After creating the drawing on the board and cutting down the edges, I shot several different lighting scenarios on a quick little sculpt I did of the pair.
Following those shots and my culmination of reference ranging from various antelope and deer to owls, hawks and eagles the underpainting progressed and was finished within a couple of hours at most.
Not quite my usual method but it worked nonetheless.
At this point colors are the biggest obstacle. And I've kept it no secret that I'm pretty terrible at colors. But between advice I received from Tardigrad (whose work you should definitely check out by the way) on another project and a painting I've always adored it wound up being fairly straightforward.
The painting I'm referencing is Horace Vernet's The Lion Hunt. I realize my colors are more muted than Vernet's palette but I would be remiss to not credit this work with this post.
In the end the brushstrokes just fell into place better than I could have hoped for and I'm glad whatever my style's become is finally finding a happy place.
In the end I've wound up with a piece that I have learned a lot from and that also made me remember how much I really do enjoy painting. I couldn't have asked for more.