This doodle in oils started out as an experiment in blending thin layers of paint with a soft make-up brush. It worked quite well as a way of getting a smooth transition without brush strokes across the spheres, and the light and dark areas could be gradually pushed around. It helps to tap the end of the brush in the starting colour and then blend only one way. If you try and blend back the other way, it pollutes the opposite colour and you have to start again.
After that, the eye and ear were very loosely based on a photo reference, but the lighting and perspective had to be invented. The trouble with inventing objects is that there’s no quick way of checking if you’ve got it right. James Gurney often uses maquettes or makes a model of his imaginary scenes, and this can help solve the major lighting problems and perhaps make you aware of things you’ve missed. But I think he uses these models only as a starting point, and completes the artwork by relying on his knowledge of lighting on forms gained from many drawings from life—which is what I need to do.