150 Artists

5/150: David Blackwood – Whales and Tales

Fire Down the Labrador and The Great Peace of Brian and Martin Windsor

David Blackwood (1941 -2022) told stories about Newfoundland in the form of epic visual narratives for 30 years. He is widely regarded as Canada’s most accomplished printmaker. (Above: Fire Down the Labrador (left) and The Great Peace of Brian and Martin Winsor)

david-blackwood-fire-in-indian-bayHe explored the timeless theme of the struggle for survival between humans and nature in one of the most exposed and hostile environments on earth. (Above: Fire in Indian Bay)

Mummer Groups from Pound Cove

Mummer Groups from Pound Cove

His strangely beautiful images came to represent to many of us the essence of Newfoundland’s landscape and traditional culture. (Below: Outward Bound)


I have a particular love of this image, Hauling Job Sturges House, the cover on some editions of Annie Proulx’s novel The Shipping News. It fits the scene where a house is hauled across the ice with ropes in the gray winter of Newfoundland.hauling-job-sturges-house-web

“He has created an iconography of Newfoundland which is as universal as it is personal, as mythic as it is rooted in reality, and as timeless as it is linked to specific events,” the Art Gallery of Ontario said in notes for a 2011 exhibition.


See this half hour National Film Board of Canada documentary on Blackwood if you want to delve more deeply into his extraordinary etching.  See the video, here.

David Blackwood’s obituary (2022) here.

Represented by Abbozzo Gallery, here.

Canadian Encyclopedia entry, here

This is #5 in the series 150 Artists.

7 replies »

  1. I love these! It’s so great to find out about artists that I didn’t know about. You have introduced me to many.
    Blackwood’s style is as cold and lonely as any northern Canadian climate. In my mind, I imagined Songs of a Sourdough by Robert Service to look like this.


  2. I love David Blackwood’s work. He is a superb printmaker, as well as draftsman, and, of course raconteur. I appreciate his technical prowess, particularly because I believe we both studied with the same demanding printmaking teacher teacher, the infamus Fred Hagan.

    Liked by 1 person

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