CJ Oakley Designs

My Story

What inspired my love for nature and birds in particular...

As a little girl I drove my Mum crazy. I was forever disappearing into the woods and fields around our home in Surrey, UK. I wasn't actually trying to scare the dickens out of her - I simply loved to be outdoors - a glimpse of a wren, an English robin or a tiny goldcrest and I was enraptured.

That feeling of awe and suchness (to borrow a term from Eckhart Tolle) has never left me.

Years ago, my Dad let me use his binoulars. This was an amazing improvement, and I quickly learned to spot a bird by silhouette, size, colour, habitat and song. I began keeping a life list around the age of 11 or 12 and decades later I'm still adding new species. A few years ago - I purchased a Nikon Coolpix camera with an incredible 18x zoom. This amazing gadget allows me to capture birds at quite a distance providing the light is reasonably bright. Nowadays, I can photograph to my heart's content which provides invaluable reference material for my drawings and paintings.

I started drawing in my mid-twenties, and pencil, I must confess, is still my favourite medium. I also love to paint in gouache (opaque watercolour) on paper and board. I dabble with acrylics and intend to develop this area more as time goes on.

My goal is to create memorable images that resonate with you, the viewer, and enhance your experience of, and love for the natural world.

The move to creating home decor accessories - pillows, table linens etc. is designed to provide an alternative to framed art that offers both beauty and function and allows you greater flexibility and more options for bringing nature into your personal space.

I hope my art communicates and allows you to share the feelings I experience each time I'm birdwatching, photographing or working in my studio. My intention is to forge a closer bond between you and me and the myriad beings with whom we share this beautiful planet.

Thank-you for joining me.