Online program.


2022/23 Full: $9,190

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.

2022/23 Instructors:
Ashley Johnson, Design Concepts and Collage
Amy Erickson, Perceptual Still Life Painting
Sarah Bixler, Mixed Media Figure Drawing

Time Commitment

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

An additional session per week is dedicated to individual studio time. Sessions are interspersed with individual consultations and group critiques.

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

Modern Color Atelier Curriculum Outline


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.


Ashley Johnson, Design Concepts and Collage

Ashley is a painter, writer, nurse, and teacher based in Bremerton, Washington. She is currently an MFA candidate 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), and has recently shown her work at the Fountainhead Gallery in Seattle. 

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, Perceptual Still Life Painting

Amy Erickson is an observational painter who lives and works in Seattle, WA. She earned a BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute and has pursued further training in painting and figure drawing at Gage Academy of Art (Trowbridge Atelier, 2020; Flack Atelier, 2019). Amy has exhibited in many cities in the US, including Seattle and New York.  Amy has taught workshops for Warrior Art Camp, Gage Academy of Art, and the Seattle Artist League.

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.


Sarah Bixler, Mixed Media Figure Drawing

Sarah Bixler is a painter and educator in Seattle Washington.  She began her artistic studies at Gage Academy of Art where she deepened her understanding of the human body through long-form sculpture, anatomy and drawing from direct observation.  In 2011, Sarah received a BFA from the University of Washington where she studied contemporary drawing and painting. She has taught observational drawing and painting since 2011 and has offered classes at Winslow Art Center, Seattle Artist League and Gage Academy of Art.   

I am interested in the tension between representation and abstraction. I primarily work from observation and am interested in how painting and drawing transcribe the elements of observed space into marks of color and value. I love that working observationally changes the way we see the world and empowers us to notice the quiet moments of beauty that permeate our daily lives. As an instructor I focus on helping students see big areas of color and value, while developing a logical framework for understanding the relativity of color and color relationships. My teaching builds on the legacy of Charles Hawthorne and Edwin Dickinson, using observed areas of color and value to describe the form as it presents itself in its current moment, regardless of prior knowledge or assumptions of what a form should be. 


Kimberly Trowbridge

Teaching Artists

Sarah Bixler

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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

In recognition of the national examination of systemic racism and injustices, Gage Academy of Art is committed to continued analysis and expansion of our own institutional practices.

Land Acknowledgment: Gage Academy of Art would like to acknowledge that we stand on the traditional ancestral lands of the Coast Salish peoples—specifically the Duwamish People, past and present—and honor, with gratitude, the land itself, the Duwamish Tribe, and their ancient heritage. Without them, we would not have access to this gathering, dialogue and learning space. We ask that we take this opportunity to thank the original caretakers of this land, who are still here.

Non-Discrimination Policy: Gage Academy of Art does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, age, religion, or ethnic origin in administration of its educational and admission policies, scholarships, and any school administered programs

Gage Academy of Art is committed to social justice in a diverse democracy

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