City of Night

Oil derricks against a night sky with the light of California reflecting from the clouds. This sight thrilled me in the early 60s as I painted the disappearing Venice oil fields and the construction of Marina del Rey. It was a major part of my 1962 one-artist show, By the Speedway’s End: a Record on Canvas of Time and Change.

            I came to California from North Carolina and fell in love with the Venice skyline. There were rows of derricks along the beach. They looked like wonderful abstract sculptures. I spent the next few years painting the area, listening to the squeaky pumps and talking with residents and workmen. Then – as now – I drew on different painting techniques to show the many moods and facets of the subject.

Although my work ranges from abstraction to portraiture, the California landscape has me captivated. The golden light, a million shades of green, and an infinite variety of scene is unparalleled. But I am continually drawn back to these man-made structures…each with a character and setting of its own.

                                                                                       “Black Gold® the artwork of JoAnn Cowans”