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In 1976, Zoë was living in the Florida Keys. She got word that a friend of hers had moved to the Appalachian Mountains to find life and love, but instead found isolation and a horrible man. Zoë decided to head north and spend a week with Kathleen, hoping to convince her to leave and come back with her to Florida.

Kathleen contacted me and described that week while Zoë drew the Goldminer. She said Zoë would explain in great detail the densities of the lead in each of her pencils and how it would translate to a different shade of gray. Zoë sat at a big empty cable spool turned on its side while she drew on top of it, her face very close to the paper as she made her pencil marks. Kathleen depicted a scene with Zoë drawing at the front door, a cool breeze blowing her hair, and an orange sky in the background, fading into the rolling hillsides swept with tall grass.

Kathleen mentioned that the reflection in the gold pan was added only at the very end, after a long period of Zoë staring at the piece in silence. I can’t help but think that Zoë felt she needed something more… something more compelling to convince Kathleen to come back to Florida. To show Kathleen that there is no gold to be found in a bed of thorns.

At the end of the week, Kathleen went back with Zoë to Florida.