We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's a photograph. Layers on layers on layers of tweaked originals, minor color adjustments, shadows/highlights and one pass through a program called Noise Ninja to reduce color noise.
The effect is rather like a painting, but it is a photograph. It's not a High Dynamic Range image, but close enough to pretend to be with all the different layering. The original was fine as it was, but the colors and details were lost - it looked rather flat so this was the approach to improve it.