, we specialize in treating brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, chronic pain, autism, and disabilities experienced since birth. Founded in 1928, Minneapolis-based Courage Center offers advanced technologies and innovation provided in part through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors. For more information visit

Laura Brooks, Courage Cards, 763-520-0211

SOURCE Courage Center
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