2019 Annual Show at Madaras Gallery; Spirt Animals

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May 30, 2019
  Press Release
Contact: Kiley Kennedy
Deep Connection Leads Madaras to Spirit Animals:
2019 Annual Show at Madaras Gallery
(Tucson, AZ – June 1, 2019)
A deep connection to animals, along with the influence of John Nieto’s fauvist wolves and coyotes, has inspired Diana Madaras’ evocative “Spirit Animal” series. Six new Spirit Animals will be unveiled at the Anniversary Show on Sunday, October 20th, 2019 at Madaras Gallery. This fulfills Madaras’ commitment to paint 20 Spirit Animals for the Gallery’s 20-year anniversary. It is the first series Madaras has created in her 25 years at the easel.
Madaras, the daughter of a veterinarian, was raised in an apartment attached to his hospital, and was ever-present at his side. She cared for animals from a very young age. When injured or abandoned wildlife were dropped off at the hospital, her job was to nurse them back to health. “I prayed for magical powers in my hands so I could save them, but they often died.”
She decided against a career in veterinary medicine after living at the hospital. “I could not deal with the suffering I saw on a daily basis.” She found another way to help animals when she started a non-profit foundation in conjunction with the opening of Madaras Gallery 20 years ago. To date, Madaras’ Art for Animals foundation has raised more than $200,000 to help injured, ill or abandoned animals.
“I can feel the souls of the animals when I paint them,” Madaras said. “There is a certain magical moment when the animal comes to life, usually after I finish the eyes. If that does not happen, the painting goes in the reject drawer. Now I can give eternal life to the animals that I could not save as a child.”

Painting a Spirit Animal had been on Madaras’ mind ever since she visited a fellow artist in Taos who was working on a life- size wolf in his studio/barn. The idea did not fully coalesce until Madaras was surrounded by John Nieto’s paintings in her own studio where she stored Nieto’s works before hanging his show at her Gallery. “Nieto’s colorful wolves and coyotes haunted me, and inspired me to paint my own interpretation.”
Madaras had intended to paint only one Spirit Animal- a turquoise coyote with long, lanky legs and golden eyes. She chose Yupo paper as the surface to help her achieve unusual and unique watercolor effects. In order to provide contrast for the moon and stars, she painted the background black. She named the painting “Fly Me to the Moon,” honoring her wedding song, and tattooed the word “one” on the coyote’s leg to signify her closeness to animals and their oneness with the universe.
“I had no intention of doing a series,” explains Madaras, “but I enjoyed painting the coyote so much, I started a second one which was an eagle.” As she began the third, she knew she would incorporate the same 5 elements into each painting on Yupo paper: a moon, stars, a black background, a song title, and the tattoo “one.” “We have a great time with customers who come into the Gallery searching for the ‘one’ in each of the paintings,” Madaras said.
After ten Spirt Animals were completed in March of 2019, Madaras took the leap and committed to finish 20 by year-end to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Gallery. She enjoyed the process so much, she has now painted 23 in the series --and counting.
Madaras has been touched by the feedback from customers who find special meaning in the animal that resonates most with them. She is currently working on commissions for individuals who want their own particular Spirit Animal. One commission for a TCU alumnus will be the school’s mascot (a horned frog) painted as a Madaras Spirit Animal. A customer from Oregon asked to have a print of the spirit coyote rushed to her so she could take it to the hospital when she was admitted for cancer surgery.
The six new Spirit Animals that will be unveiled at the 20th Anniversary Show include: Turtle- “Happy Together”
Javelina- “Pink Cadillac”
Cow- “Blue Suede Shoes” Mountain Lion- “Bad Moon Rising” Quail- “Starry, Starry Night” Cardinal- “Red”
OPENING RECEPTION: Sunday, October 20, 2019
TIME: 11 am to 2 pm
LOCATION: Madaras Gallery 3035 N. Swan
Tucson, AZ 85718
ADMISSION: No charge
RSVP Requested: Please email ops@madaras.com or call 520-623-4000

To see more Spirit Animals, click on the Spirit Animal store on the website www.madaras.com.

To request a jpg of a particular Spirit Animal, please email kiley@madaras.com.
Kiley Kennedy, Marketing Director