Okay this sounds weird. But as I refinish wood and decorate it with a new finish I feel the wood, and I imagine what the life of the wood has been like. What kind of tree did it come from? Was this the first purpose for the wood or was it something else prior.
I sometimes paint wood to look like it has been outside and repainted many times. It is a finish that many people here in the southwest enjoy. There are many techniques that create this type of finish. But the most important thing to bring is an open mind. There is no such thing as a mistake with this finish. Because everything can be altered which can enhance the final product.
I use block aging which is using two small blocks of wood, one as a palate and one as brush. By getting paint on the block you are using as a brush gently drag it on the wood you are wanting to finish. The wood will get blobs and streaks of paint. Use a few different colors.... it is fun. For a different texture use a dry paint brush and dip just the tip of it into paint. Then drag the brush on the wood. It will come out dotted. We call this dry brushing. After paint is thoroughly dry sand where you want the finish to be more subtile. When I feel I have the desired look I add a paste wax over the top. I use wax with a brown tint. This acts like a glaze and helps to bring all the colors and the wood into one finish. After the wax dries I buff it with a clean rag and viola you have a spectacular piece of wood that has many stories to tell.