Vancouver Island eagle sculptor’s latest creation details an epic battle

Eagles battling in flight took 2,500 hours to complete

Dave Flawse

Special to The Record

Two bald eagles battle in the sky. Their long wings clash like great swords while their quick beaks pick and tear at one another. They whirl and dance, press together and swoop apart.

Clasped in one of the raptor’s talons is each one’s desire: a living venomous diamondback rattlesnake.

It’s more than a fight for their next meal though. It’s a struggle between birds of prey that will end in one eagle’s death.

In a desperate bid to preserve its life, the viper strikes its long fangs at the doomed eagle grasping it.

“He’s going to fall out of the sky,” says Comox sculptor Wes Seeley of the envisioned battle. “And once the venom goes through him, the other one is going to get lunch.”

Seeley has had about 2,500 hours to consider their struggle. The life-sized wooden sculpture, which is really two eagle sculptures connected at the wings, took him a year to build.

From his working days on a boom boat, Seeley would observe the graceful movements of soaring bald eagles. He would listen to their guttural and shrill calls, and witness their ferocity and dominance of the sky.

Now in his retirement he brings those memories to life again. The representations are made from the trees on which eagles waited to spy their next prey.

Meticulously cut feather pieces of yellow and red cedar add a texture to the broad wings. Two-toned aromatic cedar adorns special parts of the wings, “They’re nice and dark,” explains Seeley. “And [they] have a little blonde in there too.”

The aroma of sawed cedar is pervasive in his 20-by-30-foot workshop. A squat black woodstove burns his reject pieces on cold winter days. Seeley estimates around 1,800 individual pieces go into one eagle project, but says he’s never counted.

He recently sold two other eagles to custumers in Wyoming. One completed eagle sells for around $70,000. As for his latest sculpture of two eagles fighting over a rattlesnake, Seeley hasn’t set a price.

“I’m open to offers,” he says.

Selling the sculpture would allow him to build a bigger shop on his Comox property. He only has room in his garage-made-workshop for one project at a time.

“My ultimate goal is to have two or three pieces I can work on simultaneously,” he explains.

The local artist grew up on Quadra Island and learned to swim around Rebecca Spit. He began sculpting eagles in 2011. Before that, he created detailed fish boat replicas.

Seeley has ingrained himself in the artistic community and feels positive about the Valley’s art scene.

“There’s so many great artists around,” he says. “We’re all so supportive of each other. It’s just such a creative community.”

If his garage door is open stop by and check out his sculptures for yourself at 2211 Gull Ave in Comox. He might be blaring Michael Jackson’s Number Ones but welcomes visitors. Maybe he’ll tell you about his next ambitious project.

“Can you imagine four eagles in a globe shape?” he says with a smile. “The sky’s the limit now.”

 

This angle shows some of the intricate detail of the sculpture. Photo by Dave Frawse

Just Posted

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District approves one cannabis store, denies another

Stores would have been located across the street from one another in Cherry Creek

UPDATED: Taylor Flats wildfire in the Alberni Valley under control

Fire is located close to Highway 4 near Sproat Lake

EDITORIAL: Plastics ban needs to start from the top

The more people talk about the plastics ban, the more it may catch on elsewhere…

West Coast Amateur in Port Alberni a success

Top overall winner, with a gross score of 140, was Derek Reid from Arbutus Ridge

ARTS AROUND: Last call for cruise ship vendors

Last cruise ship arrives in the Alberni Inlet on July 6

VIDEO: Sproat Lake Fire Department demonstrates sprinkler safety

Demonstration only took 3-5 minutes to create a deadly scenario where no one could survive

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Licence issue delays boozing while cruising on BC Ferries

Planned June launch for alcohol sales delayed

Nanaimo a prime market for new plane, Air Canada says

Vice-president previews Airbus A220, praises Nanaimo’s growth in passenger numbers

B.C. school mourns after 13-year-old killed by fallen tree on field trip

Teenager died after being struck and pinned by tree while on a field trip near Sooke

RCMP deploys special unit in Comox Valley to combat organized crime

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit spends four days targeting organized crime in Courtenay

B.C. temporarily halts resource development to protect caribou

The caribou population in northeastern B.C. has dwindled over the last two decades

Students disciplined after anti-LGBTQ signs posted in Kamloops high school

Vessy Mochikas, SD73’s principal for inclusive education, called incident a learning opportunity

Most Read