2911 THE TREASURY

Part 3 - How I got started painting...

Codye ReysteadComment
Jason Espinoza Photography

Jason Espinoza Photography

My heart was longing to pick up the brush again. True, I had a few electives to fill in order to graduate–And yes, an art class could serve to fill one of my remaining electives. But deep down, I didn't know what to do. My heart seemed to cry out, “try again,” while my mind cried quite the opposite.

My mind was wondering how my heart could even entertain the thought of walking back in an art department again. Especially, when such darkness had met me in my past art experience. My mind was reeling. If I decided to take art again, would I be able to endure more pain and disappointment from it all? And moreover, if I took art again, would I be consciously exposing my heart to the darkness I’d been fighting so hard to forget?

So, being in a state of indecision (yet again), I chose to take a physical education “walking” class. Yeah, that’s right–all I had to do was show up and walk! Great, right?

So again, another semester passed–as I walked and thought…and thought some more…

From a place of pain and disappointment, I had learned to ignore my heart’s desire to create. In essence, I had not only learned to ignore it, but I had also trained myself to silence the yearning. I had trained my mind to push aside thoughts about painting and creating, in order to focus on other things instead. Though my heart and hands were grieving I had my mind convinced that artistry was a thing of my past–I had tried it, but it just didn’t work out.

Now, I found myself running out of time. My senior year was upon me, and I only had two electives to fill before graduation. Every week, as I walked the track in my “walking” class, my heart and mind continued to banter back and forth. My heart was pleading with my mind, “try again”–but my mind continued to firmly respond, “nope, too painful, not doing that again…”

The old familiar restlessness, of not knowing why God gave me the gift of artistry, had returned. And it seemed to have returned ten-fold…

My thoughts could find no rest–the desire to create again became relentless…

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. And I did what I had promised myself I would never do. I took off across the campus, headed straight toward the visual arts building. My mind raced. What was I doing? It was like my heart had decided to take over my body–carrying me to the very place I didn’t think I really wanted to go!

As the building got closer and closer, I kept telling myself this was a good thing. And that by doing this I would finally be able to put the past behind me. I would only take a quick look. After all, I hadn’t signed up for anything, right? I could leave at any time. It was after hours anyway, so probably very few people would be in the building. I would slip in, let my heart see that my mind was right in putting art behind me and move on before anyone even knew I was there…

But God… He knew…

In fact, He was waiting…

As I walked through the glass doors, what had been a cloudy day seemed to break wide-open with brilliant rays of light. I stepped inside just as the white expanse of the building’s foyer became bathed in a blanket of warm and inviting sunlight. It was as if the light beckoned me to come in and explore…

The beauty of the brilliant light drew my creative spirit forward. Quietly I stepped into the main foyer–suddenly aware my eyes were very hungry to see the beauty of the art and sculptures housed within the space before me.

Then, all at once, peace came. Like a mighty river it came, causing everything else to fade away. My heart and mind suddenly quieted themselves, as a sweet momentum swept into my spirit…

And, ever so gently, I heard my Beloved Creator whisper to my grieving heart, “you can do this…I’m here…and it’s going to be ok…”

In a moment, I felt His Presence come to me as kind Father. His Presence of gentle-kindness remained with me as I walked through the foyer, into the main hallway, and on into one of the many gallery exhibits. God, in all His kindness, knew this was very difficult for me…

I walked, and I looked, and I wept. I was undone–undone to feel His tangible Presence so near–undone to be surrounded now, not by darkness, but by beauty and light. My soul was hungry for beauty and my eyes hungry for light.

Suddenly, it felt as if my heart awoke again, to breath afresh…to breath deep…for the first time, in a very long time…

There was light and beauty to behold as I gazed at the rich colors and tones of the artwork around me. Lines and textures filled my eyes. Quiet beauty could be seen all around me. And my artisan soul could breathe deep again. I walked and walked, feasting on the artistry and solitude the gallery offered. My whole being quietly processing–processing with God, both the past and the future.

It was time to come back. It was time to pick up the paintbrush again…

More to come…

- Codye Reystead

How did I get started painting? Part 2

Codye ReysteadComment
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Click here for PART 1 - “How I got started painting…”

It felt as if a huge piece of my soul had suddenly been silenced. My heart was suffering. I was mourning the loss of something that had once brought such beauty and depth to my life. Grief and hopelessness made themselves known to me on a daily basis. Eventually, I slipped into survival mode; choosing to focus my time, thoughts, and energy on an entirely different career path. By staying busy, l believed I could keep my mind occupied–And my heart numb to the pain of the past.

Now, I understand the gift of artistry was woven deep into my soul by the Master Himself; however, I didn’t recognize this truth until I chose to walk away from it.

I just knew my heart was suffering and I had to find a way to shut the door on the pain–move on with my life. So I decided to literally move–hoping a new place would mean a fresh start. In my spare time, I began to look for another college–a college that would not only take the credits I had, but also offer some financial aid in the form of academic scholarships. Not far into my searching, one university came right to the forefront. A few family members had attended this particular college, and it was conveniently located several hundred miles away from where I currently lived. These two facts alone sparked my interest. So I decided to go for a tour…

I remember seeing the campus for the first time and admiring the architecture of the university’s original limestone buildings. Even though the buildings had been there for many years, they stood tall and inviting–restored and well tended. And for reasons I’m still unable to fully express, my heart and soul seemed to hear them calling.

Maybe this place could be a new beginning–a fresh start. Perhaps it could even supply some much needed beauty to my heart and soul.

I remember standing on campus, my heart still grieving from the past–And looking up at the beautiful buildings. Tall and inviting, the trees stood to host their Creator’s beauty all around me. The wind began to blow as an array of greenery filled my vision–And suddenly I felt a bit of life begin to seep back into my bones….

Even the gentle wind, blowing through the tree tops, seemed to whisper to my aching soul– “It’s going to be ok…let’s begin again…let’s begin again…”


By this point in my college career, only a few semesters were left before graduation. And I still hadn’t picked up a brush. Now my absence from the canvas was turning from a few months into a few years. But the Master Creator was slowly wooing my creative spirit back to life...

The desire to create again, had returned. The need to create quickened my soul, causing my hands to long for the paintbrush once again. The desire to return to the artistry was calling–calling so boldly it was becoming harder and harder to ignore. It was as if the canvas of my heart began to cry out again…

But as I began my last semesters of college, I didn’t know if I could answer the call…

Stay tuned–more to come….

-Codye Reystead

Question: How did I get started painting? Part 1

Codye ReysteadComment

Hello readers!

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This week has been a very busy week in the studio! In just a few short weeks I will be speaking and painting for a gathering in La Habra, California. I enjoy warm weather and palm trees so a quick trip to California this time of the year will be a blessing! Then it’s off to Winston Salem, North Carolina to paint and teach at The Breath and The Clay conference. Hopefully there will be bit of warm weather there too!

But moving on, today I wanted to answer one of the most common questions I get asked as an artist– How did I get started painting?

When I was only three or so, I drew an old pioneer wagon with horses. Looking back, this was probably the first prophetic drawing I ever did! I didn’t know it then, but “pioneering” God-driven creativity has now become a reoccurring theme in my life!

It’s been a journey…

I grew up in a household where God was known and present–a household in which He was welcomed, sought, and loved. In this environment, I grew up with a sort of “holy knowing mixed with holy restlessness” (from a very early age)–I had an innate knowing: God gave me the gift to draw and paint, and He had given it to me for a reason…

By the time I entered my teens, I was fully aware of the holy knowing and restlessness that stirred within me–And I was well aware it seemed to be getting stronger with every passing day…

Holy restlessness can make a soul a bit stir crazy. So out of the need to do something, I focused this holy restlessness towards honing my artistry. I signed up for all the art classes I could in high school, and spent time drawing and painting outside of school as well.

By the time college came, I had honed my artistry enough to receive an art scholarship from a well known and prestigious university. I still didn’t really know what I was to do with my artistic gift, but I figured getting an art degree only made sense. It must be the next step, right?

So I went to college on an art scholarship. However, after attending classes for a semester I found myself surrounded by darkness–a darkness that was evident both in the art being produced and the art department I was involved in. Even the creative arts building seemed to host a sense of foreboding darkness.

It went against everything in me–to use my artistic gift to create such darkness, depression, pain, hopelessness, emotional anguish, etc. in my work–and promoting the darkness was an unspoken, yet evident requirement in the classes I was taking. I had always wanted to produce images that were life-giving not life-taking. So it was extremely difficult (even painful), to find myself thrust into this very dark creative environment. An environment in which I was expected to create and produce more darkness.

I remember leaving for Christmas break with deep depression beginning to attack my soul. My hands felt dark and tainted. It was as if a black, tacky-tar like substance had been poured all over my hands–carrying with it despair, hopelessness, and depression. But worst of all, this darkness was slowly trying making its way to my heart…

Because the heart and the hands…they’re connected…

Artists are deep souls. We feel deep. We live deep. We love deep. And we really know no other way to be. Deep waters seem to be woven into our very DNA. So when I found myself in a creative environment filled with such darkness, I found and my soul fighting a depth of depression I had never known.

I couldn't do it anymore…

So I turned my back on art and changed my major all together. I was done. Turning in my final projects, I walked out of the art department for good. I remember looking up at the three story windows, positioned at the entrance of the art building. Just months earlier I had walked in the same building with such excitement–excitement to hone the gift God had given me and cultivate my artistry. But now, a semester later, I walked through the same doors–my heart wreaked and my spirit bleeding…

I was broken. Disappointment choked my soul. Grief and sorrow overwhelmed me in ways no words could express. I felt as if a part of my soul, deep down inside, now ceased to breathe–what I thought would be, was no longer. All sense of direction and purpose was now silenced by the darkness I had encountered.

I continued college, but my artistic spirit existed in a sort of silence and isolation. My heart remained with God, but from a distance. I didn't know what to do next. If I turned my back on art, was I actually turning my back on my true purpose and calling?

I didn’t know anymore…and it was too painful to process. So i ignored the painful disappointment, kept myself busy, and threw myself into my new major–working off campus and taking full loads every semester.

But I lived detached. It was as if something within had been profoundly silenced. Out of pain, I turned my back on all things art related–And though the artist inside yearned to create again, I chose to ignore the longing…

I wouldn’t pick up a paintbrush again for several years….

More of this backstory coming soon!

-Codye Reystead

Want to ask the artist a question?

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As an artist, I've had numerous people ask me about my creative process–what it looks like on a day to day basis, etc. Until now, we really haven’t had a place for readers and supporters to ask these sort of questions.

Now we do! Welcome to my newest blog, Inside The Studio!

First, this blog will provide a place for me to (personally) update 2911 The Treasury readers and supporters on any current projects going on in the studio–well before they are announced to the public!

Things in the studio are constantly shifting and changing! So the posts in this blog will be dedicated to giving our readers an inside look–both at the creative process behind any current projects and paintings, and their progress…And I might just throw a few giveaways and coupon codes in here as well! (In fact, I included a coupon below!)

Secondly, this blog will give readers, like you, a place to ask me questions! I plan on checking this blog often, so please feel free to start posting your questions–questions about my creative process, etc...

Oh yes, to post a question simply click on “Comment” (found above & in grey).

Well, it looks like we're off and running!

I look forward to hearing from you!

- Codye Reystead

Use coupon code INTHESTUDIO to receive 15% off any order! (offer good until 2/27/19)