In honor of Earth Day, four new canvases have debuted on AOL.com - Amur Leopard, Tropics, Ocean, andTrees. Debut AOL Artist Jacqui Oakley painted the beautiful artworks, all of which were inspired by nature, endangered species, and the ecosystem.

"I was especially excited to be chosen to promote Earth Day, since not only do I have a fondness for our little planet, but I also enjoy painting wildlife, and am an admirer of early botanical illustrations," said Jacqui.Her passion for the environment and wildlife began with her travels at a very young age to Bahrain, Zambia, and Libya. We are thrilled to welcome Jacqui to the AOL Artists family.

Each artwork has its own unique story and inspiration based on research and studies done by the artist herself. Explore these stories below, and to learn all about Jacqui, visit her AOL Artists profile page.

AMUR LEOPARD
"This illustration features the critically endangered Amur Leopard. With a population of just 30-35, threats facing the species include habitat loss due to logging, poaching, global climate change and an encroaching human population. I wanted to paint this beautiful creature glancing warily behind foliage; isolated and seemingly melding into the background, disappearing from our memory."
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TROPICS
"This illustration is focused on tropical flowers, birds and breezes. Maybe it's due to the fact that I worked on these illustrations in the gloomy cold of a Canadian February, but I eagerly jumped at the chance to portray warmth, life and colour. With this piece I wanted the breezes to be wrapped around the flowers showing movement and the relationship between plants water and air through layers of translucent colour. I was inspired by the gorgeous and joyful patterns in vintage 1950s textiles."
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OCEAN
"One particular environment that is endlessly fascinating to me is the Ocean. I grew up in a house looking out on the Persian Gulf ... I find the immense scale of the Earth's oceans and seas incredibly awe-inspiring and overwhelming. Recently, the Census of Marine Life estimated there to be over 1 million species in the ocean, with three quarters still awaiting discovery. In this image I wanted to allow pattern and movement to depict the endlessly moving currents in the ocean."
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TREES
"For this piece I wanted to create a more engaging version of the water cycle. I wanted to show the symbiotic relationship between water and air within clouds, trees, bodies of water and the earth. With this painting, I played with contrasting patterns, movement and stylizing nature, all inspired by designs found in the Art Nouveau movement."
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