About the Artist

Hello and welcome! I'm Rachel Roellke-Smith, artist and owner of Funnelcloud Studio, an online shop and art studio that creates bold, colorful, modern artwork with a focus on abstract painting and illustration. All pieces are created in my home studio in Falls Church, Virginia.

Like most creative types, my work space is always a mess - it usually looks like it's been hit by a tornado, and that is how Funnelcloud Studio got its name. I'm constantly experimenting with new media, techniques, and subject matter. The results are sometimes successes and sometimes disasters. (I sell the successes and burn the disasters!) 

When I'm not making messes in the studio, I enjoy traveling and biking with my husband and hiking with our two rescue dogs. You can read more about my personal adventures on my blog and get sneak peeks of my daily life and artistic process by following @funnelcloudrach on Instagram. 



Funnelcloud Studio opened in 2010 when I decided to pursue a dream and escape working in a cube farm. I was educated as an architect and spent 14 years working for architectural firms before I decided to quit the rat race and focus on creating art. Design and creativity were the very things that lead me to study architecture in the first place, but I wasn't using these skills in the corporate world. I needed more than a creative outlet, I needed my own creative business.

I began by creating block prints and illustrations and selling them through an online Etsy shop and at local art markets in the DC area. I also worked as a freelance greeting card designer, and created a lot of text-based art during this time, including Embrace Messy Hair (discontinued in 2011) and Things That Are Awesome (still one of my best-selling prints).

In 2014, a new direction for Funnelcloud Studio began to take shape in my head. I realized I needed to be bolder and edgier, to experiment and take risks and loosen up, but also to exploit the artistic strengths I already had. These revelations became the two-part focus for the new shop: abstract paintings and illustrations

I started experimenting with acrylic, gouache, wax pastels, and mixed media. I tried different surfaces and brushes, I painted with my non-dominant hand, I made messes, I celebrated the surprises and unexpected results. After months of painting almost every day, I discovered the media, surfaces, supplies, and techniques that worked for me, and most importantly, I found my confidence and my style.

The new shop opened in June 2015 with the release of two series of original abstract paintings for sale: Dive In and The Water's Fine. Prints, illustrations, and paintings on wood will be released later in the summer.

My work is inspired by nature, water, reflections, modern architecture, and geometry, and often features bold graphics, repeating patterns, bright colors, geometric shapes, and gestural brushstrokes.