This piece is the continuation of Deb’s design challenge for the Manchester Chapter SOS Eagle Parade and Veteran’s Count. In the coming weeks, Deb will be chronicling her artistic process from concept to finished art piece. Her goal is to highlight the effort that is put into coming up with a design and how much one artist will go through by the time the piece is completed.
The deadline had been extended several times but unfortunately, none of my designs were selected. I sighed and then thought about all that work I went through for nothing. I felt a little dejected but then out of the blue, I received an email from Veterans Count asking if I would be interested in a commission and more specifically if I would like to paint a celebrity eagle. It was a total surprise and I did think about it for a minute or two before deciding to take them up on the offer. The eagle was to be a Boston Celtics theme. They didn’t need to see a design so of course I panicked. What do I put on this eagle? I only know what the average sports person knows; the icons, the players, staff, highlights and some other images about this legendary team. The clock was ticking. My brain started to work overtime.
The first thing I needed to do was to pick up the bird from the Easter Seals building. We have a pickup truck but instead opted for my friend Denise’s van. It would be snug and secure and wouldn’t worry about it toppling over. So off we went, found the place busy with people and buses coming and going. Just inside the lobby there it was waiting for me on a small dolly; a white, nicely sculpted American Bald Eagle with wings spread on a five sided base. Okay, we can do this! I handed over the necessary paperwork and proceeded to move the dolly to the door when it tipped forward. All I could imagine was the thing breaking in half. I hadn’t even got it out the door! Luckily Denise was right in front of the eagle and gently pushed it back and held on while I navigated it to the van. It was lighter than we thought and were able to gingerly lift it and place it nose down on a pillow with the wings carefully avoiding the frame of the van. Bracing it with more pillows and blankets we made it back to the house and carefully put it in the garage. Phew!
Later on it made its way into our foyer and there it stood as the “what do I do now” realization came rushing at me. I didn’t have much time to ponder as the deadline was coming at me fast and furious. Deciding to just go at the eagle and start painting without an actual drawing to follow seemed like the way to go, or so I thought it was at first.
Steve was to be my ‘go to’ guy with yes or no answers to my questions about what to put or not to add to the bird. First thing I did was to get a few books from the library and scope out information and pictures. They helped a little but not as much as I thought. Plus I didn’t have time to read all the history. I needed to clear the clutter that was accumulating in my head. KISS – Keep it simple stupid!
Wanting to at least put some paint on the sculpture I gathered some “professional” tools; an empty cottage cheese container for water, a few Styrofoam trays for mixing the paint along with paint stirrers and acrylic brushes and the paint color chart. I had some leftover large tubes of the Liquitex paint recommended last year and only needed a few more. Basic colors are the way to go; red, yellow, blue, black and white. Since I knew I’d need a lot of green I opted for ones already in the tubes.
The coloring of the parquet floor along with the look of the grain of the wood was a little challenge. I mixed white with yellow added a bit of red then green. Since the look was to show a wood grain affect I didn’t completely mix the colors so when I applied it, the look was somewhat of a wood grain. Okay for one coat. Rule of thumb – stop, leave it alone, let it dry!
Stay tuned for the next installment!
For Deb’s first entry, read The SOS Eagle Parade 2017 – The Beginning of the Challenge
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.