Bath artist's paintings adorn holiday card campaign

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BATH — The works of longtime resident and artist Sandy Crabtree, who taught at Morse High School for nearly 30 years, have been chosen a ninth time by the Pine Tree Society for its holiday card campaign.

Funds from the effort, which began in 1969, go directly toward Mainers with disabilities. The cards reaped about $100,000 in sales last year, according to the society.

“I (have) really felt happy and honored, to be able to paint places that I loved in Maine,” Crabtree said in an interview Nov. 27.

One of those places, which she calls her favorite on Earth, is the Five Islands area of Georgetown. She first saw it soon after moving to Maine from Pennsylvania in 1967, and it is the 71 year-old’s watercolor of the Five Islands Lobster Company that adorns this year’s cards.

“This card gives people that chance to go (there),” said Crabtree, who joins Carlton Plummer of East Boothbay in having artwork selected this year.

Five Islands “is actually listed as the prettiest little harbor in Maine,” Crabtree said, expressing her “great love” for the outdoors, and noting mankind’s responsibility to preserve it.

Crabtree also praised Pine Tree Camp for involving young people in nature.

“Any time you allow young people or adults to get outside, just inspires you to feel good about where you are,” she added.

Both her parents loved art, and it was her mother’s art book of Winslow Homer’s works that gave Crabtree her first vision of the Maine seacoast.

First hearing about Pine Tree’s campaign through word of mouth, Crabtree submitted works to the organization for 10 years before the society chose one in 1992, she recalled.

“I used it as a teaching thing with the kids,” she said. “I would say, ‘you never give up.’ So I kept entering every year.”

Crabtree taught art from 1975 to 2004 at Morse, from which her husband and children graduated.

“I still love to substitute there,” she said. “Morse is a really wonderful kind of school, as far as feeling very connected.”

That connection reaches into books such as “My Twelve Maine Christmas Days,” illustrated by Crabtree and written by Morse music teacher Wendy Ulmer.

The 2014 award-winning children’s book, the title of which is a nod to “The 12 Days of Christmas” song, showcases 12 places in Maine.

“People are now going, especially as a result of that book, to see where I was, to see what I saw,” Crabtree said.

She and Ulmer partnered again this year on “One Green Tree, Ten Chickadees,” a board book for babies.

Crabtree’s works can also be viewed at the Centre Street Arts Gallery – a cooperative of 20 artists at 11 Centre St. that opened two years ago – as well as the Mustard Seed Bookstore, 74 Front St., and Just Framing, 149 Front St. 

The holiday cards can be ordered online at, or by phone at 443-3341. They can also be purchased at Pine Tree’s 149 Front St. office, which also houses Just Framing.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Sandy Crabtree of Bath shows off the ninth watercolor she has painted for Pine Tree Society’s holiday cards. This year’s piece showcases the Five Islands Lobster Company in Georgetown.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.