Peggy Stermer-Cox for her suggestion that the background should be more geometric on the piece that was not working. Great idea. This my experimental piece that needs repainting to be a finished piece.
I cut the paper down and changed the scene to a quarter sheet landscape orientation, rather than a half sheet portrait. I looked on the Web for blurbs about the show at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, last spring and found the Arabic symbol on the left (this is only part of it) that was their logo for the show. The other two symbols are stamps that I own and are decorative lines used in the Arab culture.
Having recently taken Gerald Brommer's class, I boldly went where I never dared before -- I gessoed out the background. I then used acrylics which are very new for me to paint in the new background, with the exception of the floor rug done in watercolor. I am much happier with the feel of this design.