On the Elma High School gym floor, the faint outline of an eagle grows feathers and talons under the deft hand of Tom Bogle. What was once a mere sketch, has become the EHS eagle mascot — its claws about to grasp a banner touting “The Home of the Eagles.”
Bogle, an art teacher at Meridian Middle School in Kent, Wash., spends his summers painting school mascots across the state. Some mascots emblazon gym floors and some adorn school hallways as wall graphics. The most difficult one, Bogle said, was a kangaroo, as it is difficult to make a kangaroo look ferocious. But some mascots, Bogel added, are not meant to be aggressive combatants — even the cobra. The cobra sports a goofy grin because it is the mascot at an elementary school.
Last year, Bogle completed about 20 mascots during the summer months. This year, he is taking it easy and is only doing about half that number. Taking it easy means three days of solid work, in a high school gym, breathing in paint fumes. Depending on the complexity, it may even take a week of painting to complete a gym floor.
The work is completed in layers, with an airbrush. First, as with all painting jobs, the prep work. Taping out the design, laying stencils and covering bits that shouldn’t get paint on them. Next, the sketch, then the outline in black. Colors are added. Highlights and shadows add dimension and texture. Soon, the eagle becomes lifelike. From atop a ladder, the fierce eyes stare back, golden wings outstretched and claws clutching. The screech and the whoosh of wings can almost be heard.
Bogle said he submitted three sketches to Elma High School officials, and with their input, developed the current design.
“I did the previous eagle. It was carrying a basketball in its talons, and it was really great for the basketball team. But there are volleyball players and wrestlers who didn’t necessarily feel connected to that eagle. This one has more universal appeal,” Bogle said.
Bogle said the excitement from the school administrators spurred him along, and their enthusiasm for his work was gratifying.
The eagle was to be completed Sunday morning, with work beginning on Friday evening; however Bogle finished his work early Saturday evening.