News and Information

Brea Museum Collection

Brea Museum, Jeff Cooper

A recent acquisition to the Brea Museum’s permenant collection of JoAnn Cowans’ 6’3”x4’8” Giclée Reproduction of “Derricks After the Rain” is shown above. This first “Specialty Enlargement” was donated to the museum by Jeffrey Cooper of Cooper and Brain Inc., a two-generation family owned oil company in Brea, California.

At an event in August honoring the company, Jeff Cooper accepts a plaque engraved to Cooper and Brain Inc. that features a small giclée print of the same painting.

JoAnn, an internationally known artist/historian is now specializing in these custom sized larger prints. Images include much of her other work also. They are now available nationally and may be released internationally in the future.

Note: Linda Shay, Executive Director and Curator comment:
“First, the canvas of Derricks after the Rain is AMAZING. The board was blown over, they each had to go right up to it and prove it was not an oil painting. It is phenomenal.
Again JoAnn, thank you for all your efforts. You are an incredibly talented artist and we are honored to work with you.”

JoAnn is the only artist to have won the Petroleum History Institutes prestigious “Keeper of the Flame” award.

Jeff Cooper is on the Board of Directors of CIPA, California Independent Petroleum Association.

JoAnn Cowans
Black Gold Prints



Custom Gallery and Mural* Giclée Print on Canvas

Below are photos of my first Custom Gallery and Mural* Giclée Print on Canvas.  They were taken at the frame shop that did the stretching. This Giclée is 75” tall and 56” wide. It is the first I’ve done larger than the 40 x 70” City of Night and a perfect focal point for the Brea Museum. This image has long been identified with Brea and was placed on the trail signs of the Brea Olinda Oil Museum.

Most of my images are available in these custom sizes. This print of Derricks After the Rain” is now located in the Brea Museum and Historical Society’s large first floor meeting and events room as part of their permanent collection.

For more information:

“Derricks After the Rain” can be seen at Brea’s Museum’s Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration and Open House.

“First, the canvas of Derricks after the Rain is AMAZING. The board was blown over. They each had to go right up to it and prove it was not an oil painting. It is phenomenal.

Again JoAnn, thank you for all your efforts. You are an incredibly talented artist and we are honored to work with you.”

California History as Recorded by JoAnn Cowans

Click HERE to view

City of Night

Local history buffs and art lovers

You are invited to stop by the Marina del Rey Historical Society and view the newly proofed and released print on canvas “City of Night.”  It is the size of the original 40”x70” 1962 painting by JoAnn Cowans of L.A. as seen through the Venice oil fields

This reproduction of “City of Night” now on display was commissioned by Tom Pollock of Santa Monica., a collector of Cowans’ originals in the 1960’s. It is on loan to the historical society for two months, and will be the focus of an upcoming event- the date still to be determined.

The Marina del Rey Historical Society is located at 13737 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 and is open afternoons Tuesday through Sunday. To check the hours call 1-424-391-6976.

JoAnn Cowans
Black Gold Prints

This painting can now be reproduced in custom sizes up to 56′ x 98′.

“City of Night” displayed in the museum under more subdued light 

“City of Night” being delivered to Marina Del Rey in bright sunlight   



Hughes and impacts of 60s  

While doing research on background of my artwork in the early 60s, I realized how Ken’s award of a Hughes Fellowship and our coming to California (instead of New York) impacted our lives.

Reading Ken Richardson’s book, Hughes After Howard, opened the door to a new part of Ken’s past. While Hughes Aircraft Company had changed our lives, Ken’s inventions and 16 patents in miniature cryogenic cooling during the 12 years he was there also had a large impact on the great work done at Hughes. I had not understood the depth and importance of his work*.

*Note: Most work done at Hughes while he was there (late 50’s and early 60’s) was classified. Employees did not even talk to their families about what they were doing.


Huges Retirees Association (HARA) Presents

The above Hughes Display can be seen in  Playa Vista Library Community Room through August.
Memorabilia of Hughes Aircraft and of the Society for Information Display (SID) is located in the glass cases in the main library.
Books of the stories by former Hughes employees will be displayed on tables in the community room.
We are still accepting stories to be added. Please send your story to Larry Iboshi, 714-992-2331,


San Diego Air & Space Museum

Request for information on 1935 Hughes Racer from:

Terry Brennan

Curator/Director of Restorations

San Diego Air and Space Museum

Hello JoAnn,

I read with fascination the feature, on you and your husband in the LA Times recently, and immediately thought about how close you two may be to our current restoration project here at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.  We began the project of building a museum reproduction of the 1935 Hughes Racer several years ago, although we had no plans at all and very few photographs with which to work from.  We did have a simple three view with station dimensions and that spawned the drawings we have now through  reverse engineering.  But we are still in need of more help.  I am hoping that through your husband’s connection with Hughes that he may have pictures or other pertinent information that you might be willing to share, to help us proceed.  I await your response and thank you for your consideration

Terry Brennan

more info & photos…

The Hughes event and Ken Richardson’s talk were a big success. 

From Cheri Pape of Fullerton Public Library:
“It was quite a day. Chaotic, at times, but I hope things went well for all. We had originally set up 100 chairs, but  we put out an additional 92 and still had late-comers standing along the walls and exits. I think you could easily call it 200 attendees.”

On the left, Lou Kurchien, Former Group Executive in Fullerton, talking with Charlotte and Ken Richardson. On the right is Ken Cowans, seated, talking with daughter of Jim Gudikunst, former Head of the Cryogenics Lab at Culver City and Cowans’ boss in the 60s.

Nicholas and Lee Begovich with Larry Iboshi, Event Co-chair, in front of main display case.

Article for HARA about Hughes Fullerton Event

The display ran from late January through February and drew many visitors. Feature articles in the Los Angeles Times and the Argonaut announced the event “Dedicated to all those who have worked at Hughes Aircraft and been part of that Grand Endeavor.”

The day of Ken Richardson’s excellent talk over 200 people filled the Community Room at Fullerton Public Library with others standing around the walls and in the entrance. Dr. Richardson said his talk was “much improved over what I previously did for various HARA groups…. (these had)”a series of photos that add color and meaning to the story, as well as the addition of much Howard Hughes info.”

An enthusiastic audience was asking “When is the next event?” We hope to present this format at other locations in the future.

The three-part display, was designed to be easily duplicated to show in other areas. Hughes Aircraft Culver City, was a “time capsule” based on a May 8, 1964 Hughes News. Syncom II had hovered over the city for one hour just twelve days earlier. The paper featured: a full page on Ken Cowans’ (a new HARA member) inventions in miniature cryogenic cooling*, stories on the TOW project, Dr. Harold Rosen and Don Williams award for development of Syncom communications satellite and SID (Society for Information Display).

HAC History and Management featured the dedication, Ken Richardson and his book Hughes After Howard with photos and stories taken from his book, and the Howard Hughes Sr. drill bit that made it all possibleThere was also a great photo of the helicopter assembly line found by Andre Doumitt in a Boeing dumpster.

HAC Fullerton Ground Systems featured memorabilia of Larry Iboshi, an electrical engineer who worked at that location between 1961 and 1995, primarily on sonar. A large poster shows all the systems developed there. Many local Husghesites donated or loaned memorabilia for this display. Some were shown in flat display cases with material from the library archives. Others brought HAC items for the day of Richardson’s talk. Copies of Hughes News were on display and are in the permanent collection of the Fullerton Public Library as are the stories.

The stories were wonderful! Many thanks to all of those that sent them. Stories will be made available digitally to libraries and Hughes people who request them. Thanks to Hara members Fran Dailey for donating copies of Hughes News and to Dan Ray for photos of satellite posters. Also we thank all of those who helped pass the word along.

Selected stories:

Ken Cowans, Larry Iboshi, Warren L Phillips

JoAnn Cowans

* Note: This Hughes News page can be seen on my website, http// under “Hughes Aircraft”.

More information will soon be posted on that site and here under “News & Info”

Come back soon for more about the event and photos.

Click below for Hughes Event Press:

LA Times       LA Times          item10 Arganout



New Edition: “Skyline Playa del Rey  Over the Wetlands” 1967, will soon be released.

 The original is 12×24″.Giglee prints will be that size and custom variations. For Story of painting: click here

My painting, Bastanchury Oilfields,  was on display in the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s 50th Anniversary Exhibition, September 3, 2015 through January 3,2016.  The painting represented “Black Gold” my 2003 retrospective exhibition of oilfield paintings, at the Muckenthaler.  (view painting)


JoAnn’s second book, The Marina Nobody Knows© is now being published on this website. Work has been delayed due to working on the Hughes event. It can be seen on the bottom toolbar above, (NEW).  2015 is the 50th anniversary of the opening of Marina del Rey. In honor of the event: paintings, stories, newspaper articles and unpublished color photos of the period will be added all year long.  This is a personal oddesy of the 60s.

Her first book, Black Gold® The Artwork of JoAnn Cowans can be accessed above, (“Black Gold Art Book”).

JoAnn’s painting “Donkey in Silhouette©,” is now appearing on the covers of two publication: CIPA selected this painting for the cover for their 2015 Membership Directory. It is also on the cover of the current Leben magazine, Volumn II issue 2.(shown below)

“JoAnn Cowans is internationally know as the “artist of the oilfields” for her poignant images memorializing the early oil era of which few visual reminders remain.”

The book “Hughes after Howard , The Story of Hughes Aircraft Company

by D. Kenneth Richardson ,gives the story of the rise and fall of this national treasure. It should be read by all engineers, students, managers, historians and anyone interested in seeing that era through a lens of reality.

Hughes Aircraft made LA the Silicon Valley of the Cold War and the Space Race.

It seems only fitting that now, today’s Silicon Valley businesses, Google and You Tube, are going into the original Hughes buildings where the technical groundwork was laid for their very existence.
(from The Marina Nobody Knows)

Today’s engineers, managers and others would do well to study the work of these giants of science.

For more read “Hughes Aircraft in the Cold War and the Space Race.” See Hughes Aircraft (HAC)


Old News – Archives

From the Artist

“Though many see the oil derricks and pumps as eyesores, Ms. Cowans insists they are beautiful. ‘In Brea some of the pumps are painted bright blues with bright rust colors on them and the head of the pump looks like the head of a grasshopper.’ she said. ‘They’re just terrific. Against the sky they make a beautiful compositional study.’

The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2004

Brea Canyon, CA 2005. A collector said to me “I don’t want a photograph of an oilfield. I want a painting of how the artist feels about the oilfield. It lifts the spirit.”

I hope you experience the same joy in viewing these paintings that I have found in painting them: in walking through the oil fields, absorbing the colors and textures, listening to the squeaky pumps, smelling the oil and talking with the people who work in the oil patch.

May these images create an environment that ties viewers to oil and oil history, and holds on to something that is rapidly disappearing.

May they lift your spirit.

JoAnn Cowans


City of Night, 1962, 40″x70″

The above painting, “City of Night“, is available in Limited Edition Giclée prints on canvas. The edition has two sizes: 40″ x 70″ (size of original oil painting) and 24″x 42”. Custom sizes are available. “City of Night” is a view of Los Angeles seen from the Venice Oil Fields in 1962.

Selected Press

  • “Industry Digest”, The American Oil and Gas Reporter, June 2006
  • “Oilfield Artist on Exhibit”, The Petroleum Age, March 2006
  • “Well, Well, Oil Rigs Return”, Los Angeles Times, November , 2005
  • “Oil Rigs of Brea Canyon,” The Petroleum Age, June 2005
  • “Painting California in Oil,” American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 2004
  • “California Oil Firms Try Camouflage,” The Wall Street Journal (Print Edition), February 25, 2004
  • “California Oils, the Oil Field Art of JoAnn Cowans,” The Petroleum Age, Summer 2004
  • “Painting California Oil”, America’s Independent, The Official Publication of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, Nov/Dec 2004
  • “The Artist Who Paints California in Oils,” Upstream International Oil and Gas Newspaper, September 12 ,2003

Selected Collections

  • California Independent Petroleum Association, Sacramento, CA
  • The American Oil and Gas Reporter, Derby, KS
  • Transamerica Minerals Company, Los Angeles CA
  • Brea Museum and Heritage Center, Brea, CA
  • Congressman Ed Royce, Fullerton, CA
  • El Dorado Exploration, Irvine, CA
  • Southwest Minerals, Durango, CO
  • American Oil & Gas Historical Society, Washington DC
  • Reed Hycalog , Inc., Houston, TX
  • City of Lagos de Moreno, Mexico
  • Pacific Wealth Management, Orange, CA

Selected Exhibitions

  • “Black Gold by JoAnn Cowans”, International Oil History Symposium, Wichita, Kansas, April 2006
  • “Oil Fields Plein Air”, Brea Heritage Museum, Brea, California, 2005
  • “Contemporary Fine Art Exhibition”, Millard Sheets Gallery, Pomona, CA, 2004
  • “Black Gold in California: Oil Field Paintings”, The Muckenthaler, Fullerton, CA, 2003
  • “Studies of Sunlight and Shadow”, Featured Artist, City of Brea Art Museum, Brea ,CA ,2003
  • “California Plein Air Paintings”, City of Brea Art Museum, Brea, CA, 2002