It sounds like, barring further enlightenment, I will be unable to recreate the effects at will (and they are different effects for the different photos).
I first came across David Hockney's ideas about Renaissance masters making full use of mirrors and lenses to add verisimilitude to their paintings, a few years ago on a TV program.
I found his ideas and evidence for
them very convincing. In those days there was not the dichotomy and schism between the arts and the sciences that exist today.
Why would you not
use lenses and mirrors to help create a more realistic effect, if the technology was new, cutting edge and available?
But in answer to Lisa's question, I'm afraid I'm going to be practical and boring. Photographs sometimes remind us of paintings for the same reason that paintings sometimes remind us of photographs. In short, one
takes on to some degree the characteristics of the other.
It doesn't have to be like the other in all respects. There just has to be something about it which is unphotographic (in the case of the photograph looking like a painting) or 'photographic' (in the case of the painting looking like a photo).
Generally, any painting that pays special attention to accurate perspective, fine detail and realistic proportions and color, will be considered photographic.
Any photograph that blurs or distorts definition, exaggerates color and 'looks' a bit of a mess , will generally take on a painterly effect.
Here's an example of my own, hanging on my wall at home, which some visitors have automatically commented, 'How like a painting.'
I presume they mean that the drifting mist is more redolent of a painting than a photograph, yet the surrounding bushes and trees are quite photographic.
By the way, this is the tallest waterfall in Australia, Wallaman Falls in Northern Queensland.