2911 THE TREASURY

artist's story

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
Copy of Instagram Post – Untitled Design-2.png

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