Painting Last Wave: A CHAT WITH DAVID COLWELL

When we decided to cast ‘Last Wave’ we knew it would be something special and we would be challenged already on our second model on our vision of Nordlys. You might have read, but we wanted to do a couple of things on all releases. One, work primarily with Nordic artists and, two, release at least two versions (a BoxArt and a BizArt) on every release. This would be challenging with this release for sure. Because which painter could do this justice and whose style would fit it. Being fans of many painters worldwide we quickly discussed who would have been good, and decided to ask David. David just so happens to be one of the world’s best miniature painters (everything is relative, but hardly this). And his style is pretty unique in our hobby. He paints really neatly, with great contrast and a simplistic but bold expression. He is good with details and good with catching the expression of the model and put it into a context that makes the model seem part of a larger world. When asked David said: Yes, but only if I can paint it the way I want. And yes, David absolutely could. We had a chat with David about the experience of painting him. We asked David why he wanted to paint this and he said: ‘I am very picky when selecting models for commissions lately because I only accept models that I really love the look of and want to paint myself, and as soon as I saw this I thought ‘I have to paint that!’. 

We asked then if the idea of how to paint him came directly to him, and if he thought about story or aesthetics first. ‘When I first see a model there are usually a few different ways for me to react. The best is when I see it and instantly have an idea of a story and setting. The second is seeing a model and wanting to paint it because I like the model and think it can turn into something cool, just not sure what straight away. Sometimes you buy the model and an idea takes time to form. When I really like a model but have to force a story unto it I find I have less of a success with it. Thankfully in this case it was the former, and the idea and color scheme pretty much popped into my mind when I saw it. It wasn’t a story that formed, but more a place where the story could blossom. I hope I pulled it off, even though it is a minimalistic setting where base is as cast and nothing else.’ 

There is no doubt David achieved it perfectly, and the setting is absolutely amazing. We definitely like the feel of the model and the fact that the story is not obvious, but everyone still sees some kind of larger world when looking at the pictures, even though the setting itself (base) is pretty minimal. We asked David some more about the background. 

‘For me I think the story you want to convey is just as important, if not more so, than the finished paint job. I always think a good idea, emotional painting and scene creation trumps technical perfection, but when both are combined is when the most memorable paintjobs happen.’

 In retrospect

David continues: ‘So I got some excellent advice from my friend Josua Lai that rang true with this model. I had always considered the story without consciously thinking ‘what is the story’. So before I even realized it was a good idea to put a story to a model I was thinking about what happened to the character, what enemies he faces and why they are fighting and most importantly where they are. So with this it was never really ‘what is the story’. But Josuas advice helped me structure those thoughts with this piece, and I hope it shows. I now believe that doing these things for every single model is important. It captures the emotion of a model when you are constantly repeating emotions whilst painting for hours. Like, this facial expression is the main focus point for me as it carries that emotion, and therefore less emphasis is put on the spear. In my mind I heard Roooaaaarrr all through painting it.’

We think you will agree that David has done an amazing job, even though we know that parts of this was tough as well. But maybe this is what the model portrays. A tough situation. And a fight nearing an end. We love how it is so powerful and the answers given underlines this bit. It does not need a clear story to work, although I have several in my mind when seeing the final model. It has been an absolute honor to have David paint it and we are just in awe of the result. Just look at that model on the turntable in all its glory. Jaw dropped.

First Painting of Last Wave

For us, David’s first paint job is everything we imagined – and more. It is crisp, moody, stylish and tells a larger story without being too specific. And it just looks downright cool. We are happy to say more versions are underway, and our very own Mads Seit Jespersen has agreed to paint a BizArt of this. Mads’ style is equally strong and powerful and rich in storytelling, and being a BizArt, it is literally a bit hard to wait to see the incredible version he will do. But wait, there’s more: Patric Putte has agreed once again to paint a BizArt version, and his style will fit this perfectly. We have not been able to get him to lift the veil on what he will do, but the paint job, it goes without saying, will be an absolute stunner. 

What will you make of him? We hope you will set your own version free, and please don’t forget to share him with us. The greatest bit about our little hobby-shop is seeing your wonderful creations. Happy painting!