Bittinger was born in Washington, D.C. He earned his BFA from Denison University in Ohio in 1974, then worked as a drawing and etching instructor for the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C. Bittinger earned his MFA from George Washington University in 1982. He then studied portraiture and conducted workshops and school presentations in the Mid-Atlantic area.
An award-winning painter of portraits, his subjects have included James A. Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger for the State Department; Dr. Henry Kissinger; Congresswoman Lindy Boggs; New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine; John Evans, a founder of C-Span; Shirley MacLaine; and many leaders of the corporate, legal, medical, and diplomatic professions. In 2004, he was chosen by the U.S. House of Representatives to paint the official portrait of Abraham Lincoln to hang in their chambers. He also has illustrated children’s books for Scholastic Inc. His portraits are included in the collections of the US Capitol, the US State Department, the Pentagon, University of Virginia, Loyola College, Jefferson Medical University, George Washington University, University of South Carolina, North Carolina State University, New York University, and the Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University.
The Portrait Society of America awarded Bittinger its Certificate of Excellence in 2007; the Certificate of Merit in 2006; and the Honors Award for Portraiture twice, in 2003 and 2004.