In The Style Of

Jean Ward-Jordan

Meet Jean Ward-Jordan, painter, world-traveler, and grandmother of Frances Valentine Art Director, Adam Ward

What does style mean to you?

Looking the best that you can when you can!

Favorite fashion memory? 

When I would go home from Winthrop College to Greenville, SC, I would ride the bus. I would sit with different people, always very friendly. I once met a shoe salesman and he asked my shoe size, and he sent a pair of beautiful red high heels to me. My school had a very strict navy and white dress code. The next Sunday morning I went into the dining hall at lunch, wearing the red heels! Everyone was ooo-ing and ah-ing. However the dean was not happy took my hand and escorted me out of the dining hall. Oh my parents were upset!!

What’s on your coffee table?

A collection of mid-century crystal globes, hand-blown glass ornaments, collected from across the world. I've been lucky enough to travel to all 50 states and over 40 countries!

What’s hanging on your wall?

Plenty of landscapes and abstract art, most of which I painted 40-50 years ago. We moved a lot over the years, and every time I had an empty wall I would paint a work of art specifically for the space.

How did you get into painting? 

I started drawing very young. My father’s mother told my family “That young child is talented, you should encourage her!” In school we had art classes but my mother and father didn’t encourage me to go into art because of the lack of job opportunities. My parents wouldn’t buy me art supplies, but I was able to carve paintbrushes out of the ends of matchsticks and began painting watercolors. When I got to Furman College, I was finally able to study art instead of studying to be a teacher, which was against my mother's wishes. It was there I got into oil painting, then later on I took up acrylic so that’s what I do now. While at Furman, I worked for the ROTC taking apart firearms and illustrating each of the individual parts. I also got to drive a tank! The JC Penney company got in touch with the art department at Furman looking for artists and my art professor recommended me. I went on to work for Penneys for years and years doing drawings for newspaper ads and later decorating store windows, dressing mannequins, and painting scenes. I even did some modeling as well!

What can’t you live without?

My family, family comes first! I have the pleasure of having two families, who always look out for eachother. Sometimes they call me the matriarch of the family! 

What could you live without?

Cold weather!

What’s the last song you listened to?

I keep the radio on all day, love Tony Bennett! Once my husband and I had the pleasure of shaking his hand during a concert. A man came up to my husband in the restroom after the show and says “I wouldn’t usually shake hands in the restroom, but I need to shake the hand of a man who just shook Tony Bennett's hand!” 

Favorite color?

Turquoise, my favorite Frances Valentine dress is this color!

Favorite pastime?

Painting while looking at the nature outside my back porch. So much inspiration!

Favorite piece in your wardrobe?

My Frances Valentine caftans! 

Do you and your children share any personal style traits? 

They would always watch me paint growing up which peaked their interest in art. I also would sew and upholster furniture. My son Greg is very creative and my daughter Gena is very crafty. My son Mike loves to read just like his father!  

What's your favorite thing about being a mom? 

Enjoyed all three of my children and two wonderful step children. Love making everyone happy! 

What brings you joy?

Painting and listening to music, sitting by the window watching the birds and the water change color with the tides. 

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