I'm not quite sure where it came from. The idea arrived, and delighted me with its silliness.
I pretty much followed my usual process on this one: drawing, reference, value studies, color studies, paint.
Line Drawing and Value Studies This time I drew on tracing paper and did minimal values with the pencil. Then I scanned it in and broadened the range of values with darker darks and a few lighter lights. I was initially thinking this would be a blue sky with puffy white clouds.
Reference Some of the reference I used for this project included shots of turtles from our local zoo (and our doctor's office of all places). I also purchased a few toy critters to hold up outside so I could see what the value relationships might look between the light shapes, dark shapes, and background.
Color studies I did a few in gouache on 300 lb watercolor paper and a few digitally. Once I got the color idea down in front of me, I decided I didn't really like the blue sky and puffy white clouds. Those colors and lighting situation didn't have much drama or story to compliment the more dramatic view of the turtles soaring overhead. I decided to experiment with sunrise or sunset colors and lighting. Perhaps they're on their way for a mission, or returning from one?
Paint Oil on oil primed linen stretched over a board with bracers on the back.