It is always difficult to get going in January, so I am going to consider the week of 12 January the first week, for this month's Image Of The Month (IOTM); unfortunately the deadline is still the end of the month.
The first week consisted of framing the shot and attempting to match the artist's 'camera' and perspective as closely as possible. I ended up cutting the people out of the original and pasting them into a single file. This allowed me to scale each person/group so they were relatively equal, which, in turn, allowed me to export the images as separate files and import them into Blender. Once their size was established, the only way to visually scale the people larger/smaller was to move them nearer/farther from the camera. This was very helpful in establishing the characters', and associated buildings/props, relative distance from the camera. Using that information, I created rough approximations of the major objects in the scene.
To the left is the scene setup. The near and far houses, church, large trees and street lamps are represented. The bridge, being a major component in the scene, has the most detail. A screen is set up to represent the background, but textures have not been applied to any items, at this point. I spent a considerable amount of time, playing with the lens position and size to perfectly match the artist. Eventually, I realized part of the beauty of art is that, although it is quite good, it is not perfect. I am mentally coming to grips with the fact that 'close enough' is the goal. :)
To the right is an initial render. You can see the images of the people that were imported to help with relative positioning. The large 'mountain' of snow' in the background is the cylinder that will eventually contain the background texture. I may use terrain and trees to form the background, but I suspect I will need at least a week tweaking the lighting and materials, leaving me very short on time for modeling. The good news is my Model Of The Week is providing good lessons, allowing me to finish early. That should free up a little extra time for this project. If I stay on schedule, the modeling will be finished by the end of this week. That will leave me a full week to tweak materials, lighting, camera and the worst modeling SNAFU's. What could possibly go wrong? :)