Carlton Plummer grew up on a farm in Maine before serving as a war combat artist in Vietnam and becoming a university professor.

Sandy Crabtree married a Mainer and taught art at Morse High School for 30 years.

What they both share in common is their artwork has helped raise more than $3 million dollars to support Maine people with disabilities through Pine Tree Society’s annual holiday card campaign.

Plummer already has seven paintings featured on Pine Tree Society holiday cards. This year, at 88 years old, he’s added an eighth. His painting “Homeward Bound” has been selected as a design for this year’s card.

Crabtree’s painting “Squirrel Point” was selected as well, marking her tenth time being featured in this annual tradition.

“Pine Tree Society’s art collection is wonderful and I love being a part of it,” said Crabtree. “You never know how it strikes people’s hearts. The holiday cards evoke feelings of nostalgia for Maine as a place where you grew up or visited.”

Plummer’s watercolor scene titled “Homeward Bound” features a man making his way home after harvesting the perfect Christmas tree. He moves through the rugged landscape of the snow-covered forest on his way to the quaint town in the clearing where his family eagerly awaits his arrival.

When asked what inspired him to paint this scene, he said, “That’s me.”

This painting harkens back to a childhood memory on his grandparents’ farm.

“That’s me. When I was 8 years old, I took a hatchet and went into the pasture to take down a fir tree. No one knew what I was doing, but I did a good job with it and they let me do it every year after that.”

Crabtree’s “Squirrel Point” is a captivating watercolor of a beloved Maine lighthouse.  On a clear, brisk day on the Kennebec River, Squirrel Point Lighthouse is festively adorned with a wreath, a Christmas tree, and a jolly snowman waving from the hill.

Crabtree loves lighthouses. She also loves tree houses.

“The tree house at Pine Tree Camp is what first inspired me to want to support the organization. I think it’s a wonderful idea for kids to be able to go up in the air like that.”

Crabtree hopes the holiday cards help raise awareness about the importance of saving things that matter, like Squirrel Point Lighthouse and like the tree house at Pine Tree Camp.

Plummer recalled that he first year his artwork was selected, he had submitted a painting because he thought the whole concept was a good idea.

“I’m an illustrator and this was something I could do to help Pine Tree Society.  After my first design was chosen, I got hooked. And I’m glad I did.”

It all began with a knock on the door.

In the 1960s, Pine Tree Society staff had the idea that a Maine-themed holiday card could be the perfect fundraiser. Maine artist Richard Hasenfus lived nearby the office, so they knocked on his door and asked if he would donate a piece.

More than fifty years later, the tradition is still going strong.

Every June, Pine Tree Society’s office is flooded with paintings depicting Maine’s beautiful landscape. This annual holiday tradition draws work from artists from around the state competing for a chance to be featured in Pine Tree Society’s expansive collection of Maine art representing all aspects of Maine in the winter — from country scenes, to woods and fields to the rockbound Maine coast.

Pine Tree Society helps Maine people with disabilities lead richer, more socially connected lives and all proceeds from the sales of these holiday cards support its programs. For more information or to purchase cards, please call 207-443-3341 or visit this link:

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