The SOS Eagle Parade 2017 – The Beginning of the Challenge

The SOS Eagle Parade 2017 – The Beginning of the Challenge

This year began with another design challenge through the Manchester Chapter SOS Eagle Parade and Veteran’s Count. In the following weeks, I will be writing about the entire process from concept to finished art piece. My goal is to highlight how much effort goes into coming up with a design and how much one artist goes through by the time all is said and done.

The Beginning of the Challenge

Debbie Curtin Artist Eagle 2017 Flyer

The word was out in January that The SOS Eagle Parade for Veterans Count in Manchester had begun and they were looking for artists to submit entries. With creative craziness, I have to admit that I went overboard in the number of designs submitted (five!). I never feel I waste my time since I’m using the creative process to always brush up on my skills. I also learn more in the homework I always do in the preparation of any project. When you design anything you begin by drawing from the well where you’ve stored an abundance of accumulated inspiration from every single project over time. It’s when you stop trying that the well dries up. Never stop trying!

Debbie Curtin Eagle The Project Beginning

The eagle this year is a different style of bird. It is still 4 ft. tall but the base is larger. We would not be able to see the actual sculpted bird until after the design was submitted and approved. The copy image that we had to use for the design process was not too clear. So I enhanced it as best that I could and went with it and was happy with the way all my designs came out. With the deadline long over I was still hopeful that at least one would be chosen. The following pictures show the many sketches and color choices and bit and pieces of my thoughts before attempting the final designs.

Debbie Curtin Drawing Ideas

When a design was submitted to the contest (because in reality that’s what it is), as part of the application process you needed to include a description of your bird and the reason behind the design. So a lot of thinking went into this long before your design potentially being chosen by a sponsor. The sponsors are individuals and business people who were solicited through this project for the benefit of the veteran’s and their families.

Debbie Curtin The Eagle - The Spirit of America

Theme #1 – Spirit of America – Since the eagle as our nation’s bird has a long and interesting use on many items, I chose this theme. The word “FREEDOM” is the foundation of this country in so many ways. Each letter of the word FREEDOM shows a part of a flag of different countries around the world. The statue of liberty shines with a torch of light to welcome all to the shores of America with New York City in the background. The eagle wears a symbolic image of the flag of the United States in the way I’ve depicted it on the body. The bright red star is another form of a beacon of welcome.

Theme #2 – Land of the Free + Home of the Brave – On this eagle the statue of liberty is taller and is the central image against the image of the United Sates. I needed to find pictures of everything I put down and in the proper size ratio. I liked the words and it took a while to figure out this detail and how becoming comfortable with the look within the total design. The green color represents ‘land’. The black was chosen just a background color or perhaps I was looking to depict outer space or the universe. The flag was an obvious choice as were the stars. The body of the bird is a more realistic representation of its true colors.

Theme #3 – Land of the Free + Home of the Brave – This is similar to the previous image but I changed the colors in the body of the United States to represent all colors of people and places within the nation.

Debbie Curtin Light Base Eagle

Theme #4 – The base is five sided and to me represents the shape of the Pentagon building. The history of this building is fabulous and was my choice for a military themed eagle. Each side highlights a bit of each branch of the military; Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard. I gained much insight in doing the research for this by understanding the history of the Pentagon building with its significance in the place it is located and why five sides as well as the integrity of the structure itself.

Theme #5 – Sports themes are always a draw for many reasons. This eagle shows not only some images of the New England Patriots football team after winning Super Bowl L1, but also the iconic image of a Revolutionary War patriot. The wings of the bird symbolize the American flag.

The bases of all five designs are granite rock and reflective of the strength of this country. The eagle perched atop adds to the symbolic foundation of life, liberty and the pursuit of freedom in this country.

Debbie Curtin Eagle 2017 Close up sketch

The eagles for this project were manufactured by Icon Poly, a family owned company based in central Nebraska. Icon Poly started as a hobby of sculpting, sculpture point-up, and making fiberglass animals and sculptures by hand. In 1999, the company formed and began computerized sculpting, 3-D foam milling, laser digital sculpture enlargement, and a manufacturing process that accurately duplicates the likeness of sports and corporate mascots, make sophisticated trade show displays, and make multiple 3-D copies of a single design of paintable fiberglass sculptures for community art projects. With customer service and client satisfaction as top priorities, the company can bring even the simplest sketch or idea to reality using state of the art technology and the highest quality, environmentally friendly materials available. For more about Icon Poly, visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

The following story is a recap of a design challenge that I participated in last year.

The Eagles have Landed!

The Manchester NH Chapter of Veteran’s Count, a program of Easter Seals, has followed the 2016 success of the NH Seacoast Chapter’s SOS Eagle Parade with a similar creative challenge.

With the goal and mission of the contest to support veterans and their families, I tried my hand in this process last year and had a design selected by a corporate sponsor, TD Bank. It has been an honor to support veterans through the arts in such a fun and creative way. The finished pre-selected eagles went to their respective sponsor locations over the summer and fall. The Eagle Parade ended with a grand auction finale that took place Tuesday, November 10, 2016 at Granite State College in Portsmouth. This is where the highest bids for the returned birds culminated in a successful ending event for Vet’s Count. There was a separate submission of celebrity eagles that were commissioned to specific artists. These were painted expressly for the auction and were highlighted by big names to bring in the most bucks. A Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville themed eagle was #1 . The evening was a fun and social time with a professional auctioneer keeping the pace lively and on task. The bidding also took place live over the internet.


For more information about Veterans Count, visit their website. To learn more about Debbie Curtin and her projects, click here. To view this article on the Londonderry News, click here.