He studied at Western Technical School (Toronto); however, he is considered largely self taught. In the 1940's and 1950's, he worked as a freelance advertising artist associating with and sometimes sharing studio space with Ronald York Wilson (see AskART), Jack Bush (see AskART), and Oscar Cahen (see AskART). In the 1970's he was an instructor at Humber College (Toronto) . He stopped painting in 1960 and for the next twenty years devoted himself fulltime to sculpture. He resumed painting in 1980 and continued until his death.
While his solo accomplishments would put him in the top class of Canadian artists his greatest claim to fame was as a member of the Painters Eleven. They were a group of Canadian abstract painters who took their cue from artists such as Jackson Pollock and de Kooning, members of the New York School of abstract expressionists. The purpose of P11 was to promote abstract art in English Canada, primarily through joint exhibitions. They formed in 1953 and by the time they disbanded in 1960, the Eleven were a major force in establishing modern art in Canada and are still a major influence in the Canadian art market. Their art is now a prized and prominent feature in many private, corporate and public collections throughout Canada. The last living member Tom Hodgson died in 2006.
Yarwood was also a member of the Ontario Society of Artists, the Art Directors Club of Toronto and the Canadian Group of Painters, and he was an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In addition to showing with the above groups he has also exhibited at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1964.
His works are in many private, corporate and public collections. Some of the public collections are the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Art Gallery Of Ontario (Toronto), the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa,Ontario), the London Regional Art Gallery (Ontario), the Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario) and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston,Ontario).
Many of his commissioned sculptures can be viewed in public spaces such as; Sydney Smith Hall and the Pharmacy Building at the University of Toronto; the Winnipeg International Airport (Manitoba);York University (Toronto) and the Ontario Government Buildings (Toronto). There was also a work at Expo 67, Montreal.
As a prominent artist his work is discussed in numerous magazine and newspaper articles as well as in many books about Canadian art history. He is listed in The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar,
His work is also illustrated and discussed in Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield; Contemporary Canadian Art (1983), by David Burnett and Marilyn Schiff; Visions – Contemporary Art in Canada (1983), various authors and editors; The History of Painting in Canada - Toward A Peoples' Art (1974) by Barry Lord; Agnes Etherington Art Centre Queen's University at Kingston (1968), by Frances K. Smith; Canadian Art Today (1970), by William Townsend; A Concise History of Canadian Painting (1973), by Dennis Reid; Four Decades (1972) by Paul Duval; Painting in Canada: A History (1966) by J. Russell Harper; and Sculpture 67 (1968), by Dorothy Cameron and Don Wallace.