Brian, I wouldn't even know where to start to try and duplicate the bubbles, I'm having a hard enough time just trying make it look somewhat like the painting.
What I'm hoping I can achieve is to replicate the movement and the intertwining of the Orcas and that is not going to be easy.
This is the armature I made using a combination of pipe fittings, copper tubing and bailing wire.
This shows how the 2nd whale will be attached. This will be adjusted as I progress since the whales will be touching but it gives me a perspective to work with.
I started blocking the in the clay and found I needed more support for the fluke area so I added some more bailing wire.
Its close to being blocked in, I just need to add some more clay. Once I have this done I will then start the second whale.