New Painting ‘Hellhound On My Trail”

Richard Bledsoe “Hellhound On My Trail” acrylic on canvas 30″ x 40″

This painting is a sequel.

In 2013, I was new to working in acrylics. I had moved my art studio back into my home in 2012, and decided I didn’t want to be breathing the solvents involved in oil paints any longer.

One of the first acrylic paintings which really clicked for me was called “At the Crossroad.” It was based on the American legend of bluesman Robert Johnson.

It wasn’t in my life for long. The 24″ x 30″ painting was newly completed when I exhibited it in a group show; it sold immediately.

We subsequently made a video out of the painting and the symbolism of its story.

Johnson was our own home-grown version of Faust. He was said to have met the devil at a midnight crossroads and sold his soul in exchange for musical talent.

After the fateful meeting, when you compromise with evil in exchange for worldly glory, is when the real trouble starts.

Johnson sang about that too: “I got to keep moving, got to keep moving/Hellhound on my trail, hellhound on my trail.”

The hellhound is a hunter. A stalker. Whether the hound is guilt, or catastrophe, or even death, his quarry is the one who bargained with dark forces, and set doom into motion. There’s no peace or rest thereafter.

We call the hellhound upon ourselves, and he’s a ruthless tracker. Few escape once he’s on the scent.

I started this new painting in 2020. It sat for a long time incomplete. But its time came round at last.

Just as “Crossroad” was an early breakthrough, I see “Hellhound On My Trail” as another breakthrough in my art. It’s an intense fulfillment of an inner vision.

Artist at Work, June 2020

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