Arts Literature

Book Release and Signing at Elise Okrend Studio & Gallery

Higher Self. Elise Okrend, artist

Asheville contemporary pastel artist Elise Okrend and her husband Phil Okrend, a certified life coach, musician and writer, will release a new version of their hardcover coffee table book Messages to the Heart, Reflections of Beauty and Truth. The inspirational book was born from an organic pairing of the couple’s passion: Elise’s soothing pastel paintings paired with Phil’s mindful, reflective writings derived from years of coaching clients to create empowering change in their lives and work. A reception for the Okrends’ new work will be held on Saturday, September 9, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. at Elise Okrend Studio & Gallery, 129 Roberts Street, First Floor, Asheville.

“Phil and I wanted to release a new version of Messages to the Heart that represented my most recent paintings of atmospheric and expressive landscapes,” says Elise. “We felt my new work was more ethereal and a wonderful fit for Phil’s mindful passages. This art evokes a deep sense of emotion.”

This fourth edition of the Okrends’ collaborative work includes new cover art, a new passage and 13 new paintings reflective of Elise’s current style. The new cover for the 100-page book, the mist-filled mountain painting Into the Mystery, beckons the reader to step into a journey of self-discovery and inner peace. Each painting and passage in the book is arranged to move readers from letting go to removing obstacles to their authentic self, to feeling trust and positivity and, finally, to arriving at an empowered place of wisdom and higher consciousness.

“There comes a time in our life when we need to reconnect with our inner self in order to gather all our strength and face our difficulties,” says Senka Huskic, of Boston, MA. “The Okrends’ amazing work was able to provide that bridge to my soul. On many occasions it seems that Phil’s words of inspiration are painted in Elise’s magnificent pictures.”

The reception is free and open to the public; refreshments and light hors d’oeuvres will be served. The Okrends will be available to sign copies of their new book.

The new version of Messages to the Heart can be ordered online at The book is also available at Elise Okrend Studio & Gallery, Marquee Asheville and in downtown Asheville at Woolworth Walk and Mountain Made.

Learn more at and

Leave a Comment