bird's-eye perspective looking down at black, white, and red chevron-striped carpeting, two figures are visible from the chest down

Luchita Hurtado, Untitled, 1970, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, © Luchita Hurtado, photo: Jeff McLane

Make Art @ Home—Bird's-eye View Still Life

July 2, 2020
Robben Muñoz, Teaching Artist

The LACMA team is working together from our respective homes to bring you interesting content and creative activities while the museum is temporarily closed to the public. We may not be able to gather together, but we can still create something beautiful.

I am super inspired by Luchita Hurtado’s still-life paintings, where she includes herself in her work! Instead of showing her face in some of her works, she paints her hand or foot against a brightly patterned background. You can create your own point-of-view still-life art project at home using a few simple materials, your creativity, and yourself!

Step One: Gather Your Materials.

No need to buy anything!

Look throughout your home for potential art-making supplies. (Scavenger hunt!) Tip: Notebooks and printer paper work great! Ask your adult(s) if they have paper they don’t need.


  • Paper—8.5” x 11” or larger
    The best paper for this project is blank or scrap paper. The larger, the better!
  • Something to make a mark
    Pencils, crayons, markers, pens, highlighters, pastels, etc.
  • One or two unique objects
    Find something that really stands out to you in your home. You’ll need this special object as part of your still life.
  • A brightly colored and/or patterned cloth.
    Find some fabric with a fun pattern and colors that pop. It can be a tablecloth, blanket, or should really stand out!
  • Your hands and feet!

Luchita Hurtado, Untitled, 1970, © Luchita Hurtado, photo: Jeff McLane
Luchita Hurtado, Untitled, 1970, © Luchita Hurtado, photo: Jeff McLane

Step Two: Look at Luchita Hurtado’s Art.

Take a long look at the two artworks by Hurtado. The longer you look, the more you will see!

Find the following:

  • Objects: What are the objects the artist included in her painting?
  • Pattern: What designs repeat on the fabric (stripes, squares, diamonds, flowers)?
  • Colors: What color is Hurtado using for: Hands, Feet, Objects, the Background
  • Background: Now let’s take an even closer look and compare the two artworks! What are you noticing about the backgrounds? What is similar? What is different?

See how Luchita Hurtado makes her hands, feet, and other objects in her still life stand out from the background by using a bird's-eye view? To use a bird's-eye view means to use a perspective from above.

Hurtado often worked at home and painted from everyday, yet personal or symbolic, objects she put on her kitchen table, looking down from above!

Step Three: Set up Your Hands, Feet, and Objects!

Compose your still life.
Compose your still life.

Lay down flat the patterned cloth you chose.

Then, arrange your objects on the fabric. I decided to use a quarter because it is round, has defined details, and is silver—which makes for a good contrast!

Last but not least, place your hand down! (If you can, have an adult take a phone picture of your arrangement for easy reference.)

Step Four: Draw!

Don't be afraid of color!
Don't be afraid of color!

Now it is time to draw and make your artwork! For my Hurtado-inspired picture, I decided to use blue for my hand and the quarter, making them pop against the colorful background! Make sure to completely fill in your drawing: this will make it come to life and stand out even more.

Keep layering until you feel like your art is done!

Experiment with different compositions.
Experiment with different compositions.

Here is another example, this time using my foot!

We would love to see your artwork! Have an adult post it to social media and tag it @lacma.