The Trowbridge Atelier is a multi-year, part-time program, that focuses on developing an understanding of color and the method of color-blocking, wherein color is the primary building block for constructing images.

This method originates from Modernist Theory — Color Theory from the Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists and Form and Design from Cezanne and Cubism.

Students learn to analyze color relationships from observation based on value, temperature, hue, and intensity, both from the still-life and from the life-model.

Students meet three days per week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 9:30am – 4:30pm. Participation in the Atelier is a strict commitment to these 18-hours per week, and a willingness to spend additional, individual studio time outside of class for completing assignments.

Instructional Format

Your instructor is present in the studio on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays are Color Lab, consisting of lecture, palette-mixing demonstrations, color-chart building, and specific still-life exercises.  Thursdays are Life-Model days and consist of instructor demonstrations and the application of Tuesday’s palette to the figure. Individual as well as group critiques compliment these sessions. Fridays are required independent study time: morning sessions are with the life model; afternoons are spent in individual studios.

Topics of Inquiry

Color Charts

Students will build a personal dictionary of color samples in order to learn and document the variations of color mixing. This investigation includes multiple dyads, triads, and expanded color wheels.


The Master-Studies engage students with formal design concepts that are the underpinnings of creating a successful composition. In painted studies, students will analyze the complex, multi-figure compositions of historical paintings based on shapes of value and temperature.


Beginning with folded-paper constructions and simple geometric solids, students use their individual still-life laboratories to analyze color relationships in a series of guided exercises.

Life Model

Working from the life model is an incredible and unique privilege. Under the instructor’s guidance, students will learn to translate the human form into the language of color. Geometry and structure are emphasized in order to build a clear understanding of form as well as to create the illusion of light and layers of space within and around the figure. Final, in-class paintings will include the development of multiple figures within a dynamic interior setting.

Independent Narratives

Individual student projects will use the lessons of color and design to compose unique and expressive compositions both from observation (still-life), and invention (using in-class figure studies for reference). These complex narrative explorations will be emphasized in the student’s second year of study.

Plein-Air Landscapes

During spring term, students will experience oil painting directly from nature.

Student Expectations

The Trowbridge Atelier accepts up to twelve students each year. Students must register for a minimum of one year of study. At the end of the first year, the instructor meets with you to assess the efficacy of your continuing in the Atelier for an additional year. Most students are encouraged to continue for a second or third year of study.

Students of all levels are welcome, although some experience in life-drawing and/or painting is encouraged.  Students are expected to be responsible, self-motivated, collaborative learners.

As the academic year comes to an end, all Atelier students will have an opportunity to exhibit their work at Gage Capitol Hill. The first exhibit will feature work from the Magrath, Trowbridge, and Sims ateliers, as well as Studio Arts Intensive student-artists. The second exhibition, Best of Gage, marks the end of the academic year and graduation for those who have completed their atelier studies. All Trowbridge Atelier students are expected to participate in Best of Gage.

Submit Your Application

Pay the $50 Registration Fee 

Trowbridge Atelier Student Gallery