Ok... the first pick of the flower....
what is your aperture set to? It's out of focus, or soft blurred somehow. There is a bit of halo around the subject, and to me it seems like it is beyond the field of focus.
As far as color and pop, color is probably normalized from what you saw (cameras tend to do this to strike a balance) and can be fixed easily. Pop... well that's a combination of factors...Mostly lens and aperture. Blurring that background more (by using a longer focal length and wider aperture) is how most people would do it.
For this shot I would have used a 100mm macro or even my telephoto (even a cheap one would do), gotten far back and zoomed on in. I think the Pentax Kx viewfinder is pretty small, so manually focusing has got to be tough.
The second pic...
This is White Balance. Auto white balance. They key thing I see is that the whitest point is a bit on the blue side. A tell-tale sign that the camera defaulted to summer daylight white balance. My rule-of-thumb is that whenever you have something considered to be "dramatic light" turn off auto-white balance, and shoot with a preset or fixed number (helps to get comfortable with about 4 presets or numbers and know when to best use them). For a fall scene or sunset always shoot warm. In this case, I would have went with shadow or overcast preset or 5600k or above.
This is common for most cameras, even SLRs, and I have dealt with it many times with my own shots (recently this one
). Those higher-end cameras have white balance censors that help a great deal (I have one on my e30 and e5) but they still are not perfect in those extreme lighting situations.
You can go back and fix in raw, but if auto balance is off by too much, it tends to clip certain colors out of the highlights.
This is also fixable in PP on the jpeg. Just bring up color balance and turn the cyan and blue channels more towards the warm end.
Here's what I did in about a minute.
Feel free to show more examples and ask as many questions as you want. This is the best way to learn... look at all the issues with our pictures and pick apart what went wrong, what is the camera, what is the photographer, what can be done in PP, and what can be done next time.
I have a new attitude when I shoot now, strangely after reading an Ansel Adams book: Photographing in the field is collecting materials and information. The real art is how those come together on the canvas in the darkroom.