Explore Charleston Highlights Mrs. Whaley's Garden

About Marty

Marty Whaley Adams, a native of Charleston, draws on inspiration from the colors, textures and rich nuances of her native city. Nationally recognized as an artist, she paints in oil and watercolor. Formerly Artist in Residence for Victoria magazine and daughter of the late noted Charleston gardener and author, Emily Whaley, Marty’s superb talent adds more to the wonderful legacy of creativity from the Whaley family. Her pet portraits always create a painting in which the animal has a very powerful presence.
— Dog and Horse Fine Art and Portraiture

Marty's journey as an artist:

Marty Whaley Adams draws inspiration from the colors, textures, and rich nuances of her native city.  Nationally recognized as an artist, garden lecturer, and writer, she paints in oil, watercolor and monotype.  Her style of free gestures and bold use of color evoke reflections of the French Impressionists. Her works include familiar scenes of Charleston gardens and parlors, still life and landscapes of the South Carolina low country, as well as custom pet portraits.  

Victoria magazine featured Marty as their "1997 Artist-in-Residence". This display of her life and art introduced many readers to her unique style and cultural flair. Daughter of the late noted Charleston gardener and author Emily Whaley, Marty’s expertise in the world of gardening emerges in her paintings. Her paintings reflect collected memories from her childhood in a historic city, the surrounding sea islands, pineland villages and up-country mountain retreats.  Marty’s former garden in Columbia, South Carolina, was among 30 featured in The American Woman’s Garden by Rosemary Verey and Ellen Samuels.  Marty states that, “Many of the subjects of my paintings are family heirlooms, gardens of the past and present, and vignettes of special moments”.

Marty returned to Charleston in 1989 and spent time collaborating on several projects of distinction. Her most notable includes a project with Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark and home to America's oldest landscaped gardens. She produced a series of landscape paintings and still life's, which highlighted the plantation's historic furniture and silver.  Another collaboration included the Historic Charleston Foundation and Baker Furniture in 1996.  At the time, Marty was living above her studio and Baker used her atelier as an inspiration for its High Point showroom.  That year Baker added thirty new pieces to its Historic Charleston Collection and augmented their showroom with several dozen of Marty’s paintings, artwork and family photographs. This display emphasized modern living in conjunction with antiques and historical effects.  

Continually creating and finding innovative outlets, Marty has lectured in the past on the topic of Finding and Balancing Your Creative Center.  “It is important to know that being creative can extend to many activities; paint, brushes and canvas are just small aspects of creativity.  Doing things creatively means giving each one of them your signature.  Doing that requires risk, practice and perseverance as much as talent.”  

Marty currently resides in Charleston with her husband, Charles Cornwell.


Marty lives an active life -- take a look at what she's been up to!