We're Having A Baby

May 24, 2017 6 Comments

Well this is the last day of being pregnant. I figured I'd celebrate the occasion with a genuine old school blog post in the style of diary blogging from years gone by, like the aging internet dinosaur/embarassing mom that I now am. I'm not promoting anything or selling anything or linking to brands and no click throughs will send pennies my way for writing this. I just thought I'd check in on this most auspicious occasion... And also because my mom asked me to please write a blog post because she "checks my blog every day and I haven't posted anything in a year"... a mother's love, am I right? 

So, anyway, how can I be so sure today is the last day? Because at 2 pm tomorrow I have a date with destiny in the form of a planned cesarian. 

Baby Fariss never wanted to get into birthing position, as he preferred sitting upright, wearing my stomach on his head, like a beret. This means he needs a little intervention on the whole being born front. Tomorrow we are going to don our surgical shower caps and gowns and get ready to meet our baby!!!

Seeing as today is the last day, I’ve decided to really go for it and drink all the pregnant lady cool aid I can... I am going all in on being a good pregnant lady for what little time we have left. For nine months I’ve been drinking wine and coffee and eating runny eggs and soft cheese.... but now that baby is about to be born, I’ve had a 180 degree change of heart. Today I became possessed with a need to be the ultimate organic goddess of holistic truth. 

 Has anyone else experienced this? Is this a special kind of nesting only experienced in the West Village? I think it might be. 

I’m drinking bone broth, there are literally acupuncture needles coming out of my ears, and I just bought turmeric that claims to have been harvested by monks, and I’ve covered my entire self in organic belly oil (because why stop with just the belly?) I feel like such a good pregnant person! For a day!  

Has anyone else discovered CAP beauty on W10th street? Oh my goodness you could literally spend the entire contents of your bank account there. I bought a brush designed to brush my body with. A brush for my body. Yes. And of course, when presented the option of buying the regular brush or the one with “ionic” bristles, there was no choice but to go ionic... nothing is too good for this temple of motherhood. 

And have you been to Brodo on Hudson? They do nothing but make bone broth. And this is enough to keep their doors open and lights on. Because West Villagers need to consume enough of this stuff to keep a store open that literally only serves this one thing.  

I tell you, my relationship with New York City just keeps becoming more enriched. Six years in, and I fall in love with it all over again every time I discover it’s newest way to surreptitiously separate me from my hard earned money. It is such a sneaky little minx! So bewitchingly determined to keep evolving, and keep tricking me! As far as relationships go, NYC really knows how to keep the flame alive. Bone broth in a fancy to-go cup that costs as much as a full meal! This is not the same thing as what you could buy for $2.50 at a grocery store in a quart container. Definitely not. This is special magic elixir that is going to significantly improve my breast milk production! 

I think all this over-compensation might stem from some silent fears about how I’ll be as a mother. I’ve been very lucky in that being pregnant wasn’t all that hard. But who knows how I’ll fare with baby existing out in the world? Certainly not me. 

Everyone, from the checkout lady at the grocery store to my mother has assured me that I’ll be a good mother. And I can’t tell you how many homeless men I’ve passed on the street who have stopped their panhandling to tell me that my son (how do they always know?!) is going to love his mama. It is one of the strange and glorious things about being pregnant in NYC - the homeless population weighs in on your condition with great enthusiasm. It is truly a very heartening metaphor for the resilience of humanity, that even men who are faced with the hardest and most humbling experience see signs of new life and feel their sprits lift.

So it seems everyone is fully confident that I’ve got this next phase in hand. And I know they’re fundamentally right. I love this baby and I will give him all that I have to give once he’s on the outside. I know I will do this. But what I don’t know is how I’ll feel, how i’ll cope as he begins life and things inevitably start being hard and imperfect and human - and most of all, beyond my control. I’m not entirely sure organic belly oil and a body brush will be enough to distract me from this reality.  

When asked, I tell everyone I’m so excited. I can hardly wait to meet baby. But internally i think, I could wait. He seems content in there, and I’m content out here. We’ve got a good thing going, let’s just stay pregnant. 

Though, I suppose this is the way it is with all things. Change is frightening. We want to change and grow, but we also are inevitably scared and surprised when our new reality is different than what we knew before. And, ready or not, it’s go time! 

Last night my husband and I experienced a NYC urban legend... a little gift from the pregnancy gods. We walked (well, he walked and I waddled and stopped every few blocks to stretch my lower back) to Buvette. There were no people waiting out side for a table. (people-waiting-outside-for-a-table strikes fear in the heart of this impatient pregnant lady who does not like being kept waiting for food) In fact, we walked right in and were immediately escorted to a quiet table in the back (I’ll pause to let you get over fainting and falling on the floor)... 

It was the perfect date for a couple of people with no babysitter to rush home to relieve, no breast-pump schedule to adhere to. We sat for a long time chatting over artichokes and tartines heaped with unpasturized (woops) cheese and prosciutto (also questionable?) and glasses of white wine. And then the last course arrived - the chocolate mousse. 

The mousse is famous at Buvette (in my estimation), heaped in a devilishly huge portion on an unassuming simple white bread plate and buried under almost an equal size portion of whipped cream with two spoons stuck haphazardly into the top. We were remarking that the presentation was so utterly un-styled it was almost comical, but after one bite you forget all about what it looks like, you know you’ve got the real deal on your plate. The finest quality ingredients, prepared with no shortcuts in accordance with a recipe tradition of the strictest standards of deliciousness. 

We realized this was kind of how life is, or how it ought to be. And that this is what we want our son to learn from us and what we want to remember to keep focused on tomorrow and all the days after that we are parents: 

If you start with the good stuff, taking the time to build a good life from the inside out, then you’ll always have confidence in what you’re made of. And after one taste of the truth and integrity that your built from, people will keep coming back for more, no matter what it looks like on the outside. (although, hopefully they’re not eating you, but instead delighting in your company) 

So baby, here goes nothing. I still don’t know how to do a lot of things... like change a diaper... but I do know how to give you a life built from good ingredients, as imperfect as it may look along the way. 

And the same to you who might read this, I don’t exactly know what my life, both personal and professional, will look like for the next little while. But I’ll strive to keep creating art in a way that brings joy to us both. 

Now, signing off for a bit, because as someone told me recently, babies don’t keep. 

Commissioned Figure Studies

September 01, 2016 0 Comments

In addition to the figure studies currently offered on our site, Inslee is now painting figure studies on a commission basis! If you're interested in an original piece, please feel free to browse the selections below and let us know if any poses in particular catch your eye. Inslee can create a custom piece for you inspired by the gestures below in the color palette and size of your choosing! For more information on pricing and timing, please email us here!

Babe No. 5

(28" x 35")


(11" x 15")

Cassandra No. 5

(11.5" x 15")


(28" x 35")


(28" x 35")

In Love

(35" x 41")


(11" x 15")


(11.5" x 15")

Mingnon Calamine

(11" x 15")

Mingnon No. 2

(11" x 15")

 Stone on Sand

(11" x 15")

Oat Bath Figure

(11" x 15")

Seated Taupe Figure

(11" x 15")

 Wishing Well Figure No. 1
(11" x 12")


Wishing Well Figure No. 2
(11" x 15")
Wishing Well Figure No. 3
(15" x 18")
Wishing Well Figure No. 4
(22" x 30")
Tiny Neon Figure No. 1
(5.7" x 5.7")
Tiny Neon Figure No. 2
(6" x 6")
Tiny Neon Figure No. 3
(6.5" x 7")
Patience No. 1
(15" x 22")
Patience No. 2 
(15" x 17")
Peach Pear 
(22" x 30")
Perpetual Figure No. 1
(17" x 22") 
Perpetual Figure No. 2 
(22" x 30")
Perpetual Figure No. 3
(22" x 30")
Pondering Figure No. 1
(22" x 30")
Pondering Figure No. 2
(22" x 30")
Watchful Figure
(22" x 30")
(11" x 14")
Thistle Gray Tiny Figure 
(6" x 6")

2016 White House Correspondents' Brunch

July 28, 2016 4 Comments

Bonjour mes amis! I invite you to feast your eyes upon the Frenchness that was the 2016  White House Correspondents' Weekend Brunch. 

I painted the artwork which graced the save the date, formal invitation, and various elements of party decor - all of which were produced by talented stationer, Kelly of Winifred Paper. And then On May 1st, I had the supremely fun job of attending the event, as artist in residence, where I set up shop with my easel and paints to capture the scene as the party unfolded...

If you're not a DC native or Political Junkie, you may not know that the White House Correspondents' Dinner is much more than just a dinner, it's a whole weekend of excitement for The District. A whirlwind of festivity, known affectionately by insiders as the "Nerd Prom" which comes to a glorious close on Sunday morning at the White House Correspondents' Brunch - an occasion that is anything but nerdy.

In fact, it may just be the chicest, most expertly orchestrated brunch of all time. 

Hostess Elena Allbritton came to me with a pinterest board bursting with images of deliciously beautiful scenes of the French countryside and instructed me that this was her inspiration for the event.

I jokingly suggested perhaps they should hire some chickens to peck about the yard to really amp up the ambiance and Elena's team seemed to genuinely pause to consider this as a viable possibility. I knew then that I was going to really enjoy these people and this project.  Chickens are always a good idea. 

We settled on the below illustration as the digital save the date for the event. Don't you wish you lived on this street and that was your bicycle? 

We then set to work on the formal invitation using the below illustration and some of my botanical pieces. Don't you love the subtle nod to Politico poking out of the wicker bag of flowers?

As I said, I knew I would like these people. We share a deep abiding respect for a truth we hold to be self-evident: Details. Are. Everything. 

I mean, couldn't you just die for the  "Oui  |  Non" RSVP card?! 

By the time May 1 finally rolled around, I was beyond excited to see what was in store. Imagine my delight when I arrived at the event to find that the blue bicycle I had painted for the Save The Date had come to life for the event. Elena is a goddess. 

There was also a tree, a fully actualized tree, made by the wizards at Amaryllis, inside the Brunch tent, turning the space into a sprawling vignette of provincial France... 

After gaping at all wonders of event design that were unfolding around me and remarking repeatedly that this was "nicer than any wedding I'd ever attended" I finally calmed down enough to begin painting. 

Here is a montage of pictures of me painting away on my first live event painting. At one point, you'll notice, I lose one of my shoes because I am so enraptured by my creative process. *I also ended up with a very large Yellow Ochre paint stain directly over my belly button, which thanks to the clever photographers, was not captured on film. I tell you, painting live at an event is truly a sink-or-swim experience. I think I more or less managed to dog paddle my way through it... 

 And here she is - my finished piece. It's not as clean or as perfect as the work I normally produce. As a perfectionist, this is kind of killing me. But, I do realize it's cool that I was able to capture it amidst the hustle and bustle of the brunch and am proud that I didn't knock the easel over and destroy it half way through or anything like that! 

Posted in DC, Politico, White House Correspondents Brunch

Ginny and Willie Say I Do!

July 18, 2016 2 Comments

Meet the newlyweds, Ginny and Willie!

This happy couple recently said "I do" on a hot summer day at the gorgeous Village Chapel in Pinehurst, NC. 

Drawing inspiration from surrounding Pinehurst, Ginny and Willie worked with Inslee to create a whimsical botanical suite. The couple dreamt of summer whites with subtle hits of pale pinks and forest greens to match the surroundings of their venue.  Inslee started with the blooms, crafting an organic bouquet of dogwoods, blush berries, untoothed leaves, and of course, pinecones!


Inslee then digitally arranged each blossom and branch to create a unique botanical envelope liner!

The bouquet sat perfectly on top of a hand-drawn crest...

and perfectly bordered the gorgeous calligraphy created by Calligraphy Plus for their save the dates!

 Inslee then passed along the high resolution files of her artwork and Arzberger Stationers worked their magic, printing the artwork on deliciously thick cardstock! 

The artwork even adorned Ginny and Willie's wedding weekend itineraries and guest gift bags!


At the venue, Inslee's blooms were brought to life by Maggie's Farm Flowers

And to really bring it home, the wedding cake crafted by Sweet Fi's bursted with blooms!

Check out the full team below:

Photography: Graham Terhune

Ceremony Location: the village chapel

Reception Venue: country club of north carolina

Band: the atlanta showstoppers

Bride’s Gown: monique lhuillieralexia’s bridal 

Bridesmaid’s Attire: joanna august

Wedding Painter: wed on canvas

Special Decor: themeworks

Linens: ce rentals

Hair / Makeup: retro salon of southern pines


A waterfront garden wedding with a botanical invitation to match!

July 11, 2016 1 Comment

Meet the newlyweds, Kathryn and Ryan!
To combine their love of waterfront views and green gardens, the pair decided to hold their wedding at the Inn at Perry Cabin at Belmond in St. Michaels, Maryland! Their wedding was then chosen to represent Maryland in The Knot's 50 States of Weddings. 
Drawing inspiration from the Inn's perfectly manicured gardens, Kathryn and Ryan worked with their planner to incorporate custom botanical and garden designs in the ceremony and reception decor. The couple dreamt of a subtle yet sophisticated romance, a picture-perfect venue with a soft and organic palette of blush pink, ivory and peach. As a fan of whimsical watercolor creations, Kathryn worked with Inslee to create custom watercolor designs that matched the aesthetic of their garden venue.
 Inslee partnered with Kelly of Winifred Paper to produce a gorgeous wedding suite. Kelly used the high-resolution files of the artwork, adorning the invitations, envelopes and place settings with these beautiful blooms!
Kathryn and Ryan's three-tier red velvet cake was covered in light pink fondant and finished off with Inslee's painterly floral print! 
 It was a design almost too sweet to eat! 

A botanical invitation featured on The Knot

May 30, 2016 3 Comments

Coming to a newsstand near you this Memorial Day Weekend! Pick up your copy, hit the beach and follow along as we give you a sneak peak into the illustration details behind this blooming botanical wedding!

First, meet the newlyweds, Hazel & Ian! 

For their wedding suite, they dreamt of an assortment of blooming buds...

And of course wisteria! 

To bring Hazel and Ian's floral fondness to life, Inslee partnered with Kelly of Winifred Paper to produce a gorgeous wedding suite. Kelly worked her magic designing an invitation suite around Inslee's floral illustrations! The botanical lined envelopes featured elegant calligraphy by Penned by Palmer!

 At the venue, botanical embellished place cards and menus adorned each setting...

and made for the perfect backdrop for a diamonds shoot!

And although Inslee may be a floral arraignment extraordinaire on paper, Victoria Clausen Floral Arrangements crafted these gorgeous centerpieces bursting with blooms!


Check out the full team below:

Photography: Abby Jui

Planning/Design: Cristina Calvert Signature

Videography: Monachetti Weddings

Gown: Matthew Bridal

Bridal Boutique: Love Couture Bridal

 Makeup: BTV Beauty

Catering: Gourmet by the Bay

Band: Washington Talent





May 19, 2016 0 Comments

Hello! Melissa here to fill you in on an upcoming event...
Being Inslee’d is a magical thing! In the blink of an eye, or 30 minutes in this case, your waist cinches, your hair gains volume and your skin is kissed by a bronzed beach glow.
Don't believe me? See for yourself! To kick off the start of June, Inslee will be headed to New Orleans to set up shop at Brandshop, a popup shopping experience, designed to empower female entrepreneurs and introduce sophisticated shoppers to a curated collection of emerging brands. This two-day event will include shops from over 20 fashion, art, and design brands, as well as a day-long speaker series featuring experts in everything from art to business.
On June 3rd & 4th, Inslee will be offering her live illustration services in 30 minute slots! During live illustration events, Inslee typically illustrates individual fashion portraits, however, for this special event, Inslee would be happy to illustrate  to your heart's desire... wedding photos, pet portraits, a sketch of you in your favorite outfit, you name it! If you're interested in being Inslee'd, sign up here to secure your slot! 
*disclaimer: the above pictures are from another event that Inslee just partnered with kate spade on! This is just to give you an idea of how fun the "being inslee'd" experience is!
In addition to her live illustration services, Inslee has also partnered with Simply Framed for the Brandshop popup! During the event, Simply Framed is offering free framing on Inslee's custom portraits! Simply Framed will also be selling a variety of ready-framed Inslee figure and animal studies. 
And if you're not able to attend, be sure to follow along with the fun on Instagram -  #brandshopnola
See you there! 



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