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

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

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

Interior Health and School District 83 are responding to a confirmed COVID-19 exposure at the Salmon Arm Secondary Sullivan campus. (File photo)
COVID-19 virus returns to Salmon Arm Secondary campus

Member of Sullivan campus tests positive for COVID-19

A member of the M.V. Beattie Elementary School community tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement issued Jan. 17, 2021. (photo submitted)
COVID-19 exposure at Enderby elementary

Member of school community tests positive for virus

Bastion Elementary was open Monday, Jan. 17, after one case of COVID-19 was confirmed among the school community. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
COVID-19 case confirmed at second Salmon Arm elementary school

Member of Bastion Elementary community self-isolating, students allowed to attend school

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

This is the location, 3240 Skaha Lake Road, of where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new BC Housing project

‘Penticton already has its fair share’ of BC Housing projects

Interior Health declared the COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place long term care home over Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place care home declared over

‘This has been one of our most challenging outbreaks so far,’ says chief medical health officer

Penticton Bylaw officer Glenn Smith, as well as resident Zak Laycock (not pictured), received the Governor General Award from the Royal Canadian Humane Association to recognize their heroism in a summer 2019 incident. (Contributed)
Bylaw officer and Penticton resident given awards for intervening in sexual assault

Bylaw officer Glenn Smith said he was simply in the right place at the right time

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

Hillview Elementary students Emma Li and Mina Nadeau were awarded by the Premier’s office for winning the annual holiday card contest. (Karen Rogers photo)
North Okanagan students’ art featured on Premier’s cards

Hillview youth chosen for annual holiday card contest

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

Most Read