Jean Khanbegian studied at the School of Visual Arts and the Arts Students League in New York; she also worked on the editorial staff as a contributing author for the English magazine The Artist - American Edition in New York.
Jean's book Painting Sea and Sky, first published by Pitman and later by Grosset and Dunlap, has been widely distributed around the world. In her recent book, Sea, Sky and Coastal Moods, Jean illustrates with her masterful paintings, invaluable techniques and essential principles for artists who aspire to create meaningful works of art. Her book Hoofbeats in the Sea features Jean's original painting series of Sable Island horses, and other Sable wildlife, a subject which has captivated her from earliest years growing up in Nova Scotia.
Jean’s seascapes have won several awards in New York, and she’s had her own gallery in Bar Harbor, Maine, for twenty years. Her paintings have appeared on Reader’s Digest covers and are included in private collections across the United States, Canada and Europe. Jean is listed in Who’s Who in Artists International and Who’s Who in American Women.
Sable Island is a small, storm-whipped crescent of land, twenty-two miles long and approximately one mile wide, located in the North Atlantic, about two hundred miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. Known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, Sable Island currently hosts over three hundred wild horses, hundreds of grey seals, walrus, and a wide variety of birds, including the unique Ipswich Sparrow that breeds only on Sable.
With their stunted height, deep piled fur, long manes and tails, Sable Island horses reflect their harsh environment. Their origin also remains a mystery. Some accounts claim the horses are Spanish, survivors perhaps of Spanish shipwrecks. Other accounts record a Huguenot pastor from Massachusetts who, attempting to colonize Sable Island in the 1800's, brought horses that were a mixture of early Dutch Barbs and English Blood horse. The current colony of horses displays various physical differences, some with clear-cut Roman noses, and others with finely dished faces. Whatever its origin, the Sable Island horse is a distinct species forever wedded to the sea.
The title of Jean’s book, Hoofbeats in the Sea is not contradictory, as may first seem. Carefully chosen, this title suggests the mystery of the horses' unknown origins and a past that includes mine work fathoms deep under the sea. Today the mines are gone, and thanks to new environmental laws, the Canadian Government, since 2011, has established Sable Island as Canada's forty-third National Park.