One of the things I enjoy about painting is exploring new landscapes. Placing the animals in a distinct setting gives a more rounded feeling to the whole piece.
The background is Nunivak Island, Alaska. It is off the southwestern coast of Alaska and is the second largest island in the Bering Sea. The geology is rather interesting with cinder cones and small shield volcanoes though some geologists argue the small alkali basalt cones with steep flanks and summit craters more closely resemble small stratavolcanoes.
I like to get a feeling for the geology of a place before I start a painting. Certainly wouldn't want to paint a granodioritic rock where alkalic basalt and pahoehoe lava is dominant!