The first thing I do when starting a new painting project is to eliminate the "white blank canvas". I usually paint the canvas with a warm color - orange if my favorite. When I do start to paint - it feels like I'm just I'm jumping in where I left off - doesn't feel like a newbie!
I never use red for the background - I save the red to use in the painting, for drama. And never yellow for the background - I will only use yellow in the painting only if the subject actually is yellow, like a flower petal.
I remember as a kid, sitting at the linoleum kitchen set, after dinner, with my coloring papers and crayons. When ever I colored with the yellow crayon, I could not see the color under the artificial kitchen lights. I stopped using the yellow crayon - I think that's why, even today, I never chose yellow.
I want to see all the colors - all the time!