I've landed on a technique that I'm really enjoying, and feel like it's finally steering me in the right direction. I hope to perhaps post some info on the process at some point, but for now just know that it's essentially the exact same thing all the good artists online always say; limit your brushes, limit your layers, etc.
I can't yet post the piece that convinced me I was onto something (due to seasonal reasons) but here's a speed painting I did using this method. It took under two hours! It could certainly be worked up even further, but I prefer it as it currently is, a statement on quickness. I'm feelin' good!