Thank you Ann.
The purpose of that second step is to make whatever contrast/texture more usable in the final photo. That strip of green was cropped; you won't find it there.
Yes, it is water colorish; that is something that I prefer, particularly in my modified southwestern photos. In line with that preference, I am learning to do Chinese brush painting techniques, using paint, brushes and paper. I have some photos that I've modified that have resulted in appearing like they are Chinese brush painted.