I came across this article in Photoshop User Magazine by Bryan Oneil Hughes about creating a painterly effect in Adobe Camera Raw. We all know the develop module in LR3 is essentially the same thing as Adobe Camera Raw so why not try it. Bryan suggests maxing out the noise reduction in camera raw, which is the detail section under the Develop Module in LR3.
That makes sense, as we all know more noise control reduces detail. He also says to pull down the Luminance detail slider to get the effect and look your looking for. Additional steps suggested by Bryan are to over pop the warming in white balance and saturation. So I tried that on this image and, the first pass out of the oven, I didn’t like. Even thought I had maxed the noise control there still seemed to be too much detail.
I recall seeing another tutorial somewhere where the idea was to reduce clarity, and use that as a skin-smoothing alternative with a selective brush. So I thought why not try that here, and I liked the effect I was getting. I then used the selective brush with exposure brightness and sat control to detail the image to my liking.
So if the first pass doesn’t work then try using the clarity control and reduce it to remove detail. You can then apply an ungodly amount of presets to take it to the next level but I was pleased with this result as it looked like a chalk drawing even though it was actually a painting on a textured wall.