For local artist, humor is his canvas
Dan McConnell found his life’s calling without realizing it.
“I was drawing at age 4,” he said. “I wasn’t much of a verbal guy up into my 20s.”
He made friends through art, though. McConnell would draw images on other kids’ sweatshirts for $1 – his earliest foray into professional work.
The 1966 Quincy High School graduate has come a long way. One of his cartoons will appear in an upcoming edition of “Reader’s Digest,” he said.
Local residents don’t have to wait for that. They can see McConnell’s cartoons at the Quincy Public Library, where he is the new featured artist. His work will be on display there for the next two months. A reception with light refreshments is 3 p.m. Friday so people can meet McConnell and view his work.
Pam Barrow and Roxa Kreimeyer, who organize artist exhibits in the library, say they’re fortunate to have McConnell.
“He’s on to the big galleries in Wenatchee now,” Barrow said.
McConnell does show his pieces in that town’s Two Rivers Gallery. But cartooning hasn’t been a career for the Dryden resident, who operates a small pear orchard with his wife Ann.
“It tries to be a financial thing,” he said with a grin. “It wants to be, if only it could.”
McConnell has years of experience creating political cartoons for area newspapers. His library exhibit includes one piece with definite political tones: It’s a drawing of Lon Cheney with the word “scary” underneath and, next to it, a drawing of Dick Cheney and the word “scarier.”
Sometimes he’ll work on a caricature, such as the one of Mick Jagger in the library exhibit. “I love to do faces and caricatures,” McConnell said.
That always came easily, he said, although he struggled more in the beginning to draw buildings and other structures. He studied general art at Central Washington University and later trained as a scientific illustrator at the University of Washington.
McConnell’s children are artists in other media. His son writes graphic novels and his daughter is a painter.
McConnell creates his cartoons in a second-floor studio in his home. He’s a member of the National Cartoonists Society and says he stays busy most of the time.
Barrow noted that the library exhibits have included a variety of styles.
“We’ve had photos, big pieces and some abstract,” she said, adding that people will enjoy McConnell’s work. “He has a great sense of humor.”
— By Steve Kadel, firstname.lastname@example.org