Okay, I admit that this piece is a complete failure.
The problem is that I got too carried away with fun, funky, fiddly curves before laying down the basic overall structure, then tried to fill in the structure around the fiddly stuff. Which means it just looks random and non-cohesive. My underlying inspiration was spiky, thistle-like shapes, but I whacked into it without enough of a plan.
However, bearing this in mind, the next attempt was much more successful.
Thistles! Or maybe artichokes. Certainly something to explore further.
The next failed piece was conceived as a simple interference pattern, between two center points.
The problem with this one was that when I tried to do a more complex pattern, it became completely chaotic and unmanageable, but this is TOO simple. It could have been generated by a computer with more exactitude, but it would still be boring as batshit. It's no longer reading as a 'mandala', to my mind; it looks like a smear on the wall.
However, the one useful thing I learned while drawing it is that if you subtly emphasize the intersection points by accenting and smoothing the corners, it makes the whole image much more cohesive and dynamic, as though it were made of waves on water, or stained glass. I used this effect in the next two pieces:
(And you thought the orchid was sexy...)
You may not even be able to see it in the digital image, but it is shocking how such a subtle adjustment causes the whole image to pull together and almost glow. What it seems to mean at this juncture is that I can start working with more-radical assymetries without losing grasp of the form as a whole. It also starts to make them feel slightly three-dimensional.