The SOS Eagle - Days 5, 6 & 7

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.


Day 5-7 Debbie Curtin_celtic_green_paint-196x250.jpg

Today I’ll attempt to finish the two sides. On the first side I had already painted the inside circle white and sketched the leprechaun in place. For any sketching I needed to do I decided to use a regular black pen as a pencil did not show up. Then I took my time and mixed the gold for the vest, the shade for the skin tone and the color for the basketball. For each it was all a matter of dabbling with the right amounts of yellow, white, red and a smidge of green. Letting this first attempt dry, I moved on to The Big Three.

Skin tones can be a real challenge especially adding shadows and attempting to put it all down smoothly before the paint starts to dry. Not so easy. Starting with Parish I looked at the picture and kept working on the right tones. I attempted to paint his fingers shown draped over his other arm while also matching it to the other hand. And the fingernails? Ugh! Such a little detail but it had to be right as did the eyes. Bird was also a skin tone challenge and that curly do! McHale slowly appeared and it was just a little “dab’l do ya” for each one. Who knew I’d be attempting portraits somewhere on this eagle?

Back to the leprechaun and I kept fussing with the hat. It needed to be tipped more so. The shamrocks were added, shoes with buckles and the bow put in place using a tiny brush last but not least the pipe and the shillelagh. The open eye had to be moved. I’m not a surgeon but hey, it had to be done! This one image took a few more attempts over several days before the magic began to appear.

Now I had to outline the figure. If you look at the image on the court all of it was outlined in black even the lines on the basketball. Do I use a fine brush for this and agonize over spending the time which I didn’t have? No way. I’m not doing that. Luckily I always have permanent black markers on hand and finished the task using these. Easy peasy.


The Big Three side of the base was not finished. I wanted to put the words, The Big Three, on there somewhere and the size of the lettering mattered. It had to be big (get it?) but not overshadow the figures. I freehand lettered it behind them so part of it was obscured but still legible and used the same Celtic green already mixed. I fussed with more details on the two of the five sides. I still needed to add BOSTON CELTICS to the circle of the leprechaun image but needed to wait. The lettering part could only happen when I was in the right mindset to do this and not be rushed.

This is where things came to a standstill. I was thinking too much into this and not giving myself a minute. I had to step back and go on with life while the bird remained in our foyer for the duration of the project. At one point or maybe it was more than a few times, when we’d be watching a TV show or I’d be in the kitchen Steve would catch me eyeing the bird and tell me to “let it go”. In other words he could sense my frustration with all the details yet to happen and my uneasiness with what to do next. I still doubted my efforts. I let the day pass.

When you design anything each part of it needs to be balanced. It’s all in the interpretation of the individual into what that means. For me the colors had to be right; the style of one side had to complement the other four sides. Since lettering is one of my strong suits, I knew it needed to continue to be spot on.

And now the paint I was using was not cooperating 100%. Since I used the black ink pen to sketch the boys on, invariably I needed to touch up parts of their white uniforms. The paint would not totally cover the ink. Over and over I made attempts; it dulled it but didn’t cover it. Shoot. Now what? Sigh and move on.


The eagle sat staring at the same view. I sat staring at the same eagle. I couldn’t even think about the rest of the bird and how it should be painted. Do I add the lettering of more team members? Who do I add and where – on or under the wings? It was too much lettering for me to even think about for now. Decisions, decisions – but now I needed to move on and figure out another side. Three to go and now it was pushing crunch time. This is where not having thought this through from the beginning has gotten me. But now I was too far into it to spend time going back to the drawing board.

Simplify. Side 3 was going to be an image that was simpler. Since I had spent a lot of time on the portraits on the first two sides I opted to think how to make an impact on side 3 but without the fuss? Silhouette images of four players showing basketball moves – that’s how.

I found the right clip art image and enlarged it to a comfortable size. I thought of several ways to transfer the image onto the right spot and the only one that made sense was to cut the images out and trace them on. Freehand would not be prudent. This needed to get done pronto!

To be creative means to be just that. Granted, I took images from other sources and used them but I came up with my own interpretation in going from a piece of paper to paint.

The background color was the same golden yellow in the vest of the leprechaun. In applying the mixed colors to equal that of the vest the tones blurred a bit which enhanced the overall color. It looked good! That needed to dry for quite a while.

Day 7 Debbie Curtin_celtics_players.jpg

I found another creative way the CELTICS word is used and opted for that to be in the background of the four players. I made sure of the spacing before inking the players in place and allowing room for the lettering. I had to really pay attention with painting this and went very slow as the tiniest of errors would be a nuisance to clean up as I found out. Ugh.

It was finished with the painting and just used the black marker to tighten up areas. Mistakes were not so easily hidden but glared. This paint was adequate I thought but didn’t cover any little flaw I needed it to. Is it me?

Stay tuned for the next installment!

For Deb’s first entry, read The SOS Eagle Parade 2017 – The Beginning of the Challenge
For Days 1 and 2, read The SOS Eagle Parade 2017 – Days 1 and 2
For Days 3 and 4, read The SOS Eagle Parade 2017 – Days 3 and 4

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.

For more information about Veterans Count, visit their website. To learn more about Debbie Curtin and her projects, click here.