I really like the effect achieved when the painting is done after the quilting - if the paint is applied with a light enough hand, it does not penetrate into the valleys created by the quilting and so the quilting becomes more prominent. Of course, painting the fabric at this point in the process takes a certain amount of bravery but I've done it enough that I'm pretty sure what the effect is going to be.
In this detail shot you can see how the paint emphasizes the quilting and also lets some of the background show through, yet is still a strong focal point.
I'm working on a much larger piece constructed in the same fashion, also painted, and still in need of a focus. Not showing that piece for several reasons, the most important is that I intend to enter it into Quilt National, and they have such stringent rules on prepublishing images of the work that I don't want to take any chances. Entries are due in early September, so I need to get back into the studio!