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

B.C. sculptor depicts epic eagle battle in latest piece that took 2,500 hours

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

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.”

Dave Flawse, Special to The Comox Valley Record

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Snapshot: Cap and gown in the time of COVID-19

Eagle River Secondary did what they could to keep highscool graduation as normal as possible.

Fallen tree and fire to blame for Shuswap power outage

BC Hydro restored the outage in about an hour.

Boating Safety Week a chance to take stock of hazards on Shuswap Lake

Submerged logs, cold water and intoxicated captains are all safety concerns

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Crews building structure at former Summerland train station site

West Summerland Station will pay tribute to railway history, serve as trail marker

Most Read