October 09, 2014 6 Comments

What? What's that you said? I can't hear you over how famous I am. 

Yes, that's right. Me and Michelle Obama are best friends. And our other best friend is Lela Rose.

Michelle has this huge house that she doesn't have time to decorate all by herself. I don't know if you've seen it. It's white. Very big. Anyway. So she's in a group g-chat with me and Lela and she's like 

"ugh guys I have no idea what to do with this corner of this room it's totally bare"

and Lela's like, 

"LOL you are such a mess. I can loan you some of my dresses on mannequins to brighten it up"

and I'm like,

"seriously, that would really help. and maybe i can throw a ten foot tall painting in the mix to really make it pop"

and Michelle is like 

"y'all are livesaversssss"


Kidding kidding kidding... totally kidding. I can't believe I opened the most important blog post of my professional illustration/blogging career with that completely falsified and misleading short story. Disregard all of that. 

Let me tell you what really happened in case you missed the national news coverage. 

A select group of fashion designers and influencers, including Lela Rose, were invited to the white house to take part in a Fashion Education event hosted by Michelle Obama yesterday at her aforementioned very big, white house. The design industry leaders spoke to students about the many exciting things that a career in fashion entails... a gala followed. You know how it is. Michelle doesn't hold back when she throws a party. 

Lela Rose, my previously-blogged-about fave designer for all things of striking feminine elegance and confectioner-sugar-airiness, called me up (normal) on my cell and asked if I could help her build the design for her space at the event. 

That part is for real.

For. Real.

Lela and I are bffs. Or at the very least, like normal friends. Well, maybe more like colleagues. Ok, we're professional acquaintances.

That much is now true. And very exciting for me, as you may sense. 

I respect and admire her so much. When talent and genuine gracefulness are found in one person, well that is a great person. I'm so happy to have met one such person in Lela through this project. And - I should mention her team is wonderful too! 

Anyway, back to the story! She's like would you like to do this? I said YES DUH how soon do you need it

And she said...


I feel like you can't tell when I'm making things up and when I'm being serious any more because I told you that I g-chat with Michelle Obama. I'm sorry. But, really, Lela did say she needed it the next day! 

And because I am a hard-working, motivated independent female entrepreneur & fashion illustrator, what did I do? I got down on my hands and knees and for the next ten hours, I painted away until I had created something I was pretty excited about! 

Do you hate me? This story kind of makes me hate me for being so lucky. I mean what a fun opportunity right?!? 

It wasn't all fun and games and easy breezy though. For starters, I did not practice this very much at all. Like at all. I just unrolled this giant canvas and sat down on it and gave it my one shot. In retrospect, that was unwise. Don't try that at home. If you are planning to create a very large scale piece of art for a renowned fashion designer in 24 hours, my advice to you is do a trial run. Oh well, as you may know from the impossible story, I am a fan of "winging it" in all matters art and home-fumigation related.

I started out with this lady pictured below. And quickly learned that using a new medium (liquid acrylic), on a VERY new scale (nine by ten feet), and a new surface (carpenters canvas... not artists canvas) comes with some exciting surprises. Like the paint bleeds in a very interesting linear pattern:

AT first I thought, OH NO ALL IS LOST. And I texted Lela's team and they shot back "we kind of like it" and I felt so overjoyed that they were so cool and artsy and could appreciate an unusual watery paint bleed so I kept going... 

Heyyyyy guyyysssss....

I smile like a chipmunk, don't I?

And then there were two! Which was great and exciting progress. Until I realized how big this thing was... how much massive unfilled white space was looking up at me for attention like sad unwanted puppies in those ads for donating to puppy relief funds for just $18 a day... 


Ok... ok... keep going don't think about it... 

And then there were three! And a couple in the background arguing about whether or not to move to Brooklyn while walking the Obamas' Portuguese waterdog, Bo. (why not right?)

And then there were some buildings and cars.

And I realized the perspective was a little off. You know you see it too. 

Again - like I said - don't try this at home. Definitely learn how to draw things in perspective before launching head first into a commission based project for a major fashion designer. Oh well, I pulled it together in the end. 

I"m proud of how it turned out! My first continuous, ten foot painting done in one day! A classic mid-day scene of seventh avenue in NYC. If you look closely you'll see the iconic "giant button" statue in the background that is a landmark of that historic garment district corner. 

(photo: @andersonfariss)

Yes, it was a family affair... my husband came to help me document the excitement... and practice his spider-monkey like indoor parcours skills on Roxy's furniture. (Sorry Roxy)

And then, as quickly as it began, it was over. The canvas was rolled up and wisked away, off to the White House for the event and I resumed my normal life as if this magical fashion illustration moment had never happened. 

(IF this was a movie, this is where they'd slowly fade in with Biggie's "It Was All A Dream" and start a sad black and white montage of me sitting at my desk slaving away over small, normal bridal commissions done on an 8x10" scale in watercolor on paper, stopping only to mop my brow with Cosette-worthy pitifulness all over my face as I look out a drizzly window...)

Until, voila! There it was!

On the news!

Validation! Hurray! 

(photo: @BizLadwig, expert tivo operator and fan of CBS This Morning)

Yes, that is Michelle Obama chatting with Lela and fashion students in front of my painting!!!!

I admit, they're probably not saying, "OMG Inslee's painting is the best thing about this whole event" 

But whatever I'll take it. 

Anyway, that's my story folks. Fun right? I apologize in advance for how un-spectacular whatever gets posted next on the blog will be compared to this.

Unless Karl Lagerfeld texts me tonight and asks me to come live illustrate fashion figures all over his master bathroom. 

Hey. It could happen... 



PS. Mom, I know the SECOND you finish reading this, or maybe before you finish reading this, you will call me and ask, "Who is Biggie? And what is "It was all a dream"? So, here is the youtube of this very important piece of musical history for you. Love you! xox





Posted in #FashionEDU, Inslee By Design, Lela Rose, Michelle Obama, The White House



6 Responses

October 27, 2014

omg you are part of history!! what if it’s in a first ladies museum one day!

Colleen Carney
Colleen Carney

October 18, 2014

Congratulations Inslee! This is fantastic & you deserve it- the world needs to see your amazing talent! I loved hearing how your imperfect process turned out perfect in the end- a metaphor for life, right?! You have everything girl- talent, beauty, success, honesty, the ability to laugh at yourself & make others laugh – truly an inspiration! Xoxo Colleen

Steph Fowler
Steph Fowler

October 15, 2014

Multiple comments on blog posts…so embarrassing :)

This post is amazing. It made me want to stop what I was doing (which was pretending to be working) and start colouring on the biggest sheet of paper I could find. Kudos to you for being able to tackle such a large scale in one go.

Rose Angel
Rose Angel

October 14, 2014

Great story! Congratulations!!


October 14, 2014



Blair Percle
Blair Percle

October 13, 2014

That is amazing!

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