Coastal Georgia Originals 2022
July 2022 Issue
Photography by Kelly Hunter
Marden Edgerly Headley
Current Residence: Saint Simons Island
Career: Professional Artist, Instructor Artists’ Annex
Art: Fine Art Painter
Family: Married to William D. Headley with 6 children in our blended family
How did you discover your talent?
Mother and I were involved in fundraising in my early years in San Diego. She had us in an organization called M.A.D.C.A.P.S. It was instilled in me early on that giving to the world is the most perfect form of God’s love. When we leave this world, no one will remember us for our possessions, rather the moments of shared time and health in gifting to one another. Everyone is born with a purpose. Mine was to learn from my mother and father’s sacrifices for me. They gave everything of themselves. Philanthropic work and the creative expressions of art and music are the greatest accomplishments closest to the Spiritual calling. That’s why I was so honored to be asked by the Doves of Hospice of the Golden Isles to donate a large painting to be featured in a silent auction at Musgrove Plantation. The sale of that painting for $5000, combined with the honor of being asked to donate, gave me a foothold and the confidence to pursue painting again in a new community.
Do you come from an artistic family?
My great-grandmother was Nancy Wedgwood of Wedgwood China. My mother, Judith Emery Smith, was a Fine Art oil painter and classically trained pianist. I have her eyes and love for nature. My father, David P. Hermanson, was a writer, actor at the Old Globe Theatre and founder of the G.I.F.T.E.D. program.
What’s the best encouragement you’ve ever received in pursuing your artistic talents?
I have benefitted from the influence of strong, accomplished Southern women. Margie Stockton is a St. Simons Island artist, collector and student. She is a dear friend and adopted mother. A proper Southern woman with a successful career, Margie introduced me to Mary Anderson. Mary is also a St. Simons Island artist and collector and has owned Anderson Fine Art Gallery for more than 30 years. She is a dear friend, mentor and mom to me. Her support and iron expectations for me have cemented my career on this island. She’s allowed me the privilege to attend monthly workshops with some of the best artists in the country. This has added great dimension and growth to my artistic style, which I share with my students in private instruction. The Artists’ Annex is the destination for workshops for people around the country.
I have also been privileged to be influenced by two other strong and successful women. Millie Wilcox is a St. Simons Island artist, mentor, model and dear friend. Jackie Rabinowitz is a Savannah art collector and philanthropist who is a part of my family.
In your artistic pursuits, what is your proudest moment so far?
The wonderful outcome of that silent auction to benefit Hospice of the Golden Isles. It was my first artistic pursuit on St. Simons Island.
Describe what ultimate success looks like for you.
I am living it right now! Firstly, by seeing all three of my daughters happy and healthy. Caitlin is a Senior Social Strategist in New York City who does all my marketing and technology support for me. Natalie is a musician in Nashville. She has released several albums that feature her inspiring voice. Tara is a talent agent in Hollywood who travels the world. Secondly, my own success in working and growing as an artist under the mentorship and love of Mary Anderson. Being able to make a living as an artist while still giving to philanthropic causes is the ultimate success.
In addition to your art, what’s your next best talent?
Teaching art. I speak to composition and building strength in painting. No one escapes a private lesson without a full understanding of what makes a strong composition! Most of my students are Plein-Aire oil painters. They come to me for multiple reasons. Some wish to learn impressionism or abstract art. Others wish to gain greater skills and freedom in their art. Ultimately everything comes down to composition for a successful rendering.
What’s something unique in your studio that more than likely no one else has?
I am currently producing a series of oils and cold wax that renders “Sightlines.” Catering to golfers and pilots, these color and line studies of abstracts are appreciated most fully by trained golfers and pilots. The works are clear to mathematical minds.
What makes you a Coastal Georgia Original?
Saint Simons Island, Georgia and San Diego, California are on the very same latitude, so I’m home to stay now. The colors of yellows and greens and golden browns are exactly the same here. I’m passionate about the colors in our coastal low country.