Still life painting - Lyubena Fox -
Lyubena Fox, "The Nest," 2018, oil on canvas, 35 x 45 cm, Winner of the ARC Staff Award in the ARC Salon 2019-2020

Contemporary realist Lyubena Fox shares her inspiration for the symbols found in her representational still life painting, “The Nest.” We first discovered Fox’s work through the Plein Air Salon, in which her painting “The Traveler’s Desk” won in the “Best Artist Under 30” category.

Lyubena Fox on Her Still Life Painting, “The Nest”

In “The Nest,” nature is put in a theatrical setting in order to highlight her beauty. The nest full of eggs symbolizes the fragility of new life, while the bird represents the figure of the protector who gives warmth and hope for the future.

The soap bubbles contribute as a symbol of the ephemeral nature of life. The whole outlook and message is to enjoy nature, but with a tender care because, like the soap bubble, we can ruin it with one touch.

The final motif is the yellow snail symbolizing the circle of life; the humility and respect with which we must treat nature and life.

Details of the still life painting “The Nest”

Still life painting - Lyubena Fox - Still life painting - Lyubena Fox - Still life painting - Lyubena Fox - Still life painting - Lyubena Fox - Still life painting - Lyubena Fox -

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Why should a contemporary realist enter the Plein Air Salon?

Because this art contest is created by Plein Air magazine, which features not only plein air paintings, but also studio paintings, all types of paintings are eligible and do not need to have been completed in plein air, but should originate from a plein air study or plein air experience. As we know, many studio paintings start with plein air sketches. Our interest is in rewarding great paintings.

The Plein Air Salon awards $33,000 in CASH each year! Learn more at, and enter your best work for your chance to win this art competition. Enter now – the next deadline is coming soon!

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If you’ve never entered, it only takes a couple of minutes to create your own account. Once you do that, just upload the images of your best work and select the categories you wish to enter – very manageable to do!

All of our awards are CASH, with the grand prize winner getting called up on stage at the Convention & Expo to claim their check for $15,000. That grand prize winner will also have their winning painting featured on the cover of Plein Air magazine (can it get any better?).

There are smaller cash awards, too, and you can find out all about them here. Remember, even if a previous judge did not select your painting, our current judge just might find it to be a winner!

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