Born in Washburn, MO on March 1, 1883. Payne left home at age 14 and found work painting houses, stage sets, and signs. His travels took him through the Ozarks and into Mexico. Payne trained briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago. On his first visit to California in 1909 he spent several months painting in Laguna Beach before visiting San Francisco. While in San Francisco, he met artist Elsie Palmer whom he married in Chicago in 1912. In 1917, he returned to Glendale, CA with a commission from Chicago’s Congress Hotel for a mural of 11,000 square yards of muslin which was accomplished with the help of other local artists and installed shortly thereafter. In 1918, the Paynes established a home and studio in Laguna Beach where he organized and became the first president of the local art association. He continued painting and exhibiting in Los Angeles and Laguna until 1922 when he and Elsie began a two-year painting tour of Europe. During the next eight years their winter residence was mainly in and around NYC. They traveled from coast to coast in the U.S. until 1932 when they returned to Hollywood and the following year separated. Payne is internationally famous for his canvases depicting American Indians riding through desert canyons and landscapes of the Sierra Nevada. He produced a color motion picture called Sierra Journey. Payne Lake in the High Sierra is named for him. Payne died in Hollywood, CA on April 8, 1947.