How do you do that? I get that a lot when people look at my abstract work. I use three methods of attachment for collage materials.
Glue- I like Yes brand. It is about the consistency of peanut butter and I apply it with a
palette knife. It is pH neutral and makes a very secure bond. Found in art supply stores.
Tacks, nails - if the support is a wood panel, I often use glue AND nails. The nails are usually
incorporated into the design.
Embedding - When I use acrylic modeling compound, I can embed anything into it before it
sets up and becomes hard. This is a good method for attaching metals to canvas, since
you cannot put nails in stretched canvas. On my website, the cover painting (Industrial
Chic) for the abstract section has aluminum pieces and little square brads that are
embedded in modeling compound on canvas.
Your comments are important to me. When I do a painting that is realistic and has a recognizable subject, I KNOW when I've nailed it. Abstract work is a whole different animal. There is no reference to guide me - it is pure creativity. The painting EMERGES from a seemingly hodge-podge bunch of materials.
I have to try many things, arrange and rearrange materials, stand back and look at it, look at it in the mirror. There are endless decisions about colors, composition and materials. It's hard to even decide when a painting is DONE!
That's why your first impression (favorable or not) about one of my abstracts is important. I want to create a painting that instantly grabs the attention of the viewer, and then rewards the viewer, on closer inspection, with surprising and interesting details.