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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Just Posted

Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets

Owners of non-socialized dogs seek safe space following closure of Cedar Hill Corner

Residents around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond welcome federal remediation efforts

It is not clear yet whether Sidney will renovate nearby dam at the same time

Public to weigh in on Colwood Royal Bay development Monday

Application to rezone lands north of Latoria Boulevard submitted to council

Camp fun still offered in Greater Victoria

Easter Seals offers day camp options to replace cancelled overnight camps

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read