This was also an experiment in terms of ground for the painting. I used a watercolor block for this. I was pleasantly surprised at how even a lighter weight paper (in this case 140 lb paper) didn't buckle. I'll definately continue to utilize watercolor blocks, particularly for on location paintings.
I decided to leave the foreground as is for now - time will tell. In some ways I like it better, but I think it creates a weaker composition... Need to give it time.