Robert Wood was born in Sandgate, Kent, England, and first studied painting with his father, W.J. Wood, a famous home and church painter. Recognizing his son’s talent, he sent his son to the South Kensington School of Art at the age of twelve.
As a youth, Wood came to the United States around 1910, having served in the Royal Army. He traveled extensively all over the United States, especially in the West, often in freight cars, and also painted in Mexico and Canada. His itinerant existence took him to Illinois, where he worked as a farmhand, to Pensacola, Florida where he married, and on to Ohio, as well as Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.
By 1912, he was in Los Angeles, California, later moving to San Antonio, Texas, where he exhibited in the Texas Wildflower Competition. In San Antonio, Wood gained a national reputation for his strong colored, dramatic paintings. He became known as a painter of realistic landscapes, reflecting the vanishing wilderness in America. Some of his prestige has been credited to his association with Jose Arpá, a prominent Texas artist. Wood also gave art lessons, and one of his students was Porfirio Salinas. During this period, Wood sometimes signed his paintings G. Day or Trebor, which is Robert spelled backwards.
In 1941, Wood settled in Laguna Beach, California and executed many paintings of Southern California landscapes. He lived in Carmel, California and then Woodstock, New York, but soon returned to the West Coast, finally settling in the 1960’s in Bishop, California, where he and his wife built a home and a studio. Wood remained in Bishop until his death.
During the 1960’s, Wood became one of the most mass-produced artists in the United States. His paintings became so popular he was unable to meet all of the demands, and many of his works were reproduced not only in lithographs, but also mass distributed as prints, place mats, and wall murals by companies including Sears & Roebuck.