By Alicia Dziak

Local artist and author Wende Essrow shares her creativity with the world through the magic of her paintings and inspiring stories that reflect her love of nature. The last time The Ellicottville Times caught up with Essrow, she was busy promoting The Paintbrush Dreamer, a book full of Essrow’s original watercolors.

Since then, Essrow has been busy writing and painting and working on her newest book, If You Listen to the Trees. The 28-page book has taken Essrow three years to complete and includes more watercolors, as well as a final illustration done with charred wood.

Essrow describes the main character as “a young girl artist who spends a major part of her day outdoors…who uses charred pieces of wood as a drawing medium.”

Before the book was written, Essrow was cleaning out her wood stove. Her dog eagerly picked up a piece of charred wood to chew on. When Essrow took the wood out of his mouth—slobber and all—she realized it would serve her well as a (free!) art medium, and from there, the idea for the book was born.

“He gifted me a book concept!” Essrow laughed.

Essrow filled the pages with a unique story where “the trees become the characters” and notes that the book is ideal for families wishing to slow it down. She notes that “trees have their own special way of communicating” and thinks the book will appeal to those who appreciate nature and going green.

“After spending so many hours walking through the woods I am honored to share the spirit of the forest with my readers,” Essrow said.

Essrow, who lives in West Falls, NY, explains her love of art like this: “Painting has always been my way of expressing gratitude for the beauty that unfolds each new dawn.  I walk for miles cherishing each sunrise as if it were the first, never ceasing to be in awe of the morning light.  The symmetry and uniqueness of each snowflake whispers a sense of master intelligence to me while the subdued pastels of winter skies fill me with delight. Emerald green wild grass, the ruby shimmer of a hummingbird’s throat, the prism inside a single drop of dew; each take my breath away. When I return to the studio, it is time to say thanks through the tip of my paintbrush.”

With numerous detailed paintings incorporated into the book, Essrow said, “I feel this book contains my best art.” She also added that, “This (book) is the legacy I would like to leave…It speaks to the heart and includes a good lesson.”

Reserve your copy of If You Listen to the Trees at a special book release event at the Tifft Nature Preserve (1200 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo) on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 3 to 5 p.m. Afterwards, Essrow will guide children and adults in creating a book-inspired charcoal drawing of their own to take home. Original artwork from the book will also be displayed.

Pre-registration for the event is required by calling (716) 825-6397 or visiting

If you can’t make it to the book release party, the book will soon be available in many area bookstores and online retailers. For more information, visit