"Country Road Take Me Home" Project Progression

How to, tutorial type progression of my "Country Road Take Me Home" photo, from start to finish. HDR, painted photo.

"Country Road Take Me Home"
This is a series of photos, showing the progression of work from taking the orignals, through processing, up to the final piece.  Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below, be patient and I will answer your questions... Thanks for looking! 
 
Photo taken on Buffalo Mountain, in the Cross Mountains, part of the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee.  Traveling  on the highway.  Beautiful views all throughout these mountains of rustic, country, farm house, type log cabins.  Processed in True HDR, giving it the textured, grainy feel.
Country road photo #1.  
Shot at normal (0) exposure compensation
Country road photo #2.
Shot at (-1 stop) exposure compensation.
Country road photo #3.
Shot at (+1 stop) exposure compensation.
Country road photo #4.
The result of merging the 3 photos shot into one photo, bringing out all the details. I use Photomatix Pro and make as much adjustments as possible in there.  As you can see, you still need to make more adjustments, so I then save it out and take it to lightroom.
Country road photo #5.
Once in Lightroom, I make all adjustments, geometric distortion, cropping, color, etc. and decide if I want to do more or if it is good as is.  With this photo, I felt like the sky was just too flat and needed more texture so I sent it to photoshop.
Country Road Photo #6.
In photoshop, I duplicated my background and added a layer in between.  The middle layer, I added cloud texture to.  I then aadded a layer mask so it would only be visible in the sky section (using the "color range" method).  I then adusted opacity and fill amounts on the top 2 layers to get this result.  Oh... and I added a hue/sat adj to get the brownish tone out of the white sky from the HDR process and I aslo added a brightnees/contrast adjustment using the mask from the cloud layer copied onto both of those layers.  I then merged all visible layers and saved out.  I do like this version,  and this could be final if I decide I dont like the painted.
Country Road Photo #7 FINAL
Back in lightroom, looking at the photo, I decided I wanted to see it as a painting so I went back to photoshop and duplicated my background layer, conveterted to an 8 bit image to be able to use the filter gallery, and I added these filters, in order:
Cutout, oil paint, angled strokes, texturizer... adjusting settings to my liking as I went.  
Then I lowered the opacity and fill in the top two layers, so the effect is not so drastic.  saved out and thats it.  
 
The finished photo.
ENJOY!
 
Photo taken on Buffalo Mountain, in the Cross Mountains, part of the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee.  Traveling  on the highway.  Beautiful views all throughout these mountains of rustic, country, farm house, type log cabins.  Processed in True HDR, giving it the textured, grainy feel.
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