I started painting pansies last winter from a photo. My initial impression was how difficult flowers were going to be compared to my many foodie subjects. The reality is, it's all the same in that I approach it the same way one would eat an elephant: One bite at a time! Rather, one petal at a time. :)
I became hooked on pansies and did several studies but was limited to the one and only photo I had and superimposed pansy faces to meet my paintings needs as necessary. Frustrated because no fresh pansies were available at the time. I waited..
Once pansies hit the shelves I purchased several colors and took many (MANY) photos for my next winter paintings. Finally, I could set up my pansies in my light box and begin painting from life! Glorious, glorious painting from life! Woo hoo!
Boy-- did I have a lot to learn about pansies. Apparently a COOL weather flower, mine didn't last long because once I was done with one painting I set it in the sun to "flourish". It got leggy and awful. So I hit the stores once again only to fine out that they are sold out for the summer and wont receive anymore until Fall. So I wait again...
Fortunately, I still have my leggy, awful leftovers (now in a cooler locale) and I can set them up in my light box. And because I'm an artist, ;) I can enhance them from leggy to squat and from scraggly to abundant. I can push them and pull them and prop them and you, the viewer, will never know the difference, unless I tell you. So this is my little secret.
Don't tell anyone.