A flattened canvas
I like to use layers for organising my work, but prefer to drop all my layers once I’m happy with my progress and simply paint on a flat canvas. It feels a lot closer to painting traditionally, because I become more impulsive and instinctive in my approach. If changes or corrections are needed then I’ll do them directly on the canvas using the Lasso or Pen tool.
There are many ways to make your image look painterly. You could just put a texture on a new Overlay layer above it, or build a texture into your brush. I prefer working with a range of textured brushes, keeping Flow and Opacity quite low. Try using Brush mode rather then Layer mode while painting to produce some great effects.