I bought a new medium dagger brush and I think I am in love. It is synthetic and holds a lot of water and paint. I think I confused it with a cat's tongue, but so glad I did as it does a wonderful job and made the foliage so easily. So yes, the right tools do make all the difference. Don't know where I have been, but guess I need to take a harder look at brushes and see what else I should be trying.
Also I don't normally work on the focal points until the background is in. But since I have been struggling with the sky I thought adding the first poppy might help me in deciding what direction to take.
Also duh, found a new picture taking spot, lots of natural light on my front porch. Don't have to walk very far and the colors come out pretty close to reality without having to edit.