David Blackwood was one of Canada's most beloved artists and storytellers. His stark etchings and prints led him to become one of the most successful and respected artists in Canada. As a young prodigy, by 23, Blackwood’s etchings and prints were already being displayed in the National Gallery. His subject matter and inspiration included the sea, boats and harbors, an homage to his traditional roots in rugged Newfoundland. The expression of tragedy in his work was a reflection of the harsh conditions and lifestyle on the Canadian East Coast.
Due to the various blue hues visible in his works, Blackwood’s process from start to finish was extensive and the etchings could take a few days to complete if worked on continuously. His process began with an initial drawing, the design of which determines what the final impression will be. Beeswax, tar, and varsol is then painted on a copper plate which is heated in order to melt the wax. Blackwood would then transfer the final design to the surface of the wax with a carbon paper. The etching is then completed on the copper plate. Finally, ink is then poured onto the plate to fill the recesses, after which paper is pressed onto the metal to pick up the ink and the image.
National recognition for Blackwood’s work includes the Order of Canada in 1993 and the Order of Ontario in 2003. His work is also included in the National Gallery of Canada, the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, the National Gallery of Australia, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.