No matter what anyone says...
...about the context of this piece, I believe it is still amazing. Great attention to detail, especially the glow from the fireworks in the background. A slight thought about the setting though. If fireworks are going off, it would be safe to assume that it is night. Wouldn't the snow be receiving a much higher amount of green from the lights then? Or if the moon were to be out, then it would be a bit bluer, blending into the green light. Just my thoughts on that.
There was one other thing that bothered me just a tad. Ross blends in very well. The edges where his body and clothing and the snow meet blends beautifully. That isn't what I was noticing. The left side of Nort (under the desctription that you gave, I'm going to assume that Nort is the person on the left), is kind of hard against the snow. I don't know, but it may be because the lights and darks of the brown jacket don't blend as well to the snow as Ross' white jacket. But mainly, Ross' hand holding the snowball. Hard lines. Though it contrasts itself enough from the snowy background, to pop it out, it flattens itself against the rest of the colors of that hand.
Then again, could just be me. Great piece though.
It's the other way around with names :) Like I wrote, Ross is the guy on the left, and Nort is on the right. But never mind that: yes, the hand with the snowball is a bit too rough against the snow, my bad. I used to make Photoshop drawings with a mouse for 8 years or so, cause I couldn't afford a tablet, so I got used to coloring scanned stuff (black outlines on paper). Later on about 2 or 3 years ago my very good friend gave me a Wacom as a present, and my style has changed very, very much, but I still have this bad habit of dark outlines.
As for the lights - I was afraid to give it too much color, imho it's better to keep it subtle in this case. If I made the lights more realistic, I'd have to a) give more contrast/shadows to the figures, b) consider snow a light source and direct shadows keeping that in mind (creepy lights from bottom, boo). Which would not be good for me cause I wanted to show all the details of faces and clothes plus a calm joyful peaceful atmosphere. Shadows would make it a more disturbing scene. So I figured it's best to do just a hint of real lights.
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