Van Gogh is the cause of my obsession with sunflowers. I can't even remember how many of his still-life paintings I copied when I was first learning how to paint. Trying to accurately reproduce his brush strokes proved to be a very good exercise.
Anyway, I wanted to paint a purple-ish vase with this one, but I'm still too drawn to paint blue vases. I like the background, but I still gave the flowers and leaves a somewhat polished, too detailed quality. What I liked about Van Gogh the most was how raw his paintings looked. You could pretty much count his brush strokes.
There will be a time for me to paint realistically. For now, I'll keep trying to keep things loose and casual looking.