I found this painting to be a weird one as Waterhouse chose to have the value of the women's hair so close to the trees in the background but despite that it is still balanced and it works. I think the tree and the river on the left is really what balances this composition out as it draws the eye up and brings more attention to the women than the lamb.
The forms of the two bodies in this piece have alot of curves and flow really gracefully, the sun lighting the back of the girl's hair and the starkness of their skin really helps set their interaction as a focal point. The river in the back like in Waterhouse's piece also brings balance to the composition.
One of the reasons I think the composition works in this piece is because everything is at different heights. The focal points of the top left corner and the man are also very obvious due to the high contrast. Ironically I have now just noticed how the values on the man and the area around him which I painted are way too dark and he should be alot more illuminated! Opps!
What works so well about this piece to me is the strong vertical line 3/4 way through the piece. It really helps frame the piece and separate the foreground from the background. The darkness on the right pushes our eyes to the attention of the little girl and the dog.
I really like how the artist paints the skin so softly and how subtle the women's expression is, it is something I really struggled to try and capture. The artist has used the way the cloth/curtain? wraps around the women to control the composition and flow of the piece.
Really beautiful start here. You are headed in the right direction.
I shared this earlier but it applies so I will share it with you. When you get your shapes worked out well, pay very close attention to the values. You want to match the values you see as closely as you can. It is important to be very honest about what you are seeing. try to put the accurate value down with each stroke as otherwise you end up having to fix things along the way and being accurate will save you time. Really take the time to observe and compare and choose the right value. If you are off, adjust it, don't keep working and come back to it.
You are doing great...just need to focus in on value a little more.