Meeting The Neanderthals

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Meeting The Neanderthals is a series inspired by the forensic reconstruction of ancient skulls.

We all have some Neanderthal in our genes, we are now told. The only current humans without a trace of these interesting ancestors are people from Africa whose distant relatives have never left the continent of Africa or mixed with incomers. So that is nearly all of us.

Even more interesting, genetic testing has shown these fascinating people were red haired and pale skinned … sounding wonderfully Celtic to my unscientific brain. And that might have started it really. I saw the reconstructed models and was hooked. I want to find these people. Meet them face to face. The canvasses came out and I let my brushes fly back through the thousands of years.

I have been told these paintings are a bit scary, and I have to agree they are. Challenging might be a better word. But I never intended them to be pretty. They are not for the faint hearted. But I am enjoying the process of looking for our ancestors. I never believed the Neanderthals to be unintelligent. It was just a long time ago. I want to imagine them and their lives.

Hence a departure from my traditionally tranquil faces … thinly drawn smiles, glances, a search for beauty, my unpainted ladies of bare canvas on a painted ground … these Neanderthals are thickly applied, colourful, vibrant, staring us and each other in the face. I am rather enjoying myself. I am not expecting you to like them.