“When we get out the camera, our three children just automatically stand still, they are so accustomed to posing,” laughed Mr. and Mrs. Jerry McConnell, 17 Lake Drive East as yesterday they explained details of Jerry’s career as a commercial artist. They say that Kevin, 4, Patricia, 3, and Sean, 1, make “cheap models,” because the toddlers haven’t yet learned to ask for pay. In today's world, parents often try to help their children discover their creative abilities. It is important for a creative person to devote enough time to the development of hobbies and even have to the opportunity to buy college research paper to reinforce their academic success.
This month, everybody in the State of New Jersey who has a telephone, viewed a painting of the disastrous “Paterson Fire of 1902,” as portrayed by Mr. McConnell, a freelancer. It was on the cover of Tel-Cast, Bell Telephone’s monthly brochure.
Actually, this had been a horrendous accomplishment for the local artist because the deadline date had been set for Jan. 15, and in December he was in an automobile accident which injured his left hand. Since Mr. McConnell is left-handed, he made the deadline in spite of the fact that he completed the painting by handling the brush with his hand encased In a cast.
“You should have seen the car” his wife, Jane, Injected at this point. She said It was completely demolished.
The Paterson fire holocaust is depicted by Mr. McConnell with roaring flames emanating from city buildings into which firemen plunge and douse the red licks with water from hoses on horse-drawn engines, creating skyward-Spiralling billows of black smoke.
Mr. McConnell said that Charles Lang, art director for TeI-Cast uses only New Jersey artists. The Packanack Lake man obtained research material from a book put out by a Paterson bank.
That's not all he does, however. the local freelancer also prepares a lot of “human Interest” covers for such magazine periodicals as “Jack and Jill,” and has his creations on countless paper-back covers as well as illustrations in texts and trade books.
His versions of wild west scenes, with cowboys straddling horses on the plains of the northern frontiers have been spotted in paper-backs, including “The Odds Against Circle L!” and “The Bounty Lands.” He illustrates Indians “war-whooping” around covered wagons in “The Stake Plain.”
And yet he can picture a haunted house and a frightened women in “The Secret of the Bayou,” and other interesting portrayals on the covers of “The Hobo Horseman,” and “Mascarade Horseman.”
Mr. McConnell consistently has cover paintings in Catholic Youth and The Columbian, (published by the Knights of Columbus).
His technique is interesting because he starts with a polaroid camera (or larger -professional cameras) on tripods to first capture his models on the lenses. Several times, he himself has been duplicated in one painting, with his poses taken on camera by his wife when the occasion arises.
More often than not, his children and wife are the models - but, then again, he uses their baby sitter, Barbara Steinbacher, and children of neighbors on Lake Drive East; in particular, Kevin Monahan, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chris Monahan, 35 Lake Drive East. Another subject Mr. McConnell frequently employs, is Mr. James McCartin, an adult neighbor.
Then he combines the individual photos to paint for his assignments.
Residents of Wayne for four years, the McConnells arrived here from Astoria, Long Island. A 1949 graduate of West Orange High School, Mr. McConnell had originally planned to be a draftsman, but a prolonged illness In his senior year, changed the course of his career.
- Wayne Today, March 27, 1967