I thought it might be an interesting excercise to record my process, so here goes...
You'll have to forgive my inadequate prose, I am by no means a good writer, but I hope you can all get something out of this regardless.
So I started with a rough idea of what I wanted to do. Some bird women. Sweet. After many a long session of thumbnailing I came up with this little ditty. More than anything I just wanted to paint some hot broads and experiment with creating patterns, so rather than include the figure of Odesseus tied to a mast, writhing in sexual frustration, I chose to keep the focus on the women and have the boat as a tiny background element.
I started with a color comp in photoshop. Just as a personal preference, I like to keep mine fairly tight to make sure the painting process goes as smooth as possible.
This helps me get a rough idea of the values and lighting before I commit to anything on paper.
After I've gessoed the paper and sprayed the drawing with some fixative, I do an acrylic wash of Phthalo blue and burnt umber.
Blocked in darks with a mixture of carmine red, brown, and black. Maybe a little bit of yellow too. I forget.
Starting to block in the feather shapes.
Starting on the background figures...
So the feathers are pretty well done at this point and the background is blocked in. Time to start on the flesh tones!
Laid the shadows in first using a mixture of carmine red, brown and black mixed generously with walnut oil. Midtones was a zinc white mixed with cadmium yellow and for the specular hilights I used the same color as the sky.
The final painting!