Color For Painters

Kimberly Trowbridge is a two-time Neddy Award Finalist (2014, 2016), and an Artist Trust GAP Grant recipient (2014). She received an MFA from University of Washington, 2006. She is a plein-air painter, figure painter, installation artist, and performer. She leads plein-air painting tours in Portugal, and Twisp, WA. Trowbridge is passionate about perceiving color relationships in nature and approaches the painting process as a means for self-discovery.
9:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M.
All Levels Welcome
Gage Capitol Hill
Please come prepared with all of the following materials for the first day of class:

Oil Paint Colors:

  • Mars Black
  • Titanium White– large tube
  • Cadmium red (medium)
  • Cadmium orange
  • Cadmium yellow light (Gamblin)
  • Phthalo green (Winsor Green, blue shade)
  • Phthalo blue
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Quinacridone Magenta
  • Dioxazine purple

Buy the above oil paints in Utrecht, Gamblin, Winsor & Newton (NOT Winton), Williamsburg, or Old Holland brands (Daniel Smith no longer makes cadmiums, do not purchase equivalents). Avoid pigments with the word “hue” following the name—they are cheaper because they do not contain the actual pigment you want. You may need to buy additional tubes of the above paint as we go through the course.

Tools and Accessories:

  • Medium-size palette knife (curved/spade/bent handle, not straight—2″ – 3″)
  • Oil brushes—get an assortment, medium/small, rounds/filberts, smooth and bristle: (get at least one smooth round), 1/4″ – 1/2″ – make sure they are oil brushes
  • Palette—(glass is best, and the larger the better for mixing, around 16″ x 18″ recommended; place a sheet of white paper underneath it and cardboard for backing, attached with tape around the edges (Perkins glass on Broadway is good for glass, ¼ inch, sanded edges)
  • Razor blade scraper (window scraper)—to clean palette
  • Gamsol, Odorless Mineral Spirits (small bottle)
  • Linseed oil (small bottle)
  • Plastic squeeze bottle with pointed tip, and small funnel for filling (This is very important—fill this with half Gamsol, and half Linseed oil. This will be your painting medium. I do not allow open jars/containers of medium or turps in my classes)
  • Paper towels (I recommend “Viva” brand, “like cloth”)

Optional, but very nice to have:

  • Disposable gloves (I prefer the Kirkland brand, nitrile gloves)
  • Plastic palette box, or tuperware, with lid, for preservation of paint (doesn’t need to be large –this can just be used to store extra, unused paint for the next class)


  • 2 pieces of foam-core or cardboard (at least ¼” thick), cut to equal size, around 12″ or 14″ square (the exact size is not crucial, we tape these together on the first day to create the walls of your still-life “box,” so please have them pre-cut)
  • Packet of assorted colored artists paper/construction paper
  • Masking tape or artist’s tape
  • Scissors


  • Arches Oil Paper Pad (12 x 16″ ) or Canvas Paper (if using canvas paper, I like to add additional layers of gesso for a nicer surface)
  • Acrylic Gesso (Small jug, White)
  • Cheap Hardware store chip brush, for applying gesso
  • 1 Stretched Canvas, around 18 x 24,” **You will not need this until class #8. Add at least 2 additional layers of gesso
    This is a hands-on color theory course for oil painters. Students will learn rigorous color mixing and palette organization strategies, and how to apply that knowledge to observational studies. Students will greatly improve their ability to perceive color relationships and to create equivalent analogies with oil paint. Working from still-life constructions made from colored paper, students will build a strong working relationship with color in terms of value, temperature, and intensity. A final study will consider the role of color contrast in composition and the development of space. Homework includes developing an individual color wheel and extended color charts.