Artist JoAnn Cowans’ picture in Atlantic Christian College’s 1955 yearbook, “The Pine Knot.”
Distinguished Atlantic Christian College alumna JoAnn Cowans has generously donated an inscribed copy of her latest volume of artwork, Black Gold, to Hackney Library. Ms. Cowans is internationally known for her oilfield paintings. She is the only artist to have received the prestigious “Keeper of the Flame Award” from the Petroleum History Institute. In addition to her paintings of the oil fields, Ms. Cowans has created landscape and still life oil paintings that hang in museums and galleries around the world.
Ms. Cowans, class of 1955, was the first four-year art major to graduate from Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College). While at AC, she served as Editor and Art Editor for the Pine Knot; Page Editor for the Collegiate; Vice-President of Stage and Script, the drama club; and was a member of Sigma Pi Alpha and Sigma Tau Chi sororities.
JoAnn Cowans’ painting “Evening, Brea Canyon,” featured in her volume “Black Gold”
She left North Carolina for California in the early 1960s, and writes in the introduction to Black Gold that she, “…fell in love with the Venice [California] 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.”
“The Road (to the oil fields),” another of Cowans’ paintings featured in “Black Gold”
Black Gold covers the period 1960 to 2009, and includes reproductions of her paintings of the oil fields, the Venice countryside, and landscapes and still life of Orange County, California. Each reproduction is accompanied by her reflections on the subject, its significance, and the creative process drawn from “old diaries, paintings, and sketches while writing.”
This beautiful volume, with its gracious inscription, “To Barton College, With fond memories of my days at Atlantic Christian,” is on display at Hackney Library, along with photographs of Ms. Cowans during her time here. When you have a moment, we encourage you to come by Hackney Library to view this wonderful display.