The “Zoë” Chapter

The “Zoë” Chapter

Zoë was born and raised on the outskirts of London where green rolling fields extend beyond the horizon. She was born to Jimmy Payne and Lucy Stevens on May 11th, 1956 in Amersham, England. She was the youngest of three siblings, the eldest of whom passed away during labor.

Jimmy was a pilot for British Airways and with that came a lifetime of travel. The Paynes left behind thousands of picture slides depicting them in all manners of exploration, from a posh Safari in Tanzania to a casual saunter in front of the Taj Mahal.

Zoë’s impressive talent for drawing is unmistakable. She attended multiple art colleges, not to learn, but to use their facilities and get discounts on pencils and supplies. The teachers would ask her to explain her unique style to the class. Despite her universally accepted talent, Zoë rarely sold any of her work. On occasion she was paid for a commission, but she absolutely despised the act of drawing for money.

Early on, she was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease that can be excruciatingly painful and potentially deadly. It would force her to take a lot of bed rest and frequent doctor’s offices.

Her love and connection to animals was almost spooky. She could hold her finger out and hummingbirds would land on her. At garage sales, she got our three- legged cat “Toughy the Tripod,” a cage full of ring- neck doves, and a parrot, among other things. I’ve heard stories of her knack for taming wild horses. So it’s no surprise why animals are a central theme in her art.

Zoë was intensely spiritual and believed in a higher power. She also believed in the very dark sides of life, and depression would plague her until her death. Her art rarely shows a distinct sense of elation, but instead leaves you with a thought that there might be something else, something hidden, that is a little more sinister.