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The Scenic Moods of Stephen Rust

Columbia painter Stephen Rust will be the featured artist at a forthcoming exhibition at The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art on the campus of Central Methodist University in Fayette.

The show, titled "The Scenic Moods of Stephen Rust," opens March 23 and runs through May 13, with an artist's reception from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on March 28. In addition to the Rust exhibition, the gallery is featuring photographs from its permanent collection.

A native of Cape Girardeau, Rust is also an interior designer and has a studio in Columbia. His interest in being an artist began when he was a youngster. "I did art well and ceramics well in school," he said. "The family always vacationed out West the Tetons and Yellowstone. I am always stimulated by a landscape. I would hike into someplace and paint," he added. "When you spend time outdoors in a place, you absorb the sights and smells of the environment."

He took art classes in high school and dabbled in ceramics and animation. In college he took courses in jewelry making and drawing. However, taking his father's advice, Rust majored in marketing, with a minor in economics, and, following graduation from Southeast Missouri State University in 1977, he and his wife, Deshay, moved to Columbia where he became involved in the family's interior design business.

When Rust wasn't working in the interior design business, he would work on painting with watercolors. Later he began experimenting with oil paints and he began studying with renowned painter Jim Wilcox at his Jackson Hole Art Academy in Wyoming. "You learn different ways of doing things all the different ways they [professional artists] approach things."

Rust said he spends 20 hours or more a week studying art "I try different things and I paint what I like." He classifies himself as a "representational artist," and said that he likes to take on art projects that challenge him technically "I like to take liberties with art, my art, and push it into another realm."

Recently he has been experimenting with painting on Masonite board using gesso. "The paint sits on top of the surface," he explained. "I think it gives it a little of a luminous quality and it glazes real well."

Paintings in the Rust exhibition include works representing landscapes in the Midwest, West and Southwest. Among these subjects are paintings representing Teton National Park, the Teton foothills, Western Nebraska, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and cattle in Boone County, including a grassy area and woods alongside Gillespie Bridge Road. Also being exhibited are other local scenes, including old buildings in Boonville and a gravel road in the Fayette area.