Hi Katrina! I think you did a stellar job, well done!
Regarding the path, there are a couple of reasons it feels like it is blending into the sides of the road :
– First, you used swooping strokes to paint it, which makes it look like it is dipping rather than flat, and makes it look like it is slopping up on the sides to meet the forest. What would help is if you used straight strokes, and kept curving ones for the sides of the road. That way, you create a contrast between the sides of the road and the path by using different lines. Does that make sense?
– Secondly, your path is the same value as the forest around it which makes it difficult for the eye to distinguish them. If you look at the reference, or at my final painting, the right side is darker than most of the path, and the left side is brighter in places. You could add some dark green on top of your left bushes, and a few dabs of yellowish white to the forest floor on the left, it might help add distinction.
Overall, you did a wonderful job though, well done on keeping your darks at the back and keeping your background bright! :) I hope my comment helps a little, do let me know if you don’t understand what I mean or have any other questions :)