CUSHING/BATH — In the 1960s, the Pine Tree Society in Bath had the idea that a Maine-themed holiday card would be a perfect fundraiser. More than 50 years later, that tradition is still going strong and annual sales have raised more than $3 million dollars to support and transform the lives of Maine people with disabilities.

This year, Pine Tree Society brought back one of its most popular cards, featuring “The Perfect Tree” by Cushing artist Marieluise Hutchinson. This painting brings a captivating scene featuring the Maine tradition of finding and bringing home the perfect tree. Based on a favorite setting in Owls Head, firelight flickers through the farmhouse windows as a man pulls a newly cut Christmas tree home across a blanket of freshly fallen snow.

Hutchinson grew up in a family that cut down their own Christmas tree each year.

“I remember going out in the woods to get holly and evergreens to make wreaths and how special it felt to cut down our own Christmas tree,” she said. “I can just smell it and feel the pitch on my hands and how there was so much excitement as we waited for the cold branches to drop down so we could decorate it.”

Hutchinson is drawn to New England architecture and one day when she was looking for subject matter to paint, the connected farmhouse and barn in Owls Head caught her eye. She loves rural fields and farmlands and her winter-themed paintings evoke the feeling of the chilling snap that comes with colder days, or the solitude that follows in the wake of a New England snowfall.

“My style and images of rural New England has hit a nostalgic chord,” Hutchinson said. “I’m very happy to use my work to help to others. It’s something I love doing. I’m proud to paint what I love to benefit worthy causes.”

Hutchinson summers in Cushing and spent her childhood in a bucolic 1820’s homestead in Hanover, Mass. She is represented by the Bayview Gallery in Brunswick. She is a Copley Master at the Copley Society of Boston, a Master Artist at the Cape Cod Art Center and a member of the Cape Cod Museum of Art.  She is also in the permanent collection at the Cahoon Museum of American Art and the Cape Cod Museum of Art.

All proceeds from annual holiday card sales support Pine Tree Society’s programs. Cards are available in two formats, folding and postcards, and each purchase has a very important purpose: to help Maine people with disabilities lead richer, more socially connected lives.

Holiday cards can be ordered online at pinetreesociety.org or by calling 207-386-5912.