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Church hopes to build on artist's talent

December 14, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - When he was a little boy wiggling around in the church pew on Sunday mornings, Don Litten's mom gave him paper and pencils so he could draw and be still.

Litten believes the roots of his passion for art today might have sprung from that unlikely beginning. And now that early connection with church and art has come full circle, as well.

"For more than 30 years, I have always painted just for myself," Litten said.

The walls of his home are adorned with watercolor scenes he created in his spare time and never sold.

Litten recently felt a pull to share his art in a unique fashion designed to benefit Rehoboth United Methodist Church in Williamsport.

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A member of the growing congregation for eight years, Litten decided he wanted to use the talents that God gave him to help his church raise money for a new building along Lappans Road in the next few years.

In July 2004, Litten said he did a watercolor of the church.

"Copies were made, we took orders and they sold quite well," raising more than $800 for the church building fund.

When the church leaders talked about raising $2 million before beginning the building process, Litten said he decided to sell copies of all of his paintings, with the money going into the building fund.

To spark sales, Litten has compiled several catalogs of his paintings. He has one and Pastor Jim Swecker has another at Rehoboth. A cover sheet says the copies are 11 inches by 14 inches and cost $30 each.

"Back in October, we hung all my paintings in the church so people could come and look at them," Litten said. The response was strong enough that the entire collection has been copied and is ready for sale.

Once the first copy is scanned digitally, the additional copies cost very little, Litten said. Some people have requested larger sizes, which can be accomodated, but at a higher price.

Everything has been digitally scanned and the printer already has been paid, Litten said. After he is reimbursed for the cost outlay, the money coming in from the sale of the copies is profit, going directly into the building fund.

"For very little money, buyers can then get mats and a frame," Litten said.

Excited about the new direction his art is taking, Litten said he is pleased, even though he didn't get to pursue his art full time.

"I had hoped to spend my life as an artist, but that wasn't to be," he said. "I'd go to museums and look at art instead of going to ball games."

A supervisor at the Maryland Correctional Training Center south of Hagerstown, Litten, 49, has been employed with the Maryland Division of Correction for 23 years. He and his wife have two children.

To inquire or to order copies of Litten's watercolors, call Swecker at 301-223-9554 or Litten at 301-791-5847.

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