Online program.


2024/25 Full: $9,950

Program Content & Objectives

The Modern Color Atelier is a multi-year, online program with a focus on the method of color-blocking, wherein color is the primary building block for constructing images. It is a community of students that research and develop visual concepts, engage with art history, and contribute their individual approaches to painting.

Under the guidance of Director Kimberly Trowbridge, students learn to analyze color relationships based on value, temperature, and intensity. With this language, students construct and explore meaningful images that narrate their experience.

2024/25 Instructors:
Ashley Johnson: Lead Mentor, Teaching Artist
Amy Erickson: Teaching Artist

Time Commitment

Students meet twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays with trained instructors who will guide you through the formal concepts of color. Sessions include the introduction of visual concepts, demonstrations of studio exercises, and lectures on historical and contemporary paintings. Students work from observed still-life objects, master-work compositions, and the figure model using drawing, collage, gouache, and oil painting techniques. Sessions are interspersed with individual consultations and group critiques. 

Students are required to dedicate an additional, independent studio day per week for working on the class exercises.

The Atelier begins in mid-September and ends in mid-June.

Modern Color Atelier Curriculum Outline

About the Director

I am a teacher, a mentor, an advocate, and a witness for my students.

"Expanding on the Modernist tradition, I teach the formal language of color as the primary means for building images. My teaching method engages students in the process of identifying color relationships with a vocabulary that empowers them to make meaningful, articulate decisions on the palette. Teaching, for me, is a dialogue and collaboration with my students." -- Kimberly Trowbridge

Kimberly Trowbridge has taught painting and drawing at the University of Washington, Seattle, Western Washington University, Bellingham, and the Mount Gretna School of Art in Pennsylvania.  She began teaching at Gage Academy in 2006 and launched the Trowbridge Atelier in 2014, offering a rigorous program for devoted students to learn a practical, hands-on understanding of color concepts. Starting in 2022, the newly imagined Modern Color Atelier features a new team of teaching artists to implement and coach students under the guidance of Trowbridge's methods.

Meet the Instructors

Ashley Johnson, Lead Mentor, Teaching Artist

Ashley is a painter, writer, nurse, and teacher based in Bremerton, Washington. She recently graduated with her MFA at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (2022) and is an alumnus of the Trowbridge Atelier (2020). She is a Fred and Naomi Hazell Art Scholarship recipient through PAFA (2021), a two-time Dennis Evans and Nancy Mee scholarship recipient through Gage Academy of Art (2018, 2019), she has recently shown her work at the Fountainhead Gallery in Seattle and has been published in New American Paintings' MFA issue (2023). 

I make paintings, drawings, and collages as reenactments of bodily experiences within the forest, often depicting figures immersed and dissolving into and out of a plant, mushroom, or tree. My work grapples with the slow collective loss of our forests and animals. I explore these themes with color relationships which capture the connection between the painful and joyous moments of living. I began my long wilderness wanderings in 2016 on the Pacific Crest Trail, walking the length of the country from the Canadian border to the Mexican border over the course of four months, an experience that remains deeply meaningful to my painting practice today. 


Amy Erickson, Teaching Artist

Amy Erickson is a figurative painter who lives and works in Seattle, WA. She works from the live model and still life in oil, acrylic, collage, and drawing media. She sees her process as a feedback loop between research and invention. Research involves making smaller images directly from life, her in-progress painting, or of some artifact in her imagination - "primary documents" that record information about color, form, and perception. She uses these smaller works to generate larger paintings in her studio that compress these perceptual "documents" together with additional layers of time, emotion, narrative, and sensation.

I draw inspiration for my compositions through a process of searching junk shops, the personal belongings of loved ones, and my own domestic surroundings. The sentimental or symbolic attachment I have toward these objects is merely a jumping-off point for deeper perceptual digestion. The interplay between looking, recording, and composing through mark and shape is the core of my process. The experience of making is both exploring and surrendering what is "precious" - a journey toward discovering something more sublime.


Kimberly Trowbridge

Teaching Artists

Ashley Johnson

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Amy Erickson

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“Kimberly Trowbridge engages her whole self in the creative process and carries a jangling set of keys to this universe with her at all times, unlocking door after door for her students...”

— Shannon Borg, Atelier Student

“Kimberly has the ability to transform what often feels mysterious and difficult into tools and practices that anyone can use. She does this while also communicating the magic of creating, and its role in our survival as humans. She is a gem in our midst.”

— Rhoda Donkin, student for a decade

“I am lucky beyond belief to have found Kimberly to guide my artistic journey. The impact she has made on me is genuinely life altering and I'm not sure I realized that could still happen in my 50's...the impact she's had on me is multiplied by every student she's ever had. We are all living richer, fuller lives due to her teaching...I wake up every day thankful for a world that has the magical, wise, gifted, passionate and hard-working Kimberly Trowbridge in it.”

— Margaret, Atelier Student

“Joining the Trowbridge Atelier has transformed my creative practice. After one year of Kimberly's virtual program, I am in radically different territory. I am deeply immersed in the intimate practice of making art in my own studio, connected to a rich community of fellow painters, and continually inspired to dig deeper through Kimberly's ongoing and personal mentorship. Next year, even though I live in Seattle, I'm electing to keep going virtually because I love benefiting from all the learning while investing in my own space. Being in the Trowbridge Atelier's online classroom has been - and continues to be - the most satisfying and enriching learning experience I've ever had!”

— Kristin Costello, Atelier Student

“My experience as a 2020-2021 Trowbridge Atelier has been incredibly influential on my growth as an artist. I was able to join the program while living full-time in NYC, but I always felt close by. Kimberly was so attentive to my needs as her student, it was as if we were always speaking in person.
The circumstances that pushed us into a virtual realm also required me to carve out a thoughtful home studio space, allowing me to fully integrate my artistic practice into my everyday life. I could not be happier with my experience, and I am thrilled to continue this program virtually again next year.”

— Sonja Haroldson, Atelier Student

“In 2020 when COVID prevented the atelier from meeting in person I had no idea what to expect from virtual learning. After a year and a half of the virtual Trowbridge Atelier, I love remote learning. Kimberly's multi-platform skills combined with her enthusiasm for sharing work and ideas create an exciting virtual classroom where instruction and interaction flow smoothly. Sessions include lectures, painting demonstrations (both live and recorded) and working from a live model in real time with Kimberly and fellow students. There are lots of opportunities for getting feedback by sharing work in class or in a private Facebook group, or one on one consultations with Kimberly. I love to have the opportunity to experiment and try new things in my own space at home yet still have instruction, feedback, mentoring, and community that I get from being in the atelier.”

— Sue Rose, Atelier Student

“"Kimberly Trowbridge is EVERYTHING." A friend said this when I was first considering whether to enroll in her painting atelier at Gage Academy of Art. My friend was correct. In the Modern Color Atelier Kimberly taught us with rigor, love, and joy. She teaches how to build with color, how to "plein air your life," and how to develop a deep relationship with your work. Thank you, Kimberly, for gifting others with your fierce love, creative vitality, and profound wisdom. I'm a better painter thanks to you.”

— Anne Livingston

Gage Academy of Art acknowledges the Coast Salish Peoples as the original inhabitants of this area and connecting waterways. We understand the land that Gage occupies is unceded territory and that today many Indigenous peoples live here and without their stewardship, we would not have access to this space. We honor the Coast Salish Peoples’ sovereignty, rights to self-determination, culture and ways of life. Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples have called this territory their sacred land. We commit to learning, educating others and repairing the legacy of historically harmful relationships between non-Native and Native peoples in King County. In doing so, we will be honest, and recognize the experiences of Native peoples to include genocide, forced relocation, forced assimilation, and land theft. We also acknowledge Native peoples are survivors, present in today’s world, thriving. We encourage everyone here today to ask themselves: what can I do to support Indigenous communities?

In an effort to be transparent, Gage is contemplating this call to action and re-working how to best support Indigenous communities.

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