Parks and urban spaces are places of inspiration – and Centennial Park has now inspired an international award winning watercolour!

Scottish artist, John Short, has recently been awarded The President’s Award of The Irish Watercolour Society for a watercolour of the Park!


A winning watercolour


Cockatoos, Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW by John Short (Medium: Watercolour, ink and photo transfers on Arches paper).

Cockatoos, Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW by John Short (original medium: watercolour, ink and photo transfers on Arches paper).


John has been living in Dublin, Ireland for 35 years and is a graduate of The Royal College of Art (RCA) in London.

Previously he has been awarded the RCA Drawing prize, and the Artists Prize in The Royal Watercolour Society UK – but now adds another award thanks to Centennial Park and some of its feathery residents.

His watercolour of a flock of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos came about after a visit to Sydney to visit family. During a walk in the Park one evening he noticed the birds roosting “where the flying-foxes were coming out on the night shift. From white to black – an impressive and memorable sight.”

He was inspired to come back the next day to make a series of watercolour sketches.


And not just cockatoos

John also noticed an unusual sight. Swans, but not as he knew them. These were black.


Black Swans, Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW by John Short (original medium: watercolour, ink and photo transfers on Arches paper).

Black Swans, Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW by John Short (original medium: watercolour, ink and photo transfers on Arches paper).


You can see more of John’s work on his website.

Postcript: Apart from winning an award, John reports that a Panamanian art collector has purchased his ‘Cockatoos of Centennial Park’ work, as he loved visiting Centennial Park several years ago!


Inspired yourself?

For the adults:

  • We host art-based programs (such as night photography sessions) every season – see upcoming dates on our What’s On calendar.
  • If you’re more serious about developing your talent the Parklands is the home to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, who run a range of courses – see AFTRS website for more.
  • Or want to generate or progress ideas – try the Ideas Vault at the Entertainment Quarter –

For the kids:


Become an Insider


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