David Blackwood was born in Wesleyville, Bonavista Bay, November 7, 1941. His father was Captain Edward Blackwood, and his mother was Molly Blackwood. Blackwood grew up in an out port populated with schooner and sealing captains. He spent his summers aboard his father's schooner, the Flora S. Nickerson, fishing off the Labrador coast. He also spent sometime on Bragg's Island with his grandparents. When he was fifteen, he fished out of Wesleyville with his own boat and lobster traps.
Blackwood opened up his own art studio in 1956, where he painted during the winter months and then he sold his work to visitors during the summer. His artwork won several awards, which gained admission to Ontario College of Art in 1959. He sold one of his first etchings "The Lost Party" to the National Gallery of Canada for its permanent collection.
After he graduated, he remained in Ontario, teaching part time while working on his artwork. At this time he developed the very famous "Lost Party" series of etchings which focused on the S.S Newfoundland sealing disaster of 1914. It contains 50 etchings it is one of the largest series of prints in Canadian history. Since then , he remained one of the country's foremost artists winning numerous awards and receiving honorary doctorates from several universities, including Memorial University if Newfoundland. He also greatly involved with the creation of an art gallery at Erindale, a branch of the university of Toronto. As a sign of gratitude to Blackwood , it was eventually named the Blackwood gallery.
Then in 1974, the National film board produced a documentary about him merely titled: Blackwood. It won a world wide acknowledgment gaining 10 international awards, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1975. In 1975 Blackwood was elected into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and to the Academia Italia in 1980. Also there are, "wake of the Great Sealers" a book written by Farley Mowat and "The Art of David Blackwood".
His art continues to focus on Newfoundland, but he has not lived in the province on a regular basis since leaving art school in the early 1960's. He comes home to Wesleyville, once or twice a year. He now lives in Port Hope, Ontario. He says in interviews that if lived in the province it would hinder his ability to illustrate the stories of the Newfoundland out ports. Blackwood considered to be now one of Canada's best printmaker. He was retired from teaching, but continues to work on a full time basis as an artist.