Postlude: WWII Raider Reunion & Unveiling

Mardie was privileged to attend this year's U.S. Marine Raiders Reunion (August 6th-10th) held near the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego.  Mardie joined nineteen WWII Raider veterans, other retired and active Marines, family and friends as they shared stories, visited a local U.S. Marine history museum and Naval base, and attended a graduation where 306 young men were officially deemed 'Marines' after completing one of the most rigorous thirteen week courses in the world.

The reunion was concluded with a banquet dinner, with a keynote speech by MarSOC Commander Maj.Gen. Joseph L. Osterman. During his inspiring remarks, Maj.Gen. Osterman read a poignant and timely proclamation by current Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos. In the proclamation, Cmdt Amos declared that the title 'Raider' is now officially and formally aligned with today's MarSOC Marines; a move that honors those that fought so bravely in WWII, and represents a carrying of the heritage created by those men.

A highlight of the event was the reveal of 'Soul of the Forward and Faithful'. The design and finished bronze maquette was warmly received, and Mardie spent the evening speaking to many excited people about what the sculpture meant to them.

Artist Mardie Rees Set to Unveil Latest Commissioned Sculpture

The larger-than-life sculpture of a beloved teacher and his dog will be installed in British Columbia, Canada

GIG HARBOR, Wash., Oct. 23, 2013 – Internationally acclaimed figurative sculptor Mardie Rees, will be unveiling her 1,000-pound, 8-foot tall, bronze sculpture of C.W. Lonsdale, founder of the elite Shawnigan Lake School in British Columbia.

The sculpture, comprised of Mr. Lonsdale and his German shepherd, will be unveiled on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. at the main entrance of Shawnigan Lake School in British Columbia, Canada. For more information, visit

Crafting the sculpture has been a 4-year undertaking with Rees using live male models with Lonsdale’s physique, photographs of Lonsdale, a suit from the 1930’s, and a German shepherd with period-specific anatomy. Documentation of the entire process can be found on Rees’ blog.

“Mardie really immersed herself in Lonsdale’s spirit. She spent time on the campus and interviewed myself and other former students,” said Stuart Milbrad, a Shawnigan Lake alumnus. “Her work is amazing and I admire her methodical approach to learning about Lonsdale--a giant of a man.” Milbrad notes the incredible likeness of the sculpture to his late mentor, teacher, and friend.

Rees is leading a revival of the intensely personal medium of figurative sculpting using wooden tools and raw earth in her hands. “I like working big,” says Rees, and explains “My work is about connecting stories, characters, and emotion to create art that people can relate to and with which they can identify.”

The 300-acre lakeside campus and Tudor style architecture will provide a spectacular backdrop for the large-scale bronze sculpture. Founded by Lonsdale in 1916, Shawnigan Lake School is a co-ed boarding school that believes in cultivating a student’s character and unique talents through instructional excellence. 

About Mardie Rees

Mardie Rees is an internationally recognized figurative sculptor based in Gig Harbor, Wash. Her work brings the classical figure into today’s context with an emphasis on emotional dialogue. The relationships between her subjects and their circumstances bring a life to her work that is tangible to its viewers. 

Mardie Rees is currently developing a WWII U.S. Marine Raider Memorial sculpture commissioned by the U.S. Marine Raiders Foundation. She is resident artist at Real Carriage Door Company. For more information on her work, visit


Open Letter to the Peninsula Gateway

My letter to the editor in response to The Peninsula Gateway's Articles (below):

"City right to move forward with pier statue" 2/14/2012

"Despite artistic differences, statue plan moves forward"  2/15/2012

How can it be called art if not created by an artist?

The age old question “What is art?” misses an important point. Better phrased, the real question is “How can you call it art if it was not created by an artist?”

No matter what the process used, a work of art either reflects the intent, technique, and abilities of the artist, or it is not art at all. Recently, the Gig Harbor Arts Commission requested that a maquette (small model) of the proposed Maritime Pier sculpture be presented to the city council. Members reviewed a model, computer-carved, from a historic photograph using 3D modeling software.  This fabrication technique does not reflect the spark of an artist.

The artistic merit of the model and the use of 3D technology in its fabrication was largely dismissed as irrelevant given that the maquette was “just the model”, and wasn’t the actual life size work.  In reality, the maquette IS the work of art and represents the artist’s vision, passion, and talent from which the larger sculpture is derived.  As a modern day traditional sculptor, I embrace technology and use it to enlarge my work and accurately preserve my original intent. But utilizing technology to replace artistic intent is akin to fraud and cannot be called real art.  The community and any donors to the project should be saddened to know that the alleged “legacy” sculpture was not sculpted at all.


Mardie Rees Gig Harbor Sculptor