It took a good bit of thought and lots of trial and error (heavy on the error), before I finally got a handle on a background for this piece.
I knew I wanted it to be light and luminous, but I didn't want it to flat and plain. I ended up going with a combination of gold and bronze paints, and then gave it all a brown wash to pick up the texture of the brush strokes.
The finished piece. In the background of this photo are 2 other pieces I worked on this weekend. More on those later...