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