The next left layer is somewhat interesting, I was using black lines but trying a little too hard to find that elusive something I wanted it to become. On the right, I tried to let go and do a bold move with a large swatch of pale teal. Didn't work.
The left layer seemed like it was starting to go somewhere. The lighter colors were effective in subduing the various shades of orange and terracottas, and toning down the wild turquoise blue hair and beard of the old man with the hooked nose. On the right, I'd reached a stage I liked. From here it was downhill as I ended up with the "finished" version above.
I am not someone who disses myself to get attention or sympathy, so that's not what I am doing here. It's my attempt to figure out why my painting took such a drastic turn into bland and uninteresting, and the fact I thought it was interesting and finished, is a conundrum. But the cool thing about painting is I can paint over something I don't like and since I still have a major learning curve I'll chalk this one up to experience.