I couldn't resist these 4X4 canvases with a deep edge so I bought them for a project with my students. After searching for a little inspiration I decided to try a single image with a bold color for the background.
Then I painted the subject and left the white areas alone - using the canvas itself as the white. I let this dry before I added the background color.
The background should be a compliment to the color of the subject - for example a yellow lion would look great with a purple background, Orange butterfly, blue background. Reinforce complimentary colors.