On my website there is a picture - "art4_wood dc200" - on the Artwork 4 page. This is based on an interesting photograph by a member of the DPReview Retouching Forum and at their request I offered some help on the approach I took. I am very happy to reproduce this here (with one or two changes) -
"OK, technique. The first thing is that I cannot give you a simple sequence of buttons to press because I can't remember everything I have done to finish the picture and because it isn't simple. It is organic - one change may suggest another and there is a lot hand painting going into the picture along side the use of filters.
But I'll tell you what I can. First, in this particular case the photo interested me because of the overwhelming greens in it. Landscape greens are traditionally very tricky in painting and I thought it really would be a challenge to see if I could get an image I liked with that amount of green as the starting point.
I work principally in PS CS and first I tried simplifying with buZZ (SimplifierOne) and putting on a light Watercolour filter to see if that had any potential. It didn't work for me - one of the great things in the photo is the detail in the building and foreground and using a loose watercolour approach, I lost this. I tried adding a pencil outline created in buZZ (SimplifierOne and Edges Mono) but because the original image was low resolution, the effect was too pixelated.
So I tried a different approach. I went into clone mode in Painter 8 and tried some watercolour brushes, cloning from the original photo (not a simplified version of it). This didn't do it for me either because the detail was lost. So I tried some oil brushes. I think I finally settled on a customised Oil Bristle brush, used at different sizes, to taste, I used a Wacom 6x8 digital Intuous 2 pad and pen tool to create the oil painting marks. This is hand painting and not automated. I wanted to pull in more detail so I think I may have subtly introduced a little straight cloner here and there to highlight detail as I went.
Then I took the Painter 8 clone copy into a new layer above my (Cassandra's) original photo in PS CS. I wasn't happy about all that green tree foliage - it was too much for me - so I decided to lose it in favour of a a low moody sky. This invloved a lot of selecting and hand painting. I tried using a bit more neutral colours for the sky (usual greys etc) but it didn't seem to work as well as the green so I stuck with the green theme (I am normally very wary of mono colour themed pictures which have a habit of looking nasty). I tried a number of invented hand painted cloud and hill patterns till I eventually got one I liked. I wanted a little more bite in the sky so selected it and filtered it very lightly with the Watercolour filter (fading it quite a lot).
After this I added a little saturated colour to the two pink/orange flowers and added in some more yellow flowers by the stream. Then (after looking more closely at the original when I couldn't understand the angle of the righthand doorway!) I realized that I hadn't needed to extend the roof of the main building after all (I thought it was covered up by the tree foliage and that there was just one building not two!). I looked at it more carefully and saw that there were two buildings so I re-did the roofs. Finally I think I may have added a little Unsharp Mask to the whole image and lifted the contrast a little at points of interest.
Hope that is of interest. I can't remember the exact value settings in PS and CS - I never stick to them myself; I let my eye guide me. I am certainly no PS expert and am discovering new things about it all the time."