Patchwork is not necessarily an end it itself. Also, patchwork can be a very creative background.
This doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Also Valerie has a variety of quits made often with applique work, that have a pieced background. It is also a great way to use up your scrap stash.
Traditional and Modern
You can think about using some traditional blocks such as Log Cabin, or be more creative with some woven strips. Also you can create a shaded landscape style background with simple strips to which you could add wavy lines rather than straight.