You've all motivated me to tiptoe into the surreal with you... or, at least the dark.
Adjustment layers, curves, color ranges - grow, similar; hue/sat; sharpen/aniso, distort-crystallize, textured...
Well done, gang! Some very creative interpretations on this one -- real and surreal.
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I thought it was especially convenient that the background sky colors were so distinct from the rest of the image. Using the Magic Wand tool (Tolerance = 24) it was easy to create a selection for the sky, which I saved as "sky" via Select > Save selection... . Then a Select > Inverse captured the tree and rest of the foreground. Using the "sky" and "everything else" selections enabled me to isolate the arty effects to the desired areas.
I started by applying Impressionist > Crayon > Short choppy strokes to the sky. This effect 'chops up' solid color areas. Then a dose of Impressionist > #djr Smudge Paint > 1D (followed by Edit > Fade and lowering the Opacity setting to back it off a little) followed by Photoshop Dry Brush (Edit > Fade) completed the sky.
The non-sky areas were done the same way, except no "choppy strokes." At this point I thought the foreground strokes looked "too detailed."
To compensate for that the background was duplicated and that layer moved to the top of the layer stack. Impressionist > #djr Smudge Paint > 2M (faded) followed by Photoshop Dry Brush (faded) were applied. After adding a hide all layer mask, the bottom of the layer was revealed by airbrushing white onto the layer mask.
If I wasn't so tired, I would open this in Painter for some brush strokes, but we'll have to live with it as is tonight.
Thanks, Mark. Great pic to work with.
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