A native of Washington, D.C., Ned Bittinger attended Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, before leaving the area for Denison University in Ohio. He returned to D.C., however, to earn his Master's of Fine Arts degree at George Washington University, and now lives in Rappahannock County, Virginia, with his wife, Mary. Bittinger is an award-winning painter of portraits, and his subjects have included James A. Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger for the State Department; Shirley MacLaine; Nancy M. Kissinger; and many leaders of the corporate, legal, medical, and diplomatic professions. Bittinger also paints landscapes and figurative scenes, and his work reflects the influence of such great artists as John Singer Sargent, Ilya Repin, Valentin Serov, and N.C. Wyeth. His use of the “alla prima” technique, in which wet paint is skillfully manipulated, gives his brushwork and thus his paintings immediacy. It is this energy that makes his work particularly suited to illustration, and readers will remember his stunning paintings from Fran Manushkin's The Matzah That Papa Brought Home, Eve Bunting's The Blue and the Gray, and Mary Pope Osborne's Rocking Horse Christmas.