A century of creativity: Greenville artist Jeanet Dreskin nears 100th birthday

July 2, 2021

Jeanet Dreskin artist
Jeanet S. Dreskin working on painting. Photos provided
When Greenville artist Jeanet Dreskin was born in New Orleans on September 29, 1921, Warren Harding was president, women’s suffrage was little more than a year old and aviation was a cutting-edge novelty.The world has changed dramatically in the century since, but the one constant in her life has been a soul-deep need to create art.

Jeanet Dreskin art

“I came into this world loving to draw and paint,” Dreskin says. “I’ve never had a time when I wasn’t involved in my art.”

Speaking from the mid-century modern home she and her late husband, Dr. Art Dreskin, built in 1960 in the Stone Lake community off Chick Springs Road, she says she was encouraged from childhood to pursue her artistic passion by her grandparents who raised her from infancy.

In particular, her grandmother, Rena — who was one of the rare women who drove a car in 1921 New Orleans — enrolled Jeanet in art classes in the French Quarter and did everything she could over the years to ensure Dreskin had the skills and opportunity to make art.

“This is part of my soul,” Dreskin says. “This is something I’ve done all my life.”

She says anyone with a passion for creating should keep working at their craft and never give up.

“Keep working,” Dreskin says. “Keep working and do as much as you can.”

Fascinated with science and the natural world, she would eventually train to become a medical illustrator. She illustrated several medical textbooks and children’s books while living in Chicago as her husband completed his medical residency.

Jeanet Dreskin artist

Sandy Russ, owner of Hampton III Gallery in Taylors where Dreskin’s work will be on exhibit from July 8-August 21, says Dreskin’s scientific training is evident in her art.

She adds that Dreskin’s eye for detail and fascination with the natural world come through in her paintings and offer a glimpse of  her character.

“She’s not painting for the market,” Russ says. “She’s not painting art to sell … she just kind of forged a path. Her influence is just huge in this area.”

That influence began when Dreskin moved to Greenville in 1950. With a growing family, Dreskin pursued her art during the day while her husband worked and her children were at school.

She became involved in the founding days of the Greenville County Art Museum and started an art school when the museum was located in the historic Gassaway Mansion.

Dreskin says her priorities were first to her husband and children and then to her art and is grateful her husband always supported her artistic pursuits.

Jeanet Dreskin art

Jan Dreskin-Haig, one of Dreskin’s four children and herself an artist in Dallas, says her mother’s art and positive attitude are likely reasons she’s had such a long life and made her and her siblings’ upbringing so nurturing.

Dreskin herself is amazed she’ll turn 100 this year.

“I’m still enjoying life,” she says. “I’m still making art. If I’m still breathing, I’m still working.”

For details about Dreskin’s exhibition and to see some of her art, visit