The art studio is a “sacred space where transformation happens” for David Reid-Marr, chair of Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Visual Arts Department.

The commitment to spiritual growth that affects the academy’s students so deeply will be shared with the wider community in Ataloa Studio on campus Saturday, Dec. 8, when Reid-Marr leads a workshop called “Full Circle: A Day of Art for the Community.”

In addition to his academy duties, Reid-Marr teaches adult artists for the Idyllwild Arts Summer Programs and throughout the year in Idyllwild Arts auxiliary workshops. “Full Circle” is part of his heavy, but invigorating, load.

The 20-year veteran of Idyllwild Arts and native of Kent, England, studied in England with David Hockney and Francis Bacon, earning his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Royal College of Art in London. But Reid-Marr’s approach to art-making has been shaped just as powerfully by his studies of Zen Buddhism in the U.S., with the late Zen Master Hakuy  Taizan Maezumi.

“Appreciate your life” because “there is nothing extra,” Maezumi taught. Reid-Marr’s Zen focus on giving everything to the present moment expresses itself in teaching that art is process rather than product.

Reid-Marr’s students are “allowed to make mistakes, as am I,” he says, echoing Maezumi’s humility about his own imperfections.

Admitting fault is necessary for growth. Reid-Marr’s insistence on reminding his students that he remains a student himself earns their devotion, and earlier this month attracted large crowds to five workshops he led in East Asia.

He’d never been before, and he recalls not only the passion for art, but “a lot of good food.”

Participants in Reid-Marr’s “Full Circle” workshop will be well fed spiritually.

The workshop is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Tuition and lab fees are $100 at idyllwildarts.org/aux-painting/. Space is limited.

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