After sitting and looking at the piece again I decided I definitely had to tweak it a bit more in terms of the angle of the body in the composition as well as make the skull bigger on the birds body.
I drew in charcoal right on top of the previous design. I had the bird arch its head further so that it looked a bit more like it was turning around to face the viewer. I also raised the talon up a bit higher and made the skull larger and tilted at a slight angle to work well with the angle of shoulder of the wing.
Here is the small skull model I am using as a reference point for my drawing. The lighting will be different based on my knowledge of the shape, but who knows I may use this quick snapshot more than I anticipate.
I laid out the colours I intended to use for the basic filling in of the body. Cobalt and Cerulean Blue, Green and yellow, Deep, light and cadmium red and Titanium white for mixing. I blended up a 3:1 linseed oil to mineral spirits medium with one drop of cobalt drier to help speed things up a bit.
I blocked in the basic colors of the parrots body as well as the skull with some shadowing to help see the forms. I then took some burnt sienna and put in some of the background tone.
This is where I have the most fun. I use the paint tube as if it were a crayon. The lines are quick and natural and expressive. At times I wonder if this is not my true art form and that I should try to go further with it, and not try to paint things at all. That may be more ballsy that I'm ready for.
I blocked in the remaining background with Burnt Sienna right on the canvas. It really flattens the image out but once it dries there will be much more detailed work done on top. For now, it has richly colored masses to work on.