Having received lots of helpful advice when I posted this picture asking for help, I decided that it was about time I paid it another visit. All of the advice received had a point to it, although once I sat and studied it all it was clear that some suggestions could not happen at the same time as some others. This created another layer of problems to solve. What to do?
The first thing I decided upon was to begin glazing the background in the hope that I could calm it down a little without losing the texture and hint of some colour variety. I decided upon this as the alternative of darkening the whole background and losing all of the interest there seemed higher risk as it would a step that couldn't be reversed with any ease. The approach I selected had the benefit of being gradual and could be built upon, stopping as the desired effect was achieved.
Next I strengthened the colour in the petal that sits behind the stem but not enough to compete with the two at the front. Hopefully this gives a sense of recession.
The biggest difficulty as I saw it was getting the upright standards to read sensibly. The original photograph had the front one in shadow with a little more light on the ones behind and the way I'd painted it there was too great a value shift between them. My preference would have been to start again and leave them all nearly white with subtle shadow work to emphasise the texture and ripples but getting back to white paper on such a scale was too much to ask. So I chose to close the value gap and attempt to create a little more variation in the front standard in particular by a little judicious lifting out.
Lastly I introduced a few touches of gouache to emphasise the white edges to the falls.
There is nothing really dramatic in what I've done and I'll set it aside again to reflect on whether more surgery is required. I'd be delighted to hear what you think of the changes so far.