I plan to paint this much larger but wanted to work out color and composition on a smaller scale. I actually did this as part of my demo for my painting students today, I often bring in my own work and use live examples as demos. The challenge with this one is to keep the shadow area in the foreground interesting, the figures take care of that issue quite nicely.
One of my students had an excellent question, she asked about the light in the middle ground and whether or not making it light would make it come forward too much. The foreground is not always the lightest part of an image, nor does it have to be, it’s unwise to think of guidelines as strict rules with no exceptions, in this case the strongest light is not in the foreground. The light cutting into the foreground shadow, is interesting compositionally and back lights the figures in a very dramatic fashion. Dulling that light down would be a mistake in my opinion, instead, I’ve used it to emphasize the motion of the figures and to divide the composition. Always try to look for ways to make things that are a challenge work, emphasize the exceptional qualities in an image rather than trying to make them work according to convention.