So after spending all day trying (and failing) to get a decent paint out, I just fell back into the old photo mashing technique to make sure today wasn't totally fruitless. It essentially was, though. I'm really struggling to get this idea out visually, I think I may need to do some more research tomorrow to help clear the mental fog.
A very "meh" set of mash-ups but hey, it's experimentation, at least I'm getting some ideas out. I tried a lighter setting, and to be honest I'm liking it. The ship stands out as something that shouldn't be there, and doesn't blend in as much as in the darker scenarios.