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Diana Madaras, Capturing the Beauty of the Southwest

One of Tucson’s most famous artists turns brushstrokes into beautiful representations of the Sonoran Desert

Six-time winner of Best Visual Artist in Tucson, Diana Madaras captures the beauty of the southwest with each stroke of her brush. Locals and visitors appreciate her art and it is highly sought after both in her galleries and as commissioned pieces. Working mainly with acrylic and watercolor, she brings the desert to life through studying and illustrating the unique light found in the Sonoran Desert. It is the kind of light that casts shadows, illuminates individual features of an object, and creates changing forms and shapes as the sun rises and sets, turning simple objects into dynamic works of art. 


Video: Art Life: Diana Madaras

When she first came to Tucson for her graduate degree at the University of Arizona, she immediately felt at home and fell in love with the desert. It was something new and different, full of rich, southwest culture and beauty. Originally working with tropical landscapes, she began to realize the inspiration she could draw from the things in her own backyard after a client commissioned her to paint a scene featuring Finger Rock.

From the beginning of her career, she has let inspiration and curiosity drive her choice of subjects and scenes, not limiting herself or her creativity to only one theme. The result is a body of work that has refreshing diversification, yet still embodies a continuity that makes it easy to recognize a Madaras piece.

The result is a body of work that has refreshing diversification, yet still embodies a continuity that makes it easy to recognize a Madaras piece.

Sabino Canyon, Saguaro National Park, southwest architecture, and the surrounding mountains all spark her creativity. Though she creates a wide variety of pieces that showcase the Southwest, she also paints other western scenes, florals, and animals. Growing up watching her father work at a veterinary hospital, Madaras continues to generously donate to more than 100 local charities, including several that work with and care for animals. The Art for Animals Foundation is one of those organizations, created by Madaras herself in 1999, that helped fulfill her hopes of her gallery being about more than just retail space.


Art by Tucson artist Diana Madaras

The Madaras Gallery, voted Tucson’s Best Art Gallery, is home to Madaras’ work as well as several other local artists that paint and sculpt and work in a variety of mediums. Located at 3035 N Swan Rd, the gallery is open seven days a week and hosts several events, including a First Thursday at the Gallery. Original fine art is on display, but Madaras has also designed the gallery to make her art accessible to all, which is why she offers a large collection of prints and reproductions at different price points. Note cards, journals, jewelry, mugs, cutting boards, coasters, and tiles made with reproductions of Madaras’ art are just a few of the unique gifts that are available in the gallery.

Diana loves living in Tucson and experiencing the contrast of the mountains and the desert, the light, and the warmth. Her ideal week looks like painting four to five days a week in her home painting studio or getting away to a place like White Stallion Ranch to spend more significant time creating new work. When she’s not painting, she enjoys golf, ballroom dancing with her husband, and walking around her neighborhood to enjoy the beauty of Tucson. 

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