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David Lloyd Blackwood

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Born in Wesleyville, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland, in 1941, he is a descendent of fishing skippers and sealing captains. From his earliest days his influence was the sea. His father, at age ten, went off to sea and by the age of seventeen was captain of his own ship. David's grandfather was one of the sealing captains in the era of the great sealing masters around the turn of the century. David sat and listened to the tales of success and adventure, disaster, and heart-break, sometimes in the fisherman's work shed, sometimes in the captain's house. With this background, over the years, he has ably retold these tales through his art.

He decided to become an artist and with the promise he had already shown, he received a Newfoundland Centennial R. Govt. Scholarship and studied Drawing and Painting at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, under Carl Schaefer, John Alfsen, J.W.G. MacDonald and Frederick Hagan. He graduated with honours in 1963 and received several awards including a travelling scholarship to visit major museums and galleries in the United States.

In that year he was also appointed Art Master (one day a week) at the Trinity College School in Port Hope, while also teaching Graphics at the OCA (1963-64). He then worked independently for the next five years in a studio on Spadina Avenue, Toronto (1964-69). At the end of this period he became Artist-in-Residence at the U. of T. Erindale College (1969-1975).

John de Visser in describing the artist in 1979 noted, "It is fascinating to watch him work on a watercolor, at home in Newfoundland in the summer. He works quickly, with only a few cursory glances at his selected subject matter and as often as not with his back to it. He doesn't have to look at it: he knows it. Or in his studio in Port Hope at work on a drawing or a copper plate. There is no hesitation. Again he knows exactly what he wants to portrav, the effect he wants to achieve. But then, he has already lived with the image in his mind, certainly for weeks, probably for months before setting so much as one line on paper or plate. Blackwood lives and breathes his heritage, and therefore his art, completely.

"While his early work dealt entirely with life and death at sea, with the dreams and superstitions of the men at sea, his more recent prints involve life in and around the community. While the ocean, of course, remains evident everywhere, whether seen or unseen, he portrays the relationships between people, between people and events, between people and their environment. In all his figures, but especially in the portraits, the strength of the person shown comes through clearly. But somehow he manages to convey, as well, an idea of the frailty of the human in battle against the elements. Throughout the entire series, but never more so than in this latest work, David Blackwood shows his superb control over the etching medium. In a dull grey sky, in the dazzling brilliance of a fire, in the delicate detail of a piece of wallpaper or dress material, his technique is that of a virtuoso, particularly because he succeeds in never allowing it to interfere with the emotional content of the work.

"When we talk about the 'good old days', we are likely talking about happier days, about an easier way of life. When David Blackwood portrays the 'good old days', his images have little or nothing to do with an accumulation of wealth, with affluence, and certainly nothing at all with an easier way of life. The values being portrayed are spiritual. The qualities he shows are of character: strength, warmth, honesty, determination, faith."

While continuing to produce his prints and drawings inspired by his heritage, he has added a medium called monotype which results in only one unique image being produced. His monotypes are done on glass plate - essentially a painting on glass. The paper (usually Japanese) is laid over the oil painted glass and the image is hand transferred by rubbing. The result is a work with a translucent washy feeling of a watercolour, and the rich colour of oil. Many of his monotypes have been of colourful garden scenes, floral studies, and interiors.

Blackwood lives in Port Hope, Ontario.

-Colin S. Macdonald, Dictionary of Canadian Artists Exhibitions and Shows:

His solo shows include:
AGO travelling (1972)
Galerie 1640, Mtl. (1973)
Gallery Pascal, Tor. (I973) (1974) (1976) (1979)
U. of Maine, USA (1980)
Robertson Gal., Ottawa (1982)
Heffel Gallery Ltd., Van., BC (1990) (1991) (1992)
Gallery One, Tor. (1991) (1993) and others.

Awards and Accomplishments

His awards include:
Govt. of France Ingres Medal (1963)
Pur. Award, Biennial, NGC, Ott. (1964)
Pur. Award, NG Australia, Melb. (1967)
Award, Intl. Graphics '71, MMFA, Mtl. (1971)
Award Ist Intl. Norwegian Biennial Prints, Frederikstad, Norway (1972)
Award, Biennale Intl. de 1'estampe, Paris (1973)
Award, 8th Burnaby Intl. Biennial (1975)
Elected to the Royal Canadian Academy (RCA), Tor. (1975).

His other affiliations include:
CPE (1966); CSGA (1967); Colour & Form Soc. (1967); OSA (1970); CSPWC (1971); Print & Drawing Council of Can. (1976).

He is represented in the following collections:
NGC, Ott.; Dept. Ex. Aff., Ott.; CC AB, Ott.; Simon Fras. U., Van.; Burnaby AG, Burnaby, BC; WAG, Wpg.; LAG, Lond., On.: AGH, Ham., Ont.; McM. U., Ham., On.; SAG, Sarnia. On.; AGW. Windsor, On.; St. Ca. AG, St. Caih., On.; BAG, Brantford., On.: AGO, Tor.; HH, U of T., Tor.; The Stn. Gal., Whitby, On.; PAG, Peterb., On.: AEAC, Kingst., On.: CAG, Cobourg, On.; T. Thomson44Mem. AG, Owen Sound, On.; NFB, Mtl.; McG. U., Mtl,; NB Mus., St. John, NB.; Owens AG, Mt. A. U., Sackv., NB.; Beaverb. AG. Fred., NB.St. Mary's U., Hal., NS.; Conf. AG, Charlottetown, PEI.; Memorial U., St. John's, Nfld.; City of St. John's. Nfld.; Nfld. Govt., St. John's.

And the following private and public collections:
HRH, Queen Elizibeth; The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth; HRH Prince Philip; The Crosbie Collection, St. John's. Nfld.; RCMP Commission, Tor.; T-D Bank, Tor.; The Tor. Star, Tor.; Crown, Life Ins., Tor.; Shell Oil, Tor.; Polysar Corp, Tor.; Kaiser Resources, Tor.; Citicorp Tor. & NYC; Clarkson Gordon, Tor.; Pepsi Cola, Tor.; The Redpath, Coll., N. Bay, On.; Steinberg, Mtl.; Labatt's Breweries; Dofasco Steel, Hamilton, On.; Chase Manhattan Bank, NYC and others.

Other Information

Category: Print Making


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